Sofia Aleksandrovna will Certainly See: Images of the ‘Folk’ in War and Peace


Isabella Palange (University of Wisconsin, Madison)

In Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace , there are several instances of folk culture being performed by members of the upper classes. These emulations of the “folk” lend a sense of authenticity to performers and situate them within a historical, often idealized past. This paper will analyze a scene in the novel in which two young girls perform a traditional divination ritual. Although many scholars may read their vision-come-to-life as mere coincidence, by participating in the ritual, they integrate themselves into a traditional, folk story line that can be traced throughout the novel through the laws of proximity and replication.

Part of 09-06 Exploring Folklore and Literature, Saturday, October 15, 2:30 pm–4:30 pm