Reading War and Peace

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Bag Lady
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Re: Reading War and Peace

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Page 1333. I just don't think I can make it...
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Re: Reading War and Peace

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Two more chapters done. Page 1338
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Re: Reading War and Peace

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Only 20 pages to go :smt038
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Re: Reading War and Peace

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The heat and Epilogue Part II are not compatible... Had to take a nap.

Nearly, nearly there.
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Re: Reading War and Peace

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I should have posted this yesterday but...anyway

Finished!
Thank you to anyone who’s made it this far, I couldn’t have got through this without you 8)

Thoughts on War and Peace

It’s long, it’s heavy but it doesn’t drag. The chapters are reasonably short which helps. Got to admire the length when you consider that it was written and edited by hand. Tolstoy’s wife Sonya apparently wrote it out 7 times in the course of helping him produce and edit it.

There are no great plot twists (the only one is actually used twice and for the same character) which limits the likelihood of inaccuracies. The plot is straightforward and can be boiled down which is why despite the book’s length film and TV adaptations can be made without loss of story. I say that without any reference to any adaptations as I haven’t seen any but I did wonder when the BBC got the story down to 6 hours how that would be possible while doing justice to the story, I can see now that it would be possible.

The action is very consistent, slightly weighted towards war rather than peace. The afterword says only a third of action takes place on the battlefield but around that there is much about preparing for war and living through its effects. There are no really dull patches although sometimes the descriptions of troop placement can be a bit much (for me). There can be lengthy parts about the tactics of battles and analysis of the leaders’ characters but mostly these fit well with the action.

A quote with relevance to current leaders, perhaps one in particular “It was clear that Napoleon had convinced himself long before this that he was incapable of error and that everything he did was good, not because it conformed with any general concept of right or wrong, but simply because he was the one who did it.” (Volume III, Part I, Chapter 7)

Various descriptions and themes of note: Freemasonry, hunting, the Great Comet, surgery without anaesthesia, close up fighting, visiting a battle just for a look, incredible movement of troops, arrogance of leaders, goading a mob to kill, getting messages around, the luck involved in battle (both tactics and literally dodging cannonballs), executions, attitudes towards serfs and peasants.

There was a lot of development of the idea that battles are not won by the tacticians but evolve by their own accord. Tolstoy rails against the concepts of great leaders and power. He argues that history can only be told if it includes everyone’s actions in it. Small changes lead to greater change, the small changes being in reaction to what has gone before rather than to sweeping orders being given. Evolution in action.

After reading Revolutionary Russia 1891-1991, I was considering why the Soviets would have accepted and promoted War and Peace. There is dedication and devotion to Mother Russia in it and portrayal of the country as victorious even in defeat, of what can be achieved if people pull together. Pierre and Nikolay separately work to improve the lot of the peasants (although the serfs are looked down on despite their loyalty to their masters) and use collectivisation and larger family living units to increase production. Wealth and privilege do not bring happiness without other achievements. The book ends in 1812 and maybe this was when changes began to be proposed that were held back by Tsars but the will of the people evolved to make the revolutions possible. I haven’t quite fully formed these ideas yet…

Part II of the Epilogue is interesting but feels misplaced in a novel. Similar philosophical thoughts are dispersed throughout the story and work well but the second half of the epilogue is a comprehensive round up and development of these ideas that rather overwhelms the rest. Perfectly adequate to read up to the end of Epilogue part I and leave it there once all the births, deaths and marriages have been summed up. But then again Tolstoy said that War and Peace was not a novel.

The translation that I was reading was by Anthony Briggs 2005, I recommend it, very good. Sorry to disappoint anyone who thought I was reading the original Russian. Oh no, the guilt... I've let you down... Sod it, I've read War and Peace :grin:
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Re: Reading War and Peace

Post by elvisintheclouds »

Great Summary 8) 8) 8)
Congratulations!
Bag Lady wrote: 19 Jun 2017, 14:58 I should have posted this yesterday but...anyway

Finished!
Thank you to anyone who’s made it this far, I couldn’t have got through this without you 8)

Thoughts on War and Peace

It’s long, it’s heavy but it doesn’t drag. The chapters are reasonably short which helps. Got to admire the length when you consider that it was written and edited by hand. Tolstoy’s wife Sonya apparently wrote it out 7 times in the course of helping him produce and edit it.

There are no great plot twists (the only one is actually used twice and for the same character) which limits the likelihood of inaccuracies. The plot is straightforward and can be boiled down which is why despite the book’s length film and TV adaptations can be made without loss of story. I say that without any reference to any adaptations as I haven’t seen any but I did wonder when the BBC got the story down to 6 hours how that would be possible while doing justice to the story, I can see now that it would be possible.

The action is very consistent, slightly weighted towards war rather than peace. The afterword says only a third of action takes place on the battlefield but around that there is much about preparing for war and living through its effects. There are no really dull patches although sometimes the descriptions of troop placement can be a bit much (for me). There can be lengthy parts about the tactics of battles and analysis of the leaders’ characters but mostly these fit well with the action.

A quote with relevance to current leaders, perhaps one in particular “It was clear that Napoleon had convinced himself long before this that he was incapable of error and that everything he did was good, not because it conformed with any general concept of right or wrong, but simply because he was the one who did it.” (Volume III, Part I, Chapter 7)

Various descriptions and themes of note: Freemasonry, hunting, the Great Comet, surgery without anaesthesia, close up fighting, visiting a battle just for a look, incredible movement of troops, arrogance of leaders, goading a mob to kill, getting messages around, the luck involved in battle (both tactics and literally dodging cannonballs), executions, attitudes towards serfs and peasants.

There was a lot of development of the idea that battles are not won by the tacticians but evolve by their own accord. Tolstoy rails against the concepts of great leaders and power. He argues that history can only be told if it includes everyone’s actions in it. Small changes lead to greater change, the small changes being in reaction to what has gone before rather than to sweeping orders being given. Evolution in action.

After reading Revolutionary Russia 1891-1991, I was considering why the Soviets would have accepted and promoted War and Peace. There is dedication and devotion to Mother Russia in it and portrayal of the country as victorious even in defeat, of what can be achieved if people pull together. Pierre and Nikolay separately work to improve the lot of the peasants (although the serfs are looked down on despite their loyalty to their masters) and use collectivisation and larger family living units to increase production. Wealth and privilege do not bring happiness without other achievements. The book ends in 1812 and maybe this was when changes began to be proposed that were held back by Tsars but the will of the people evolved to make the revolutions possible. I haven’t quite fully formed these ideas yet…

Part II of the Epilogue is interesting but feels misplaced in a novel. Similar philosophical thoughts are dispersed throughout the story and work well but the second half of the epilogue is a comprehensive round up and development of these ideas that rather overwhelms the rest. Perfectly adequate to read up to the end of Epilogue part I and leave it there once all the births, deaths and marriages have been summed up. But then again Tolstoy said that War and Peace was not a novel.

The translation that I was reading was by Anthony Briggs 2005, I recommend it, very good. Sorry to disappoint anyone who thought I was reading the original Russian. Oh no, the guilt... I've let you down... Sod it, I've read War and Peace :grin:
Thank you very much
EiTC
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Re: Reading War and Peace

Post by airflamesred »

I genuinely applaud both your perseverance and summary, thank you Bag Lady.
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Re: Reading War and Peace

Post by PaulinLondon »

I am concerned about this thread.

Well done to the author of this thread for finishing this epic novel but why was the author also reading and posting about other books, at the same time, in the "Last Book Read" thread ?

Was this thread part of an attempt to overtake Alias, Gizzard, ThrubeingCool and myself in the number of posts posted on this Forum ?
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Re: Reading War and Peace

Post by zontar »

Glad tidings that yew got thru this...but wot did you learn?
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Re: Reading War and Peace

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PaulinLondon wrote: 19 Jun 2017, 23:01 I am concerned about this thread.

Well done to the author of this thread for finishing this epic novel but why was the author also reading and posting about other books, at the same time, in the "Last Book Read" thread ?

Was this thread part of an attempt to overtake Alias, Gizzard, ThrubeingCool and myself in the number of posts posted on this Forum ?
An average amount of reading for that period of time for me, ta. I get bored with just one book. Besides I wasn't going to drag War and Peace around and I don't like to leave home without a book.

Have we met? Signed "the author".
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Re: Reading War and Peace

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zontar wrote: 19 Jun 2017, 23:18 Glad tidings that yew got thru this...but wot did you learn?
Excellent question.

I learnt that boring threads are useful motivators.

I learnt to take off my glasses after reading because I feel seasick if I walk around wearing them.

I learnt that if I ever invade Russia and make it to Moscow I should maintain and defend that position and not go wandering off with my troops.

I have subsequently learnt the longest book I have read to date still remains as Vikram Seth's A Suitable Boy (word count 593,674 and eight months of lunchtime reading).

I also note that it is not yet July.
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Re: Reading War and Peace

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PaulinLondon wrote: 19 Jun 2017, 23:01

Was this thread part of an attempt to overtake Alias, Gizzard, ThrubeingCool and myself in the number of posts posted on this Forum ?
An oversight, didn't answer this part.

There are easier ways of racking up posts :roll:
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