Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
First-Year Seminar


FYS Section A25. War and Peace

As a child, Leo Tolstoy’s older brother Nikolai claimed to have discovered the secret to universal peace and happiness. He wrote this secret down on a green stick and hid the stick somewhere in the woods on the Tolstoy estate. Nikolai would later die of tuberculosis, and his secret went with him. Tolstoy would spend the rest of his life trying to find this lost secret. Tolstoy’s attempt to find the meaning of life produced one of the greatest novels ever written: War and Peace. Through a semester-long discussion of the novel and its historical context – and perhaps some film adaptations – we just may discover what was written on that stick.

Tom Dolack
Visiting Assistant Professor of Russian