By: Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910)
Sevastopol Sketches (Russian: Севастопольские рассказы, Sevastopolskiye rasskazy) are three short stories written by Leo Tolstoy and published in 1855 to record his experiences during the Siege of Sevastopol (1854–1855) in the Crimean War (1853-1856). The name originates from Sevastopol, a city in Crimea. The book has also been released under the anglicized title The Sebastopol Sketches and is sometimes titled Sevastopol Stories. These brief "sketches" formed the basis of many of the episodes in Tolstoy's magnum opus, War and Peace.
Sevastopol in December: In Sevastopol in December, Tolstoy uses second person narrative (with the pronoun 'you') in an introductory tour of life in Sevastopol. The detailed tour is arguably similar to one Tolstoy may have been given upon arrival in Sevastopol in November, 1854…. Tolstoy also uses Sevastopol in December to introduce the reader to the settings, mannerisms, and background he uses in Sevastopol in May and Sevastopol in August. For example, when referring to the enemy, either the British or the French, but only the French are featured in the Sketches; they are referred to as " 'him', as both soldiers and sailors say".
Sevastopol in May In Sevastopol in May, Tolstoy examines the senselessness and vanity of war. The story examines many aspects of the psychology of war, heroism, and the misleading presence of humanism in truces (misleading because countries continuously go to war with one another, despite past truces). Tolstoy concludes by declaring that the only hero of his story is truth.