War and Peace by Leo TolstoyLook Inside Reading Guide. Reading Guide. Dec 02, ISBN Oct 05, ISBN And as the novel progresses, these characters transcend their specificity, becoming some of the most moving—and human—figures in world literature.
War and Peace: the 10 things you need to know (if you haven't actually read it)
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At a glittering society party in St Petersburg in , conversations are dominated by the prospect of war. Terror swiftly engulfs the country as Napoleon's army marches on Russia, and the lives of three young people are changed forever. The stories of quixotic Pierre, cynical Andrey and impetuous Natasha interweave with a huge cast, from aristocrats and peasants to soldiers and Napoleon himself. In War and Peace , Tolstoy entwines grand themes - conflict and love, birth and death, free will and faith - with unforgettable scenes of nineteenth-century Russia, to create a magnificent epic of human life in all its imperfection and grandeur. Anthony Briggs's superb translation combines stirring, accessible prose with fidelity to Tolstoy's original, while Orlando Figes's afterword discusses the novel's vast scope and depiction of Russian identity. This edition also contains appendices, notes, a list of prominent characters and maps. Leo Tolstoy was born at Yasnaya Polyana, in central Russia.
The characters in War and Peace endure extreme experiences, and emerge at the end as quite different people. The miracle of the book is that the Natasha who falls in love with anyone and everyone in the ballrooms of the opening is recognisably the same woman who withdraws from society at the end. This is the story of a group of people living within a society. It understands and sympathises with those ideas but it excuses itself from repeating them. After pages, you will agree that this is the best way to write a novel.
It is regarded as a central work of world literature and one of Tolstoy's finest literary achievements. The novel chronicles the French invasion of Russia and the impact of the Napoleonic era on Tsarist society through the stories of five Russian aristocratic families. Portions of an earlier version, titled The Year ,  were serialized in The Russian Messenger from to , then published in its entirety in Tolstoy said War and Peace is "not a novel, even less is it a poem, and still less a historical chronicle. Instead, he regarded Anna Karenina as his first true novel. Tolstoy began writing War and Peace in , the year that he finally married and settled down at his country estate.