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War and Peace (Oxford World's Classics) New Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 73 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0199232765
ISBN-10: 0199232768
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Editorial Reviews

Review

'there are pages of useful information making this volume the ideal vehicle to introduce the general reader to Tolstoy's epic ... the whole novel is here contained in one single volume ... so well bound that it will lie open at any page - an admirable quality in any book but rare to find in a paperback' Jean Fyfe, Scottish Slavonic Review, No. 20, 1993 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Russian --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford World's Classics
  • Paperback: 1440 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; New edition (November 10, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199232768
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199232765
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 1.8 x 5.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,504 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I started off with Pevear/Volokhonsky translation ("P/V", War and Peace (Vintage Classics)), but midway through also got a Maude translation ("Maude", War and Peace (Oxford World's Classics)), and finished the reading using both. This review addresses specifically these two editions linked here - apparently there are multiple different editions using these same translations.

P/V, I understand, is a recent new translation with an aim to better transfer the original literary tone of Tolstoy's Russian while the Maude is a (the?) classic translation continuously in print for almost a century but revised by Amy Mandelker for the modern audience (how much revision I do not know since I have not read any older Maude edition, but I presume the revisions are carried out conservatively). Both are accompanied with extensive end notes and other supplementary materials to provide contextual information. An interesting thing I noted is that both have the French passages in text with the translation in footnotes, and I understand that it is a P/V innovation that was adopted in the new Maude edition I'm addressing.

I've got Maude because while reading P/V I came across passages that are not merely awkward but incomprehensible despite the copious book-end notes. The Maude reads straight-forward and generally presented me no problem in following the narratives and conversations.

Returning to problematic passages in P/V, I found some of them more lively and direct ONCE I already understood the gist of the passage from the Maude.
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Format: Paperback
I'll admit that I only read this so that I could honestly tell people I've read it. And yet it was extraordinary, the greatest novel I've ever read. As the spotlight reviewer says, it's long because it covers everything. Tolstoy surprises, reassures, and consumes at the turn of every page. He knows me. He knows my life. He knows how I will turn out and how my life will turn out. His characters are all so alive and realistic that when a knock on the door interrupts my reading and I go to answer it, I expect Prince Andrei standing on the other side. You'd think that it would be hard to get into the head of a Russian cavalry lieutenant from two centuries ago - the equivalent of my great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather - via the imagination of a Russian aristocrat who is the equivalent of my great-great-great-grandfather. But no. Tolstoy makes them feel like my friends. He describes war as the utterly confused and perpetually unjust mess that it must surely be (like the WWI poets), and covers so many other themes that it would take a work almost as long as W&P to do them any justice.

Especially when taken with Anna Karenina, which is almost as impressive and somewhat more coherent as a single story, Tolstoy seems more like the omniscient god of mankind's imagination to me than any religious "God" does. Bravo.

PS: The Oxford World Classic edition is great. The translation by Aylmer and Louise Maude was approved by Tolstoy himself and is never stilted - it hasn't even aged greatly. There are a handful of helpful maps, a list of characters, and a timeline. The typeface is easy to read and by no means small. The inner margin is wide, meaning that the words never run too close into the spine, which is itself quite strong.
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Format: Paperback
To have only 1,000 words to describe why I like this book is not nearly enough. I have read this book 6 times and I confess I find something new everytime. I expect I will the next six, or eight or ten times. The story of War and Peace involves a large cast of characters. The ones to keep an eye on are the Bolkonskys (based on Tolstoy's own family), the Rostovs, and Pierre Bezukov. There are also the nasty Kuragins whose presence generally means trouble of one sort or another for one of the other characters.
Tolstoy originally wanted to do a book on the Decemberists, a group of aristocratic Russian rebels who really came of age during the war with Napoleon. However, his novelist's sense told him that it would be a more interesting story if he looked at how the generation of 1812 came to be what they later became.
This book works on different levels. First there is the plot of book which contains some of the most fully realized characters in all of literature.
It is also about Tolstoy's theory of history which is meant to be an answer to Carlyle's "Great Man of History." In Tolstoy's mind, great men of history, with their many concerns are the slave of history. In this book he manages to turn Carlyle on his head.
Finally, this is the great national epic of Russian literature. Considering the competition this is a fairly bold assertion. What Tolstoy is writing about here is how Russia, at least the Frenchified upper class became Russian.
This translation is much superior to the Constance Garnett translation which contains a number of questionable judgements. Ms Garnett single handedly translated most of Russian literature, but some of her translations are a bit of a departure from the original. The Bolkonsky family estate is best rendered in English as "Bald Hills" not "Bleak Hills." The Maud translation is superior in many ways.
Don't just read this book, reread it.
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