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How The Redoubt Was Taken 1896   By: (1803-1870)

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In Prosper Mérimée's historical novella, readers are transported to the fascinating world of 19th century Russia in How The Redoubt Was Taken 1896. Set during the Siege of Sevastopol, the author presents a gripping account of war, heroism, and sacrifice. Mérimée's meticulous attention to detail and vivid descriptions immerses the reader in the chaos, bloodshed, and ultimate triumph of this pivotal event in Russian history.

The narrative follows Ivan, a young and valiant soldier who finds himself trapped in the midst of the intense battle for the Redoubt, a key fortification in Sevastopol. Through Ivan's eyes, Mérimée masterfully captures the grim reality of war, offering a sobering reflection on the horrors and chaos experienced by those on the front lines. The author's own experiences as a government official in Russia allow for a nuanced and authentic portrayal of the military and political atmosphere of the time.

Mérimée's characters are well-developed and multi-dimensional, adding depth and emotional resonance to the story. Ivan, driven by a sense of duty and loyalty, evolves from a naive young soldier to a seasoned warrior. Mérimée skillfully explores the psychological impact of war, delving into themes of bravery, fear, and the inherent contradictions of human nature in times of conflict.

Moreover, it is the author's descriptive prowess that truly brings the story to life. From the smoke-filled battlefields to the cries of agony echoing throughout the siege, Mérimée paints a vivid and harrowing picture, leaving readers on edge throughout the entire narrative. The attention to historical accuracy is commendable, with the author faithfully recreating the scene of the time, allowing readers to fully immerse themselves in the events unfolding on the page.

One of the novel's strengths is the strategic balance Mérimée strikes between action-packed battle scenes and quiet, introspective moments. The fast-paced and thrilling sequences of combat are juxtaposed with contemplative moments that offer a glimpse into the deeper emotions and reflections of the characters. This creates a well-rounded narrative and adds a layer of complexity to the story.

Yet, despite its merits, How The Redoubt Was Taken 1896 is not without its flaws. At times, the narrative becomes overly detailed, resulting in a slow pace that may deter some readers seeking a more fast-paced adventure. Additionally, the translation of the novella can occasionally feel stiff and hinder the flow of the narrative.

Overall, How The Redoubt Was Taken 1896 is a compelling historical novella that delves into the violent reality of war, presenting a vivid portrayal of the Siege of Sevastopol. Prosper Mérimée's attention to detail, well-crafted characters, and evocative descriptions make for an immersive reading experience. Fans of historical fiction and military sagas will find themselves captivated by this riveting tale of heroism, sacrifice, and the indomitable human spirit.

First Page:


By Prosper Mérimée

Copyright, 1896, by The Current Literature Publishing Company

A friend of mine, a soldier, who died in Greece of fever some years since, described to me one day his first engagement. His story so impressed me that I wrote it down from memory. It was as follows:

I joined my regiment on September 4th. It was evening. I found the colonel in the camp. He received me rather bruskly, but having read the general's introductory letter he changed his manner and addressed me courteously.

By him I was presented to my captain, who had just come in from reconnoitring. This captain, whose acquaintance I had scarcely time to make, was a tall, dark man, of harsh, repelling aspect. He had been a private soldier, and had won his cross and epaulettes upon the field of battle. His voice, which was hoarse and feeble, contrasted strangely with his gigantic stature. This voice of his he owed, as I was told, to a bullet which had passed completely through his body at the battle of Jena.

On learning that I had just come from college at Fontainebleau, he remarked, with a wry face: "My lieutenant died last night."

I understood what he implied, "It is for you to take his place, and you are good for nothing."

A sharp retort was on my tongue, but I restrained it... Continue reading book >>

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