Just as all novelists blend fact into the fiction mix, Tolstoy has peppered War and Peace with some real historical figures – Mikhail Speransky being just one of them. Speransky, Prince Andrei’s one-time mentor, really did exist and was considered quite the liberal reformer. For your enrichment, I’ve attached an article about him from Europe 1789-1914: Encyclopedia of the Age of Industry and Empire.
Category Archives: Supplemental Resources
It seems that our January assignment contains a lot of references to Freemasonry. As someone who doesn’t know a whole lot about the Freemasons, I searched for some additional resources. First, with all the Dan Brown fictionalizations swirling around out there, you might look at National Geographic’s article “The Lost Symbol” and the Freemasons: 8 Myths Decoded.” For a more thorough look at the Freemasons, I’ve attached an article about them from Europe 1789-1914: Encyclopedia of the Age of Industry and Empire. I retrieved it from our online reference book database, Info in a Box, accessible from home for EPL cardholders via our Research page.
Understandably, the battles depicted in our November reading assignment might be a source of confusion for some of us. To aid our attempts to understand the bigger picture of what’s happening in the novel on the military side of things, I’ve found a couple of quick and dirty resources. First, take a look at PBS’s Napoleon at War webpage. The link will take you to the section on the Ulm-Austerlitz Campaign, which is the portion most relevant to us so far. The History Channel has a great video zeroing on the Battle of Austerliz.
I realize these portions of the novel can be intimidating because it’s difficult at times to know what’s happening. However, unless you’re particularly interested in doing a lot supplementary study of the military portions, I think it’s fine to have a general grasp of these battles. Focus most on the characters, how they’re developing, and how they’re responding to events generally beyond their control.