The artistic image represents doubtless interest to studying because of a special role which literature plays in modern world. Nowadays the problem of the reconstruction of an artistic image from literature in other forms of art is up-to-date. Linguists of different countries study an artistic image. The huge contribution in development of this question was made by such theorists of literature as A. A. Potebnya, M. N. Epstein, I. A. Vinogradov.
The subject of our studying is Natasha Rostova's image from L. N. Tolstoy's work «War and peace».
The purpose of this study is the comparison of the artistic image of Natasha Rostova in L. N. Tolstoy's novel «War and peace» and in the British interpretation of the novel in the mini-series with the same name.
Let’s begin with the artistic image itself.
Artistic image is one of the most many-sided and difficult literary, esthetic and philosophical categories defining the art essence and its specifics. It is the concrete and sensual form of reproduction and transformation of reality that is directed on performance of esthetic, informative, communicative and educational functions .
Analyzing the Tolsoy’s novel “War and Peace” and the same named British series we have found out some important differences and of course similarities in transferring the image from the literary work to cinematic one.
Let’s begin with some similarities:
Analyzing this aspect, we can say that the attention of Tolstoy at each new description is generally held on the expression of Natasha’s face, precipitancy of movements, beauty and richness of her voice when she sings, reflecting richness of inner world of the heroine .
And Tom Harper disclosed the dynamism of Natasha’s image, showing her face close up that the viewers could catch all gleams of emotions on the face of the actress. And in the film the actress sang in Russian and it fascinated the people sitting in front of TV.
Relationship between Natasha and Balkonsky
The love of the heroine to Andrei, and then separation from him were the first deep internal experience. The power of this love was so big that the rest of the world didn’t exist for Natasha. The heroine guessed all feelings of Andrei and shared them. For this reason she has recovered only in two weeks after the departure of the darling, but her moral physiology has changed  and that is perfectly shown in series.
The image of Natasha Rostova is so many-sided, so dynamic that wakes up a lot of new and new feelings and thoughts. The director has worked wonderfully well, enlivening the words of the book in his film. That is why the viewer blows his mind watching it despite of knowledge of the plot of the novel.
Also, we’d like to present you some key differences of the transferring the image from the novel to the film:
The first episode with Natasha in the novel and in the film
In the novel «War and peace» we see Natasha Rostova the thirteen-year-old girl, «black-eyed, with a big mouth, ugly, but lively» , whose coming was followed by a roar of the tumbled-down chair. It was obvious that she dropped in so far unintentionally, and then she fell to mother and has burst out laughing so loudly and clearly that all laughed together with her .
However, in British mini-series we see Natasha quietly sitting in a drawing room near the father that shows us possible desire of the director to show their spiritual unification and similarity of characters. But such Nordic temper doesn't correspond to the portrait characteristic of the heroine in the novel where the author emphasizes her vivacity and precipitancy.
That is why the first impression about Natasha in the mini-series is absolutely opposite.
Natasha and her toy
Tolstoy pays very special attention to Natasha's doll because such toy at all times was an averter for its owner, in series this moment is missed that deprives it a certain share of the Russian traditionalism, and also the reference to children's age of Natasha.
Denisov’s offer of marriage to Natasha
The richness of Natasha’s nature affects also in her extraordinary intuition. Despite the lack of life experience, she understood people. And in the scene when Denisov makes an offer of marriage to Natasha, she feels so sorry for him, indeed the heroine can't reciprocate his feelings. Natasha asks her mother for advice as it has been got in traditions of Russian culture, and the mother refuses Denisov.
Another attitude we can see in the series, Natasha refuses to the officer by herself, at once, without a hint on the possibility of consideration of the proposal that was made to her. That is why the image of the heroine loses such important sincere quality as keenness. Respect for traditions also suffers changes in interpretation of the director, Tom Harper.
Relationship between Natasha and Marya
The episode of the unification of Natasha and Marya is very important. Such different heroines, at the beginning feeling hostility to each other, after the death of the darling person Andrei, found true friendship that understands everything and helps both to live further.
However, Tom Harper has ignored their friendly line, and the viewers’ impression is that Natasha is very lonely and unfortunate. This feeling amplifies especially strong because of the author changes the chronology of the events and after Petya's death the Rostov's family loses Ilya Andreevich almost at once. The author makes the heroine plunge into the huge ocean of sufferings, but we see how Natasha is strong in spirit and involuntarily we admire her, perhaps, the director tried to obtain this effect making these changes.
Analyzing the transferring of the artistic image of the Russian reality by the foreign director we could find such changes as:
- the image of Natasha disclosures incompletely because of the partial lack of the scenes that show us the key characteristics of the Russian person of the 19th century;
- the British director diverged from abidance of Russian traditions and foundations of the Russian society of the 19th century, may be because he doesn’t understand the importance of their value;
- the chronological sequence of the primary source was changed and some fundamental scenes were reduced or they were completely lost;
- some scenes which are absent in the primary source were added by the director of the film.
So we can say that the perception of the image of the heroine according to series came out a little distorted, unlike the perception of the image according to the book.
- Бражник Н. И. Изучение романа Л. Н. Толстого «Война и мир» в средней школе. М.: Учпедгиз, 1959. — 118 с.
- Мещеряков В. П. (ред.) Основы литературоведения. М.: Дрофа, 2003. 416 с.
- Толстой Л. Н. «Война и мир». Тома 1–2 «Правда», 1968, 669 стр. Тома 3–4, издательство «Правда», 1968, 719 стр.