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David SloaneClay approaches Tolstoy...as another writer.... This perspective makes possible a number of unique and very profound insights into Tolstoy's artistry.
— Tolstoy Studies Journal
By examining Tolstoy's techniques and analyzing the structure of War and Peace, Clay leads us, subtly, to its meaning, convincingly deriving the what from the how. How does Tolstoy universalize the particular without losing particularity? How does he stimulate empathy; direct our curiosity; turn telling into showing; hold his novel together so that, despite its seemingly arbitrary spread, it neither flies apart nor loses direction? Beginning with Tolstoy's strategies, devices, and structural elements, Clay moves beyond previous approaches and reveals the novel's larger thematic concerns, showing how all the pieces fit into an overall-pattern which he calls the phoenix design.
A brilliant and original analysis of the meaning embedded in Tolstoy's methods, this book will be enlightening as well as enjoyable both to the general reader and to Tolstoy specialists.