Volume I, Part Two: Dates, Times, Faces

First, the dates: Tolstoy gives dates in the Russian calendar, and not always consistently. (The staff hears of Mack’s surrender on October 11; the same day is October 8 with the hussars.) In the western calendar:

1. August 26, Napoleon leaves Boulogne.
2. September 11, Mack invades Bavaria.
3. October 20, Mack capitulates at Ulm.
4. November 14, the French take Vienna.
5. November 16, the battle at Schöngraben.

Second, much of the action also takes place in what is now the Czech Republic, so that the place names have changed: from Brünn to Brno, from Olmutz to Olomuc, from Znaim to Znojmo.

Tolstoy describes the faces of men facing enemy fire, or about to: at the Enns,

On each face, from Denisov’s down to the buglers, there appeared around the lips and mouth one common trait of a struggle between irritation and excitement.

At Schöngraben,

… and on all faces he recognized the feeling of animation that was in his heart. “It’s begun! Here it is! Fearful and merry!” spoke the face of every soldier and officer.

In his memoir of enlisted Navy service in WW II, Alvin Kernan writes of the sharpened features of men living with tightly controlled fear, though he says it shows most on noses.

 

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