Saturday, March 20, 2010

Volume I, Book III, Chapter VIII

This should be title "The Ecstasy of the Soldier".

The Austrian and Russian troops, all 80,000 of them, gather together to be reviewed by the two Emperors, of Russia and Austria. So there's wonderful description of the uniforms, the sounds, the extra-careful attention being given to every detail by the soldiers.

The Emperor comes, and we see it through Nikolai's eyes. It's that giant crowd ecstasy - that morale will be built just by seeing the Emperor. Alexander rides through, and Nikolai is beside himself. He is so overjoyed he wants to cry, and would die for this man. He thinks that, even wishing he was being asked. The whole crowd is overjoyed, loud, proud. Nikolai sees Andrei in the Emperor's retinue, and even forgives him, as he loves everyone at that moment. He gets a special moment, bringing up the rear on his horse Bedouin that Denisov sold him. He is proud beyond measure. They are all ready for battle, and primed for it.

T is great at communicating this communal battle fervor - the uniforms, the theatricality of it, for want of a better word. You see what the romance was. It's overwhelming.

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