As I skimmed through the Second Epilogue, trying not to get lost in all the repetition of ideas, I found myself not terribly excited about this section of War and Peace. I wasn't surprised by that-for the most part, I found the sections on history more than little tedious. The ideas themselves were not always the problem, but more how they were written and placed in the text as a whole.
What I keep wondering is how did people react to the sections on history when War and Peace was originally published? The novel itself was fairly popular, but that doesn't mean people were actually reading these lectures on how Tolstoy thought history should be analyzed and perceived. Did people generally enjoy the sections about history or just skim to the more exciting parts? For that matter, does Tolstoy's way of earnestly presenting his thoughts on history add to the novel as a whole or were the various stories and how they unfolded enough to convey the message?