Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace is a sprawling epic covering the impact of Napoleon's disastrous invasion of Russia on five different families. This Penguin Classics edition is translated with an introduction and notes by Anthony Briggs, with an afterword by Orlando Figes, author of A People's Tragedy: Russian Revolution 1891-1924.
At a glittering society party in St Petersburg in 1805, 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 (1828-1910) was born at Yasnaya Polyana, in central Russia. After marrying Sofya Behrs in 1862, Tolstoy settled down, managing his estates and writing two of his best-known novels, War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1878). In 1884 Tolstoy experienced a spiritual crisis, becoming an extreme moralist, rejecting the state, the church and private property. His last novel, Resurrection (1900), was written to raise money for the Doukhobor sect of Christian spiritualists.
If you enjoyed War and Peace, you might also like Fyodor Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov.
'A masterpiece ... This new translation is excellent'
-- Anthony Beevor
'A book that you don't just read, you live'
-- Simon Schama
This wasn’t something that I ever thought I would get around to reading, but I’m so glad that I did. The way that Tolstoy threads together the scenes of war with the scenes of peace and his chapters on the philosophy of history is utterly masterful. That said, I did find the war scenes challenging to read, and particularly difficult to picture. Even with Mendelsund’s help, I couldn’t map out the battles in my head. The peace scenes on the other hand were fascinating to me. I got quite attached to some of the characters, and the length and scope of the novel allows for great character development. This book has stuck around for good reason. It’s well worth reading once you get around to it. - Holly
Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) was born in Tula province and was educated privately and at Kazan University. In 1851 he went to the Caucasus, joined an artillery regiment & began his literary career. After marrying in 1862, he began writing War and Peace, which was finished in 1869. His second great work, Anna Karenina, was finished in 1876. Professor Tony Briggs is former Professor of Russian at the University of Birmingham, and is the author of six books on Russian literature. Professor Tony Briggs is former Professor of Russian at the University of Birmingham, has translated widely from the Russian, especially Pushkin, and is the author of several critical books on Russian literature. Orlando Figes is Professor of History at Birkbeck and the author of A People's Tragedy: The Russian Revolution, 1891-1924, which was awarded the Wolfson Prize for History and, most recently, Natasha's Dance: A Cultural History of Russia.