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War and Peace

War and Peace


by Leo Tolstoy

War and Peace Volume 3, Part 1, Chapter 19 Summary

  • Spoiler alert: Pierre’s totally in love with Natasha. Oh, wait, that wasn’t a spoiler – that was a newsflash from Captain Obvious.
  • He’s obsessing about her day and night, but since he can’t do too much about it, what with being married and all, he just lives like before: lots of partying, lots of booze.
  • Also, for some reason he has gotten really into numerology. 
  • There was a weird fad back in the day where you could give numerical values to letters and then try to calculate the numerical meaning of words. If you did this with the words “l’empereur Napoleon,” you’d end up with the number 666, a.k.a. the mark of the beast of the Apocalypse.  Ooh, spooky.
  • In a really funny section, Pierre tries to do the same thing with his name. It doesn’t make sense – why does he want to have the number of the beast of the Apocalypse? But also, it’s hard to do with his name, and he keeps trying different variations, different spellings, until finally, he makes up a version of his name that’s both grammatically and orthographically wrong, but hey, it adds up to 666. Clearly Tolstoy thinks this is idiotic to the highest degree, so the whole thing is hilarious.
  • Pierre sends the Rostovs the info that Nikolai is getting promoted.
  • He thinks about going into the military himself but can’t because Freemasons are pacifists, and also because he now apparently thinks he might have the number of the beast.

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