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This is a great achievement.

It is hard to imagine how this translation could be superseded. Alexandrov, Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures, "It is simply the greatest novel ever written. All human life is in it. Russian author, a master of realistic fiction and one of the world's greatest novelists. Tolstoy is best known for his two longest works, War and Peace and Anna Karenina, which are commonly regarded as among the finest novels ever written.

War and Peace in particular seems virtually to define this form for many readers and critics. Among Tolstoy's shorter works, The Death of Ivan Ilyich is usually classed among the best examples of the novella. Especially during his last three decades Tolstoy also achieved world renown as a moral and religious teacher. His doctrine of nonresistance to evil had an important influence on Gandhi. Although Tolstoy's religious ideas no longer command the respect they once did, interest in his life and personality has, if anything, increased over the years.

War and Peace

Most readers will agree with the assessment of the 19th-century British poet and critic Matthew Arnold that a novel by Tolstoy is not a work of art but a piece of life; the 20th-century Russian author Isaak Babel commented that, if the world could write by itself, it would write like Tolstoy. Critics of diverse schools have agreed that somehow Tolstoy's works seem to elude all artifice. Most have stressed his ability to observe the smallest changes of consciousness and to record the slightest movements of the body.

What another novelist would describe as a single act of consciousness, Tolstoy convincingly breaks down into a series of infinitesimally small steps.

It was commonplace to describe him as godlike in his powers and titanic in his struggles to escape the limitations of the human condition. Some viewed Tolstoy as the embodiment of nature and pure vitality, others saw him as the incarnation of the world's conscience, but for almost all who knew him or read his works, he was not just one of the greatest writers who ever lived but a living symbol of the search for life's meaning.

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War and Peace Vintage Classics. Robinson Crusoe Vintage Classics. The Odyssey Vintage Classics. Pierre visits Andrei at his Bogucharovo estate, where they have an extensive conversation about God, life, and death. How do their positions differ? What is it about his character that makes him so contented as a military officer? What effect do these events have upon him, and why [pp. How is the bare oak that Andrei notices in the woods relevant to the scene in which he overhears Natasha as she leans from the window under the moonlight [pp. What qualities make Natasha an extraordinary character? What is her effect upon Andrei, and how does she make him think differently about his life [p.

What do these scenes suggest about the essence of being Russian, for Tolstoy? Why is it important that the Rostovs, particularly Natasha and Nikolai, express this essential Russianness? The engagement of Prince Andrei and Natasha goes on for a year during his absence: the delay is in deference to his father, who is against the marriage. Why does Tolstoy make the marriage of Natasha and Andrei seem ill-fated? Are they not suited to each other? Only not to see it, that dreadful it! What is it?. Natasha is first confused, then thinks herself in love, then is humiliated, then dangerously ill.

War and Peace by Tolstoy Pevear and Volokhonsky - AbeBooks

Pierre comes to her defense [p. It has been said that this episode of the novel is one of the most purely conventional: an innocent girl is seduced by a dissolute rake. Why might Tolstoy have included this twist in the story? What do you think of these events, and what do they contribute to your sense of the story and the characters involved? What is the effect of the exchange between Natasha and Pierre that closes this volume [pp. Volume III The year is War resumes as Napoleon advances to the Russian border.

Prince Andrei returns to service, refusing a position with the Czar in order to serve in the army, leading a regiment of chasseurs. After massive losses at Borodino, the Russian army retreats, leaving the French to take Moscow. Having decided to observe the battle, Pierre carries ammunition for an artillery battalion and sees masses of men slaughtered around him. He makes a vague plan to assassinate Napoleon and is taken prisoner.

The Rostovs leave their home, emptying carts of their furniture to take wounded Russian soldiers to safety. Tolstoy presents Napoleon in a series of small scenes: he looks on at the Polish soldiers crossing the Niemen [pp.

How does Napoleon come across in these scenes? Why does the perspective on Napoleon become more negative as the novel proceeds? Why are these events ironic, for Tolstoy? Is there a quality of absurdity in history, as Tolstoy sees it? What does he see as the truth about the battle of Borodino, as opposed to the way historians have recounted it [pp. How does Andrei now think about his love for Natasha [pp.

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Do such descriptions provoke your sympathy for Andrei as a romantic or doomed figure? Is Princess Marya a model character? What qualities does she represent? What effect does she have on Nikolai Rostov, who arrives in time to help her leave Bald Hills safely? Kutuzov, the commander of the Russian forces, is the opposite of Napoleon in terms of his character as well as his strategic thinking. What are his personal qualities? Does sexuality seem to be connected, for Tolstoy, with moral corruption?