Professor Helena Tolstoy devoted her lecture to (her namesake) Leo Tolstoy’s “War and Peace”. It is a chapter of her large study of Tolstoy’s poetics that appeared in her recent book “Igra v klassiki” (that can be translated both as ‘Games with the classics’, and ‘Hopscotch’). The book was published in Moscow by Novoe Literaturnoe Obozrenie (The New Literary Review Publishing House). The book is mainly centered upon major Russian prose writers of the 19-20 th centuries. Besides the study of Tolstoy it includes chapters on Ivan Turgenev, Anton Chekhov , Michail Bulgakov, and other writers. The scholar starts with the premise that “War and Peace”that was written at the most prosaic of times, the utilitarian 1860s, nevertheless uses devices appropriate in poetry rather than prose – but does it so that the reader remains unaware of them. She defines and describes some of these devices and demonstrates surprising effects the writer achieves with them.
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