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War & Peace (Paperback)

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War & Peace Tolstoy, Leo Nikolayevich|Tolstoy, L. 1 of 1
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Product Details:

Format: Paperback
ISBN-10: 1853260622
ISBN-13: 9781853260629
Sku: 30344821
Publish Date: 8/13/2012
Pages:  1024
Age Range:  22 to 21
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War and Peace is a vast epic centred on Napoleon''s war with Russia. While it expresses Tolstoy''s view that history is an inexorable process which man cannot influence, he peoples his great novel with a cast of over five hundred characters.
Annotation:
Leo Tolstoy's WAR AND PEACE is an epic war novel, an exploration of family ties, and a manifesto of Tolstoy's beliefs. Against the background of Napoleon's invasion of Russia in the early 1800s, WAR AND PEACE spans the social spectrum, depicting three families--their love affairs, intellectual struggles, and personal conflicts--and the cataclysmic effects of great events on their lives. At the heart of the book are Pierre Bezukhov, whose search for religious certainty (and his failure to find it) and for what constitutes a good life parallel Tolstoy's own; the noble Prince Andrei, who serves in the devastating Battle of Borodino; and ardent young Natasha Rostov, who is loved by both men. Tolstoy originally foresaw an entirely different narrative arc for his novel, and at one time planned to call it ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL, but by 1867, the book's design, with its simple final title, was clearly set out, and the novel was published in 1869 after nearly 10 years of writing, rewriting, and rethinking. Tolstoy's story moves easily between love scenes, the grim details of battle, and the daily lives of both peasants and aristocrats. His stated purpose in the novel was to demonstrate his theory of history, which is that it is determined not by the decisions of the great and powerful, but by the sum total of many small individual acts of ordinary individuals. Because of its overpowering authority, its famous length (most editions run to over 1000 pages), and the comprehensiveness of Tolstoy's vision of humanity, WAR AND PEACE is generally considered to be one of the world's great books.
Author Bio
Leo Tolstoy
The fourth son of a gentleman farmer, Tolstoy was born on the family estate, Yasnaya Polyana, which he later inherited and where he lived much of his life. His mother, the Princess Marya Nicolayevna Volkonsky, died in childbirth when Leo was 2 years old; his father died seven years later. Tolstoy and his brother were cared for by tutors and various relatives, settling finally with an aunt in the city of Kazan in 1841. He studied Oriental languages at Kazan University for a year, but left to travel and educate himself, eventually learning Greek, Hebrew, German, French, and English, and becoming immersed in the works of Rousseau and other moral philosophers. For a time, he also traveled widely and mingled with the Russian aristocracy (Tolstoy himself was a count) until, disillusioned with society, he joined the army. This too proved unsatisfactory, but the experience of war was invaluable to him in his later depiction of the Battle of Austerlitz in WAR AND PEACE. He turned from the army to the management of his estate, devoting himself to improving the lot of the peasants who worked for him. He was particularly interested in educating them, and built a school for the purpose. (He also made his own shoes.) In 1862, when Tolstoy was 34, he married an 18-year-old girl, Sofia Andreyevna Bers, with whom he eventually had 13 children. He had already begun to write, but the stability of his life after marriage enabled him to produce his two masterpieces, WAR AND PEACE (1865-69) and ANNA KARENINA (1875-77). As he grew older, Tolstoy's interest in social issues intensified, and he wrote several vehement tracts attacking such institutions as the church and the army. He also became intensely preoccupied with the problem of finding meaning in a life that is doomed to end in death--a question that preoccupied him in the 1870s, during which time he was often suicidal. This tormented period (which he described in his 1882 CONFESSION) ended only when in 1878 he became a devout Christian. It was at this point that Tolstoy became a proselytizer for pacificism, vegetarianism, and abstention from alcohol and tobacco, and advocated the abolition of war and capital punishment. All this time he continued to write fiction, but his main interests were his essays and polemics--for which he was excommunicated from the Russian Orthodox Church in 1901. Toward the end of his life, Tolstoy was plagued by ill health, conflicts with his wife, and his own fame and wealth. In November 1910, at the age of 82, he fled Yasnaya Polyana for the Caucasus, where he hoped to find peace, but died en route of pneumonia at a remote railway junction. Called by his contemporary Turgenev "the great writer of the Russian land," Tolstoy not only produced monumental works of fiction, but changed the novel forever, combining the social history of his time with deep psychological insight into character and an appreciation for the lives of common people. WAR AND PEACE is widely--and justly--considered the greatest novel ever written.

Praise

"There remains the greatest of all novelists--for what else can we call the author of 'War and Peace'?...[Tolstoy's] senses, his intellect, are acute, powerful, and well nourished....Nothing seems to escape him. Nothing glances off him unrecorded....Every twig, every feather sticks to his magnet. He notices the blue or red of a child's frock; the way a horse shifts its tail; the sound of a cough; the action of a man trying to put his hands into pockets that have been sewn up. And what his infallible eye reports of a cough or a trick of the hands his infallible brain refers to something hidden in the character, so that we know his people, not only by the way they love and their views on politics and the immortality of the soul, but also by the way they sneeze and choke. We feel that we have been set on a mountaintop and had a telescope put into our hands. Everything is astonishingly clear and absolutely sharp." - Virginia Woolf
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