The War-and-Peace-O-Meter: Week Fourteen

Previous weeks: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13

As one nears the end of an epic piece of literature, I think there’s often a small sadness, that your time in another world, with its cast of wonderful characters, is coming to an end. Certainly, a book can be re-read, but with so many books in the world, it’s hard to justify reading War and Peace many times over; and while there is a different sort of pleasure to be had in becoming very familiar with a text, it’s not the same experience.

This sort of feeling is not confined to books, of course; I think The Wire, and perhaps The West Wing, have the necessary ambition, grandeur and epicality* to prompt mildly melancholic thoughts at their completion. And epics do tend to make one feel like rather a small cog in humanity’s colossal machine; but as Tolstoy highlights when recognising the crucial contributions of overlooked generals, it’s the small cogs that keep the world turning…

*Epicality is clearly a more epic adjectival form than epicness.

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