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War and Peace

War and Peace


by Leo Tolstoy

War and Peace Volume 4, Part 1, Chapter 1 Summary


  • OK, let’s back up a bit to just before the battle of Borodino. Zoom away from Moscow and refocus on Petersburg.
  • On the day of the battle of Borodino, Anna Pavlovna is having one of her famous salons – this time featuring some bland patriotic letter from the head of the Petersburg Orthodox Church. Prince Vassily gets the honor of reading it because he supposedly has such a super fantastic reading voice. Mostly this means that he sometimes reads the words quietly and sometimes loudly, mostly at random.
  • Anyway, this is a good time to gossip about Helene, who is apparently so sick that she can’t go out in public. Not only that, she’s being treated by a new doctor, not her normal guy.
  • Everyone feels like this illness is mostly because she’s trying to marry two men at once, and there’s some veiled mockery.
  • But of course, since Prince Vassily (her dad) is there, and since her friend Bilibin sticks up for her a bit by saying that the new doctor is some hotshot from Spain, they leave it alone.
  • After the letter reading, Anna Pavlovna predicts that they’ll get news the next day.

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