How Tolstoy Tells Story

Piazza Navona, Roma, Italia

How Tolstoy Tells Story

According to Count Tolstoy:

He [Borís] could not tell them simply that everyone went at a trot and that he fell off his horse and sprained his arm and then ran as hard as he could from a Frenchman into the wood. Besides, to tell everything as it really happened, it would have been necessary to make an effort of will to tell only what happened. It is very difficult to tell the truth, and young people are rarely capable of it. The hearers expected a story of how beside himself and all aflame with excitement, he had flown like a storm at the square, cut his way in, slashed right and left, how his saber had tasted flesh and he had fallen exhausted, and so on. And so he told them all that.

Война́ и миръ, Voyná i mir (War and Peace), trans. Louise and Aylmer Maude, revised by George Gibian, (New York, W. W. Norton, 1966; second edition 1996) III, vi, 210.

 


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