Set against the backdrop of a vast country under dire threat and containing fourteen hundred pages, five hundred characters, and a serious attempt to resolve the questions of how best to live life, this is the basis of the world's finest novel, War and Peace.
It is first and foremost a cornucopia of compelling narrative entertainment on a grand scale, but on a more personal level there are a series of moving stories brimming with intimate detail and with shocking relevance to our own lives and times.
Now available is a new translation of this great classic, the first for half a century, and the first by a man for more than a hundred years. The idiom has been sensitively updated, so as not to betray the original through the vulgarity of sweeping modernisation, but instead to alter the tone gently from the delicate, upper-class English of earlier versions to the kind of vigorous, ordinary speech, which directly reflects Tolstoy's demotic Russian.
One of Penguin Classics's most popular translations- now also in our elegant black spine dress
Count Leo Tolstoy was born on September 9, 1828, in Yasnaya Polyana, Russia. Orphaned at nine, he was brought up by an elderly aunt and educated by French tutors until he matriculated at Kazan University in 1844. In 1847, he gave up his studies and, after several aimless years, volunteered for military duty in the army, serving as a junior officer in the Crimean War before retiring in 1857. In 1862, Tolstoy married Sophie Behrs, a marriage that was to become, for him, bitterly unhappy. His diary, started in 1847, was used for self-study and self-criticism; it served as the source from which he drew much of the material that appeared not only in his great novels War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1877), but also in his shorter works. Seeking religious justification for his life, Tolstoy evolved a new Christianity based upon his own interpretation of the Gospels. Yasnaya Polyana became a mecca for his many converts At the age of eighty-two, while away from home, the writer suffered a break down in his health in Astapovo, Riazan, and he died there on November 20, 1910.
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