Fall 2016

War and Peace

Moodle site: Course


Boris Wolfson (Section 01)


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--including a recent BBC re-make and an “electropop opera” opening on Broadway this fall, which we will plan to visit as a class.  

Fall semester.  Professor Wolfson.

If Overenrolled: n/a


Attention to Issues of Gender and Sexuality, Attention to Research, Attention to Speaking, Attention to Writing, Transnational or World Cultures Taught in English


2019-20: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2016, Fall 2017