Leo Tolstoy insisted that War and Peace was not a novel, all appearances to the contrary. As we carefully read his subversive masterpiece, we will consider the ways in which the book attempts to revolutionize what literature can do, by posing radical questions about freedom, violence, the relationship between the life of the mind and everyday experience, the value of culture, the possibility of change, and the search for an authentic self. This course takes Tolstoy’s text as a departure point for exploring the possibilities of interpretation as an intellectual practice: the fictions of history and the truth of fiction; the challenges of writing about emotions, events, and texts; and the attempts to adapt something as complex and unorthodox as this book to stage and film.
Fall semester. Professor Wolfson.
If Overenrolled: n/a
Attention to Issues of Class, Attention to Issues of Gender and Sexuality, Attention to Research, Attention to Speaking, Attention to Writing, Transnational or World Cultures Taught in English
2022-23: Not offered Other years: Offered in Fall 2018