A piece by a Russian scholar on the parallel between "War and Peace" of Tolstoy and Pasteur

Posted: March 2, 2016

With special permission of professor Zheltova-Eberle, this is a translation of a piece aboout the use of Tolstoy' War and Peace in BL's treatment of Pasteur. Translated from Russian and unpublished in English.

"In 2015 «Pasteur: guerre et paix des microbes suivi de Irréductions» by Bruno Latour came out in Russian language . The title of the book evidently contains the name of the famous Tolstoy’s novel “War and peace” and the numerous references in the book prove that “War and peace” has been important for Latour’s thinking. But what particular thoughts of Tolstoy are valuable for Latour?
Before Latour’s investigation, there dominated the vision that Pasteur’s great genius had transformed the life of the whole Europe. In France, as Latour points out, Pasteur was especially praised: it was Pasteur who
“regenerated, revolutionized, created the new medicine, the new biology, the new hy-giene” [Latour, 1988, p. 14].
In his research Latour aims to clear up what was accomplished solely by Pasteur and what was attributed to him. And Latour finds some useful ideas in Tolstoy’s novel."