War and Peace

War and Peace

3.9 659
by Leo Tolstoy, Anthony Briggs, Orlando Figes
     
 

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One of Penguin Classics's most popular translations- now also in our elegant black spine dress

Overview

One of Penguin Classics's most popular translations- now also in our elegant black spine dress

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“There remains the greatest of all novelists—for what else can we call the author of War and Peace?” —Virginia Woolf
Michael Dirda
…a fine new translation, especially one by the widely acclaimed team of Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, offers an opportunity to see this great classic afresh, to approach it not as a monument (or mausoleum) but rather as a deeply touching story about our contradictory human hearts. Stressing that their War and Peace sticks more closely to the Russian text than any other, including Louise and Aylmer Maude's semi-canonical 1923 version, Pevear and Volokhonsky retain the considerable amount of French used by Tolstoy's counts and princesses, preserve the author's penchant for word repetition and aim to match his tidy syntactic conciseness. The result certainly reads smoothly, its English being neither egregiously contemporary nor inappropriately old-fashioned. In this respect, the Pevear-Volokhonsky War and Peace joins company with recent translations of The Tale of Genji, Don Quixote and In Search of Lost Time, these being among the few works of classic fiction equal to Tolstoy's in scope and richness.
—The Washington Post

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780140447934
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/24/2009
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
1440
Sales rank:
1,314,079
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.80(h) x 2.70(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

War and Peace


By Leo Tolstoy, Anthony Briggs, Orlando Figes

Penguin Publishing Group

Copyright © 2009 Leo Tolstoy
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-14-044793-4


An extract from War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

During the interval there was a cool draught in Hélène’s box as the door opened and in walked Anatole, stopping and trying not to brush against anyone.

‘Allow me to introduce my brother,’ said Hélène, her eyes shifting uneasily from Natasha to Anatole.  Natasha turned her pretty little head towards the handsome adjutant and smiled at him over her bare shoulder.  Anatole, who was just as handsome close to as he had been from a distance, sat down beside her and said this was a delight he had long been waiting for, ever since the Naryshkins’ ball, where he had had the unforgettable pleasure of seeing her.  Kuragin was much more astute and straightforward with women than he ever was in male company.  He talked with an easy directness, and Natasha was agreeably surprised to discover that this man, the butt of so much gossip, had nothing formidable about him – quite the reverse, his face wore the most innocent, cheery and open-hearted of smiles.

Kuragin asked what she thought of the opera, and told her that at the last performance Semyonova had fallen down on stage.

‘Oh, by the way, Countess,’ he said, suddenly treating her like a close friend of long standing, ‘we’re getting up a fancy-dress ball.  You must come – it’s going to be great fun.  They’re all getting together at the Arkharovs’.  Please come.  You will, won’t you?’  As he spoke he never took his smiling eyes off Natasha, her face, her neck, her exposed arms.  Natasha knew for certain he was besotted with her.  She liked this, yet she could feel the temperature rising and she was beginning to feel somehow cornered and constrained in his presence.  When she wasn’t looking at him she could sense him gazing at her shoulders, and she found herself trying to catch his eye to make him look at her face.  But when she looked into his eyes she was shocked to realize that the usual barrier of modesty that existed between her and other men was no longer there between the two of them.  It had taken five minutes for her to feel terribly close to this man, and she scarcely knew what was happening to her.  Whenever she turned away she bristled at the thought that he might seize her from behind by her bare arm and start kissing her on the neck.  They were going on about nothing in particular, yet she felt closer to him than she had ever been to any other man.  Natasha kept glancing round at Hélène and her father for help – what did it all mean? – but Hélène was deep in conversation with a general and didn’t respond to her glance, and her father’s eyes conveyed nothing but their usual message, ‘Enjoying yourself?  Jolly good.  I’m so pleased.’

There was an awkward silence, during which Anatole, the personification of cool determination, never took his voracious eyes off her, and Natasha broke it by asking whether he liked living in Moscow.  She coloured up the moment the question was out of her mouth.  She couldn’t help feeling there was something improper about even talking to him.  Anatole smiled an encouraging smile.

‘Oh, I didn’t like it much at first.  Well, what is it that makes a town nice to live in?  It’s the pretty women, isn’t it?  Well, now I do like it, very much indeed,’ he said, with a meaningful stare.  ‘You will come to the fancy-dress ball, Countess?  Please come,’ he said.  Putting his hand out to touch her bouquet he lowered his voice and added in French,  ‘You’ll be the prettiest woman there.  Do come, dear Countess, and give me this flower as your pledge.’

Natasha didn’t understand a word of this – any more than he did – but she felt that behind his incomprehensible words there was some dishonourable intention.  Not knowing how to respond, she turned away as if she hadn’t heard him.  But the moment she turned away she could feel him right behind her, very close.

‘Now what?  Is he embarrassed?  Is he angry?  Should I put things right?’ she wondered.  She couldn’t help turning round.  She looked him straight in the eyes.  One glance at him, standing so close, with all that self-assurance and the warmth of his sweet smile, and she was lost.  She stared into his eyes, and her smile was the mirror-image of his.  And again she sensed with horror there was no barrier between the two of them.

The curtain rose again.  Anatole strolled out of the box, a picture of composure and contentment.  Natasha went back to her father’s box, completely taken by the new world she found herself in.  All that was happening before her eyes now seemed absolutely normal.  By contrast, all previous thoughts of her fiancé, Princess Marya, her life in the country, never even crossed her mind.  It was as if it all belonged to the distant past.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, Anthony Briggs, Orlando Figes. Copyright © 2009 Leo Tolstoy. Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are saying about this

Vladimir E. Alexandrov
"This is, at last, a translation of War and Peace without the dreadful misunderstandings and "improvements" that plague all other translations of the novel into English. Pevear and Volokhonsky not only render the meanings and nuances of Tolstoy's language faithfully and beautifully, they also strive to transmit the structure and feel of his prose, down to the level of individual sentences and phrases (as much as the constraints of English allow)."--(Vladimir E. Alexandrov, B. E. Bensinger Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures, Chair, Slavic Department, Yale University)
Red Burns
Everybody has the same technology. But what's going to make the difference is the imagination that the people bring to that technology. Until people learn how to have computers serve their idiosyncratic behavior, we aren't going to see anything (Red Burns is Chair, NYU Interactive Telecommunications Program).

Meet the Author

Count Leo Tolstoy was born on September 9, 1828, in Yasnaya Polyana, Russia. Orphaned at nine, he was brought up by an elderly aunt and educated by French tutors until he matriculated at Kazan University in 1844. In 1847, he gave up his studies and, after several aimless years, volunteered for military duty in the army, serving as a junior officer in the Crimean War before retiring in 1857. In 1862, Tolstoy married Sophie Behrs, a marriage that was to become, for him, bitterly unhappy. His diary, started in 1847, was used for self-study and self-criticism; it served as the source from which he drew much of the material that appeared not only in his great novels War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1877), but also in his shorter works. Seeking religious justification for his life, Tolstoy evolved a new Christianity based upon his own interpretation of the Gospels. Yasnaya Polyana became a mecca for his many converts At the age of eighty-two, while away from home, the writer suffered a break down in his health in Astapovo, Riazan, and he died there on November 20, 1910.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
September 9, 1828
Date of Death:
November 20, 1910
Place of Birth:
Tula Province, Russia
Place of Death:
Astapovo, Russia
Education:
Privately educated by French and German tutors; attended the University of Kazan, 1844-47

Customer Reviews

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War and Peace 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 659 reviews.
luftweg More than 1 year ago
War and Peace is a classic that should not be missed by anyone. Leo Tolstoy is a master story teller. The formatting of this ebook was masterful as well. Very professional and no errors. Worth every penny.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The $2.99 ebook is not the Pevear translation and inaccurately reflects an excerpt for that version of the text. The downloaded text in the $2.99 version is highly abridged. Buyer beware!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an awesome book and you must take great care to ensure you are getting a copy that suits your requirements. Look for a quality translation - Prevear should do it for most people. I have tried several of the free downloads of this book for my nook and they are quite unreadable. The amount of spelling mistakes is unbelievable - do this book the justice it deserves and treat yourself to a good copy!
Guest More than 1 year ago
WAR AND PEACE successfully captured life's promises, challenges, joys, triumphs, and losses in a way that no other novels has done before and after. In this novel with more characters than any other I can imagine the main characters are Pierre Bezuhov, Prince Andrey Bolkonsky, and Natasha Rostov, who are all affected by the destabilization of the war Napoleon brought upon Russia in the early nineteenth century. It is around them that the other characters revolve. Even though the sheer size of this novel of over a million words may discourage readers to pick it up, the consuming nature of the story keeps a reader glued to the book from the opening pages. The sheer power of this romantic and adventurous story made this classic story to survive as perhaps the best of all times.
Guest More than 1 year ago
And I have read many! When I 'had' to read this book in college it changed my life. While it never preaches, or really makes it clear what 'side' the author takes, somehow it made God's character real to me. That God is love. And, that without love we are nothing. Also, it was amazing to me that I could read a 1000 page Russian novel and never get bored. This is a beautiful book that showed me that God loves a broken and sinful mankind and that He can be found in spite of the ugliness of our own hearts.
wizozzie More than 1 year ago
This is not the full version of the book. It's only an excerpt. :-(
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
the free version of war and peace is only an excerpt and starts from part nine. also the ereader that barnes and noble has available for download doesnt even work. i went to adobe and downloaded their epub reader which worked fine.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I purchased this particular paperback translation by Pat Conroy because I was looking for a lightweight version of War and Peace that I could re-read en route to and from work on public transportation. I was preparing for a trip to Russia and "getting in the mood." While the book served that purpose, for me, the purchase was a mistake. The print was too small and hard to read, and the translation was not particularly scholarly. Much of the text was in the original French, which, although not unusual in many Tolstoy translations, I found distracting because it tested my French fluency rather than adding to the continuity of the text. Unless you are reasonably fluent in French, I recommend reading another translation. My experience here reminds me that you get what you pay for. For about $10, I bought an inexpensive, lightweight, paperback volume of less than stellar quality that I did not enjoy and stopped reading. Tolstoy deserves far better treatment. Next time, I will go with the salesperson's highly recommended translation, despite its size and weight.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is not a ¿light and fun¿ book, the way some more modern pieces of literature come to mind (SLAUGHTER HOUSE FIVE by Vonnegut¿still a classic in its own way---and KATZENJAMMER by McCrae¿hilarious and unsettling at the same time), but it IS a great book¿freat piece of literature. New translations of War and Peace appear from time to time, each with its own virtues. Sometimes what one reader calls virtues, another finds to be deficiencies. The now-venerable Maude translation, in the splendid Norton Critical Edition, is sometimes majestic, always readable, and, most important, conveys to most minds the story Tolstoy told. The breathtaking, awe-inspiring power of Tolstoy's storytelling and his burning insights into the quandaries of the human condition are what is important about War and Peace. The Maudes' translation brings all this to life. Norton's editorial supplements help the newcomer to things Russian fight his/her way through the thicket of Russian names and mid-nineteenth-century literary mindset to get comfortable with Pierre, the Rostovs and the Bolkonskys. Once you get to know these unforgettable people, you are hooked for good. I have read this book many times in Russian and in the Maudes' translation. I always end by thanking Tolstoy for writing the best novel of them all, and the Maudes for their tireless work in translating it for those not fortunate enough to read it in the original.For lighter reads, try: KATZENJAMMER by McCrae or SECRET LIFE OF BEES by Kidd.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Anyone serious about getting to know this novel, fitted out in smart English duds by Louise and Aylmer Maude, will not hesitate to invest in the handsome three-volume edition so mercifully published by Everyman's Library, Knopf. All long novels should be brought out this way, in fact, as they normally were in an age unafraid of multiple tomes: in sensibly-sized and serviceable volumes, not so bloated that they will crush your chest in bed, print actually suited to normal eyes that do not require high-tech telescopes to decipher the text. All this said, Tolstoi's novel has the power to occasion some intriguing questions. Why does Prince Andrei love his wife so little, and Princess Lize her family so much? Is Pierre Bezukhov as obtuse as he seems? Does the author tell us the full story of Nicholas Bolkonsky's ill-treatment of his daughter, or is there an even more sinister tale, lurking behind the edge of every page? What will Natasha do when her serfs are one day freed, and was there a real-life prototype for the eerily emetic Helene? And who brewed all that borsch, fried all those bliny? Tolstoi himself, of course, foresaw all such questions, and would no doubt refer the reader to his various commentaries on the subject, which would seem to have dropped from his pen like so many fully-formed Baltic bonbons for our enjoyment. We may be turned off (or on!) by his theories of history, and especially by the near lunatic ravings which constitute the final epilogue. But it would not be possible to emerge unchanged from a summer spent reading this novel. Are not now our notions of Russia more spangled? Is not our approach to life now more brave? Though its title may make this book sound heavier and more indigestible than a granite gulag birthday cake, let us hasten to state that it is anything but.
d03j More than 1 year ago
It is disappointing BN does not do a better job controling the quality of what gets published here.
MarinaVeen More than 1 year ago
great!
Guest More than 1 year ago
A great epic, unforgettable characters and melodrama. This is one of those classics you want to make sure you read in your lifetime, but probably once in a lifetime will be enough. It helps if you skip those chapters which are philosophical 'asides' and not part of the plot.
Anonymous 10 months ago
She has short light brown hair. And green eyes. Fithteen years old. Her birthday is October 31st. Halloween. She loves making new friends and she is super duper nice,friendly and funny. Yes you got that right! Now i love everyone! Even turtles! I like the color blue.. and my favorite song is:"Forget you" by zara. This is the song:"I will never forget you, you will always be by my side, from the day that i met you i knew that i would love you till the day i die. Thats how it goes. My second favorite song is "lost boy":"he was a lost boy, from neverland usually hanging out with peter pan. When we got bored we would play out in the woodd always on the run from captain hook. And my third favorite is "Me too" by meghan trainor: whose that se.xy thing i see in the mirror? Thats me standing in your face! And whats that icy thang all around my neck? Thats gold show me some respect! *Claps* i thank god every day i woke up feeling this way and i cant help loving myself now i dont need nobody eles. Uh huh. If i was you id wanna be me too. I have and iphone 5. I love music. I am an only child. But im not spoiled. I go to a private high school. I live in Reading,Pennsalvania. Oh...and i love bernie sanders vote him for president. All you haters who hate bernie back off!!(nah just kidding but do not mess with bernie!!!)oh and my favorite show is "Jane theVirgin" that show is bae. My favorite singer is: justin beiber, christina perrie, ariana grande and zayn..(have you heard zayns song pillow talk its sooo BAE!!!!!!!)now if your still reading then wow am i interesting to you? Cause i dont think anyone would read this far!! Here if you reading this i got a joke for you. Question: why did adele cross the street? Answer: to say hello from the other side.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Could everyone stop writing gibberish? BTW I really liked this book. My honors english class read it and I enjoyed it so much I'm buying my own copy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A finely written book; a classic that should should be read by all.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A pleasure to read.
sva24 More than 1 year ago
Translation is easy to understand and follow. This version even includes Tolstoy's use of French in conversation, often omitted in some translated versions. Easy to follow, and "War and Peace" as everyone knows, is one of the best novels ever written.
AndInTheEnd More than 1 year ago
Read a different translation, but I can imagine this one is similar. Decided to take the challenge to read the ultimate in western literature. Certainly is a grand story - but the plot isn't so important is as the asides - the commentaries on life. Loved it.
codecracker13 More than 1 year ago
Lots of detail, good historic facts. Only problem is that it is slow in some parts and can be long!
Mary Diffendal More than 1 year ago
This is vol ll of 3
fortchicago More than 1 year ago
Good to curl up with in front of the fire with a glass of brandy in one hand. Napoleon doesn't come off too well, though.
Grace-under-pressure More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book. Because of the number of pages, one might be tempted to imagine that the story drags on. It does not. Download to the Nook for 99 cents...a great addition to anyone's library! Some reviewers have said they received only exerpts. However, what I have in my Nook is the full 15 books and 2 epilogues of War And Peace--3,939 pages.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have a paperback copy of the Ann Dunnigan translation with an intro by Pat Conroy and had read nearly half way through it when I received a NOOK. I downloaded the Nookbook Ann Dunnigan translation with an intro by Pat Conroy (brown cover with flag and birds on front) so I could finish it on my Nook and found the section I was reading had several typos and spelling errors.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book serves as an accurate depiction of the War of 1812, with actual historical characters, who struggle through life in search of meaning. A beautifully written book, which is even better if read in Russian, due to the lack of the word power in the translation. I was really dissapointed when I read a number of the assessments written by some of the other 'reviewers'. Only a highly uneducated person could criticize such a work of art, but hopefully those few will soon enough grow up and realize what they have missed. Anyway, it is a really great book. If you were to read only one novel in your lifetime, this has to be the one.