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Showing posts from May, 2016

Gwyneth, Joanna, and Tolstoy: Pilgrimage to Magnolia and Goop

I often revisit the final scene of War and Peace. Tolstoy concludes his epic about the Napoleonic wars with a goofy scene about parenting.  The exquisite Natasha has put on a few pounds and is married to Pierre, literature's favorite bumbling dork with a huge inheritance (sorry Mr. Bingley, we love you too).  The novel's oscillation between the battlefield and the ballroom (war and peace - get it?) shows the similarities between the two worlds, especially the way glory and self-promotion are at the heart of each.  After the fighting concludes, Tolstoy seems to say that domestic happiness is the only happiness.  This point is made more concretely in (the less romantic but superior work of art) Anna Karenina. The novel begins, "All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."  No matter how glorious our worldly activities, it all comes down to the home and family.

Today I consider Tolstoy's idea in the context of two visits I recently m…