Tolstoy in Our Time March 25, 2022

from A Point of View· ·

Adam Gopnik seeks enlightenment for our time in Tolstoy's War and Peace, finding parallels in Tolstoy's thinking for today's war in Ukraine. Reflecting on how Russian characters in the book converse in fluent French, Adam considers how mixed identities should not undermine national integrity, writing that the composite nature of Ukrainian identity does not cast doubt on its integrity as a country. He also explores Tolstoy's debunking of the 'great man' theory of history, and a reminder that 'history lies outside the control of any one hero, or heroine' while conceding that heroism is in itself a plausible concept, and …



Adam Gopnik seeks enlightenment for our time in Tolstoy's War and Peace, finding parallels in Tolstoy's thinking for today's war in Ukraine. Reflecting on how Russian characters in the book converse in fluent French, Adam considers how mixed identities should not undermine national integrity, writing that the composite nature of Ukrainian identity does not cast doubt on its integrity as a country. He also explores Tolstoy's debunking of the 'great man' theory of history, and a reminder that 'history lies outside the control of any one hero, or heroine' while conceding that heroism is in itself a plausible concept, and 'if great men and women do not cause history, they surely make history. We seem to be seeing it made in action right now.' Producer: Sheila Cook Sound: Peter Bosher Production Coordinator: Gemma Ashman Editor: Richard Fenton-Smith