Contemplating Tolstoy’s vast novel, Virginia Woolf concluded that “it has the power to make you think of all sorts of things through its eyes—of religion, of love, of war, of peace, of family life, of balls in country towns, of sunsets, moonrises, the immortality of the soul. There is hardly any subject of human experience that is left out of War and Peace . . . .”
Terrence Doody, professor of English at Rice University, will examine the power of the epic War and Peace in a three-session seminar timed to complement the Museum of Fine Art’s showing of Sergei Bondarchuk’s 1960s film version of the novel to be held on January 11, 12, 13, and 14 (telephone 713-639-7515 for tickets and information). Roger Ebert wrote of the film that Bondarchuk “balances the spectacular, the human, and the intellectual. . . . And always he returns to Tolstoy’s theme of men in the grip of history. As spectacular as a movie can possibly be!”
Terrence Doody, the author of Confession and Community in the Novel and Among Other Things: A Description of the Novel, has received NEH and Mellon grants as well as several prestigious teaching awards at Rice. He teaches courses in the modernist period, the novel and narrative theory, and contemporary literature, and is working on a book on the literature of the city.
In this course, we will use the Norton Critical Edition (1996) of War and Peace, translated by George Gibian. Professor Doody will cover Books 1 through 5 in the first session; Books 6 through 10 in the second; and Books 11 through 15 plus the epilogues in the third.
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