Highlighted a few quotes from my copy to respond to this post in detail, then forgot to send it to myself. Would’ve been a lot easier if I was reading it on my phone!
Anyway, not sure how much of the problems you’re having are down to the specific translation as it’s hard to tell which parts are directly from the text and which are indirect clarifications. For example, it’s forever pointing out when someone is speaking in French or Russian and I assume in the original text that wouldn’t have needed saying because the dialogue would just have been in French.
Anna’s age. Ch1 p1: “a distinguished lady at court”. Ch1, p2: “forty years of age”
All that stuff about food. The same convoluted metaphor but the way it’s translated is radically different and substantially better.
gaining, resulting in, or relating to victory in a contest or competition. “a winning streak”
synonyms: victorious, successful, triumphant, vanquishing, conquering; More
attractive; endearing. “a winning smile”**
synonyms: engaging, charming, appealing, endearing, sweet, cute, winsome, attractive, pretty
Yeah, I also found this part hard to figure out. There’s a vague hint that he thinks his wife is a bit too close to your man Hippolit, but I suspect it is just that why can’t these damn women let men be men! I do think this scene is quite significant in developing the two characters and what I guess is one of the main tensions in the book. It’s the first time two characters have a completely unguarded conversation and it’s Andrei - the consummate gentlemen and perfect guest - complaining bitterly to Pierre - the ill-mannered lunk with no idea how to behave in polite company - about the strictures placed on him about how he can act and speak.
(Zoidberg gif) Why not both? As with a lot of the catty back and forth at the party, it’s meant to be funny but it’s also meant to show how civilsed chaps really want to behave when they get the chance. To be honest, the sort of behaviour depicted here is one thing that doesn’t seem remotely old-fashioned to me. Replace the off-duty army boys with any modern stereotype - uni rugby lads, professional footballers, City twats - and the only difference is knowing where to get a bear in the first place!
Guess I have the same edition as McGarnagle, as chapter 7 was the fallout from the lads big night out, as reported at another of these interminable parties. This one was a bit of surprise for me. Having established Pierre as the social conscience in the book we get the rug pulled as we find out really just wants to get ripped with the boys and talk shit. Not the two are ever mutually exclusive but I wasn’t expecting it.