Melissa Miller
Articles by Melissa Miller

Narratives of Childbirth in Tolstoy’s “War and Peace”

I started to wonder if the very fact that there is not much to Liza’s birth scene might precisely be the point. Because, while a birth scene can be understood as the consummate revelation, the introduction of new life into the world, there is an inherent paradox in Tolstoy’s telling of this event: for here the narration is marked by an extraordinary absence of information about the birthing mother herself. The story describes birth precisely by hiding that which it purports to reveal.

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