War and Peace (Modern Library Series)

( 468 )

Overview

From the award-winning translators of Anna Karenina and The Brothers Karamazov comes this magnificent new translation of Tolstoy's mastwerwork.

War and Peace broadly focuses on Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 1812 and follows three of the most well-known characters in literature: Pierre Bezukhov, the illegitimate son of a count who is fighting for his inheritance and yearning for spiritual fulfillment; Prince Andrei Bolkonsky, who leaves his family behind to fight in the war ...

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Overview

From the award-winning translators of Anna Karenina and The Brothers Karamazov comes this magnificent new translation of Tolstoy's mastwerwork.

War and Peace broadly focuses on Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 1812 and follows three of the most well-known characters in literature: Pierre Bezukhov, the illegitimate son of a count who is fighting for his inheritance and yearning for spiritual fulfillment; Prince Andrei Bolkonsky, who leaves his family behind to fight in the war against Napoleon; and Natasha Rostov, the beautiful young daughter of a nobleman who intrigues both men.

As Napoleon's army invades, Tolstoy brilliantly follows characters from diverse backgrounds—peasants and nobility, civilians and soldiers—as they struggle with the problems unique to their era, their history, and their culture. And as the novel progresses, these characters transcend their specificity, becoming some of the most moving—and human—figures in world literature. Translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky

()

Three-Volume Boxed Set

An epic of the Napoleonic wars, a philosophical study, and a celebration of the Russian spirit.

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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
From Barnes & Noble
A monumental work of fiction, Tolstoy's masterpiece of love and loss, tragedy and triumph is set against the panorama of the Napoleonic Wars at the dawn of the 19th century. An unforgettable story of two Russian families whose lives become intertwined amidst a collision of empires.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679600848
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/28/1994
  • Series: Modern Library Series
  • Pages: 1408
  • Sales rank: 489,674
  • Product dimensions: 5.73 (w) x 8.21 (h) x 2.29 (d)

Meet the Author

A. N. Wilson is an award-winning novelist, biographer, and journalist, and the author of God’s Funeral and the biographies C. S. Lewis, Paul, and Jesus. He lives in London.

Biography

Count Leo Tolstoy was born in 1828 on the family estate of Yasnaya Polyana, in the Tula province, where he spent most of his early years, together with his several brothers. In 1844 he entered the University of Kazan to read Oriental Languages and later Law, but left before completing a degree. He spent the following years in a round of drinking, gambling and womanizing, until weary of his idle existence he joined an artillery regiment in the Caucasus in 1851.

He took part in the Crimean war and after the defence of Sevastopol wrote The Sevastopol Sketches (1855-6), which established his literary reputation. After leaving the army in 1856 Tolstoy spent some time mixing with the literati in St Petersburg before traveling abroad and then settling at Yasnaya Polyana, where he involved himself in the running of peasant schools and the emancipation of the serfs. His marriage to Sofya Andreyevna Behrs in 1862 marked the beginning of a period of contentment centred around family life; they had thirteen children. Tolstoy managed his vast estates, continued his educational projects, cared for his peasants and wrote both his great novels, War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1877).

During the 1870s he underwent a spiritual crisis, the moral and religious ideas that had always dogged him coming to the fore. A Confession (1879–82) marked an outward change in his life and works; he became an extreme rationalist and moralist, and in a series of pamphlets written after 1880 he rejected church and state, indicted the demands of flesh, and denounced private property. His teachings earned him numerous followers in Russia and abroad, and also led finally to his excommunication by the Russian Holy Synod in 1901. In 1910 at the age of eighty-two he fled from home "leaving this worldly life in order to live out my last days in peace and solitude;" he died some days later at the station master's house at Astapovo.

Author biography courtesy of Penguin Books LTD.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Leo Nikolayevich Tolstoy (full name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      September 9, 1828
    2. Place of Birth:
      Tula Province, Russia
    1. Date of Death:
      November 20, 1910
    2. Place of Death:
      Astapovo, Russia

Read an Excerpt

WELL, PRINCE, Genoa and Lucca are now no more than private estates of the Bonaparte family. No, I warn you, that if you do not tell me we are at war, if you again allow yourself to palliate all the infamies and atrocities of this Antichrist (upon my word, I believe he is), I don’t know you in future, you are no longer my friend, no longer my faithful slave, as you say. There, how do you do, how do you do? I see I’m scaring you, sit down and talk to me.”
These words were uttered in July 1805 by Anna Pavlovna Scherer, a distinguished lady of the court, and confidential maid-of-honour to the Empress Marya Fyodorovna. It was her greeting to Prince Vassily, a man high in rank and office, who was the first to arrive at her soirée. Anna Pavlovna had been coughing for the last few days; she had an attack of la grippe, as she said—grippe was then a new word only used by a few people. In the notes she had sent round in the morning by a footman in red livery, she had written to all indiscriminately:
“If you have nothing better to do, count (or prince), and if the prospect of spending an evening with a poor invalid is not too alarming to you, I shall be charmed to see you at my house between 7 and 10. Annette Scherer.”
“Heavens! what a violent outburst!” the prince responded, not in the least disconcerted at such a reception. He was wearing an embroidered court uniform, stockings and slippers, and had stars on his breast, and a bright smile on his flat face.
He spoke in that elaborately choice French, in which our forefathers not only spoke but thought, and with those slow, patronising intonations peculiar to a man of importance who has grown old in court society. He went up to Anna Pavlovna, kissed her hand, presenting her with a view of his perfumed, shining bald head, and complacently settled himself on the sofa.
“First of all, tell me how you are, dear friend. Relieve a friend’s anxiety,” he said, with no change of his voice and tone, in which indifference, and even irony, was perceptible through the veil of courtesy and sympathy.
“How can one be well when one is in moral suffering? How can one help being worried in these times, if one has any feeling?” said Anna Pavlovna. “You’ll spend the whole evening with me, I hope?”
“And the fête at the English ambassador’s? To-day is Wednesday. I must put in an appearance there,” said the prince. “My daughter is coming to fetch me and take me there.”
“I thought to-day’s fête had been put off. I confess that all these festivities and fireworks are beginning to pall.”
“If they had known that it was your wish, the fête would have been put off,” said the prince, from habit, like a wound-up clock, saying things he did not even wish to be believed.
“Don’t tease me. Well, what has been decided in regard to the Novosiltsov dispatch? You know everything.”
“What is there to tell?” said the prince in a tired, listless tone. “What has been decided? It has been decided that Bonaparte has burnt his ships, and I think that we are about to burn ours.”
Prince Vassily always spoke languidly, like an actor repeating his part in an old play. Anna Pavlovna Scherer, in spite of her forty years, was on the contrary brimming over with excitement and impulsiveness. To be enthusiastic had become her pose in society, and at times even when she had, indeed, no inclination to be so, she was enthusiastic so as not to disappoint the expectations of those who knew her. The affected smile which played continually about Anna Pavlovna’s face, out of keeping as it was with her faded looks, expressed a spoilt child’s continual consciousness of a charming failing of which she had neither the wish nor the power to correct herself, which, indeed, she saw no need to correct.
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Reading Group Guide

1. 1. In an article, “Some Words About War and Peace,” Tolstoy writes: “What is War and Peace? It is not a novel, even less is it a poem, and still less an historical chronicle. War and Peace is what the author wished and was able to express in the form in which it is expressed.” He goes on to discuss how many precedents for this “disregard of conventional form” there are in the history of Russian literature. How do you respond to this characterization of the novel? Does it help you understand its scope, structure, or style?

 

2. 2. Relatedly, while some novelists have bemoaned what they considered to be the formless nature of War and Peace, Henry James called it “a wonderful mass of life.” How did the novel’s length affect your reading experience? Does its scale mirror its comprehensive outlook? Does Tolstoy’s ambitious vision succeed, in your opinion?

3. 3. Tolstoy also writes, with regard to the “character of the period” he was trying to depict, that it “had its own characteristics . . . which resulted from the pre-dominant alienation of the upper class from other classes, from the religious philosophy of the time, from peculiarities of education . . . and so forth.” What do you make of Tolstoy’s treatment of the themes of aristocracy and class, religion, and education in this work?

4. 4. Discuss the eventual marriage of Natasha Rostova and Pierre Bezukhov. How does their alliance speak to larger principles, if at all? How does the concept of family relate to the theme of war? Are Natasha and Pierre representative of Russian social life at the time? Why or why not?

5. 5. Regarding “the divergence between my description of historical events and that given by the historians,” Tolstoy draws interesting distinctions between the artist and the historian: “As an historian would be wrong if he tried to present an historical person in his entirety . . . so the artist would fail to perform his task were he to represent the person always in his historic significance. . . . For an historian considering the achievement of a certain aim, there are heroes; for the artist treating of man’s relation to all sides of life, there cannot and should not be heroes, but there should be men. . . . The historian has to deal with the results of an event, the artist with the fact of the event.” Discuss Tolstoy’s concern with history, and the place he accords to the individual in the historical process.

 

6. 6. What is Tolstoy’s verdict on Napoleon? How does this novel treat the idea of the historical “great man”?

7. 7. Tolstoy’s focus on five upper-class families contrasted sharply with the struggles of the nation during the Napoleonic war. And yet, many see the novel as a celebration of the Russian spirit. How do you perceive Tolstoy’s emphasis on the aristocratic? How does the Revolution affect Russian class structure, if at all?

8. 8. A contemporary critic, N. N. Strakhov, said, “What is the meaning of War and Peace? The meaning is expressed in these words of the author more clearly than anywhere else: ‘There is no greatness where there is no simplicity, goodness, and truth.’ ” Is this statement as simple as it sounds? Discuss.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 468 )
Rating Distribution

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(240)

4 Star

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3 Star

(44)

2 Star

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1 Star

(68)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 471 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 3, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Highly Recommended!!!

    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.

    194 out of 196 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 28, 2009

    Warning to Nook users!

    The free eBook version of War and Peace is part III of a multi-volume set. Barnes and Noble does not indicate this, and there is no way to find the other volumes in the set. If really want to read War and Peace on your Nook, go for one of the eBooks that is not free, or use another web site to get a full copy of the free version.

    My apologies to everyone reading this "review" in other editions of the book - B&N doesn't separate reviews by edition. I'm only talking about the free eBook edition translated by Leo Weiner. And I hope that in the future B&N will correctly label it as "War and Peace - Volume III".

    45 out of 50 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2009

    this is not the Pevear translation

    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!

    31 out of 35 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2010

    WAR AND PEACE

    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!

    21 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 10, 2005

    Best book I've ever read.

    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.

    13 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2005

    War and Peace

    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.

    10 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 24, 2010

    NOT the full version

    This is not the full version of the book. It's only an excerpt. :-(

    9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2010

    for the free ebook and bn's ereader for mac

    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.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2009

    A classic of unmatched caliber not well honored in this particular translation.

    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.

    6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2001

    Tolstoi's 1500 Page Baby

    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.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 29, 2011

    This is volume ll

    This is vol ll of 3

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2006

    So many translations-----so little time . . .

    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.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 2, 2012

    war and peace

    great!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2012

    Unknown

    *spray paints on the walls*

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2012

    Read this if your awedom

    Your awesome if you read it

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 24, 2011

    Poorly formatted and with OCR errors!

    It is disappointing BN does not do a better job controling the quality of what gets published here.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 10, 2011

    burke,s review srcs

    i am in 7th grade. i am reading this for its 118 ar points. it is much harder than i thought, but i will read it cover to cover in one week and three days.( spring break)

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2005

    a masterpiece, but could have used some editing

    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.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2012

    War and Peace

    A finely written book; a classic that should should be read by all.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2012

    Nook

    This is very amazing

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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