The Realist interpretation of ''War and Peace'' -
articulated by Martin Wight and Stanley Hoffmann - is
based on Tolstoy''s understanding of history as it is
elaborated in his account of the Napoleonic invasion
in the second epilogue of the book. There Tolstoy
puts forward a mechanistic view of international
relations which are assumed to be governed by
inexorable laws of history determining human
behaviour and limiting man''s exercise of free will.
However, Tolstoy''s subjection of man to the workings
of impenetrable laws of history in the second
epilogue is at variance with a multiplicity of
conscious moral choices that his three main
characters - Nikolay Rostov, Andrey Bolkonsky and
Pierre Bezukhov - make throughout the book. It is
argued that the different treatment of the freedom
vs. necessity problem in the fictional and historical
narrative can only be understood contextually, i.e.
from within Tolstoy'' rejection of the Enlightenment
tradition of scientific and moral inquiry.