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