The latest Oxford World Classics W&P, translated by Louise and Aylmer Maude, revised and edited by Amy Mandelker
A recent Vintage W&P translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky
jottings in Tolstoy’s diary for 1865: 29 September, “reading Trollope, good if there weren’t so much diffuseness”; 30 September, “Trollope good”; 1 October, “Bertrams, capital”; 3 October, “finished Trollope, too conventional” (XLVIII, 63-64) — from N. John Hall
Dear friends and reades,
We are on Trollope19thCStudies are about to embark on a summer-long reading and discussion of Tolstoy’s War and Peace, and I write this blog to invite those who might want to, to join in. The venue, or social platform as they now say, is a Yahoo listserv. We are a list who regard Anthony Trollope as our chief star or author, and every other book we read is by or about him. This is our third summer devoted to a long masterpiece by another 19th century fiction writer.
How do we go about it? While we are a old listserv and have become very relaxed of late years, so don’t practice summaries or synopses of each chapter and are informal about chapters for the week, we do have a sort of calendar. We try not to have too many or too few pages over a week, and for War and Peace we thought we’d start at 5-6 chapters a week (announced briefly sometime each Friday for the week starting the following Sunday). As we have done for a long book, if the group posting finds we are going too slow, we up the number of chapters, and if we find the chapters are in fact much longer in reading than we thought, we decrease the number. We are trying not to make work for ourselves, and follow what rhythms emerge that fit in to people’s schedules and are fun, not an extra burden.
So we’ll start on July 17th, Part 1, Book 1, Chapters 1-5 or 6, and see how it goes.
We also use the time of the reading journey together to talk (post) about books or essays about the author or book, and I try to share any readable essays I find from time to time once we really get into the book. I invite others to do likewise. Biographies, lit crit, a year of reading kind of books, e.g.,
If members want, they can read another novel or story or essay by the Tolstoy or a by related contemporary author or artist and post about that too.
1891 painting: Tolstoy in his Study by Ilya Repin
Photograph of Tolstoy late in life
Since this is a translated text for just about all of us, everyone is welcome to read what translation he or she wants, and we really welcome any talk about the differences in the translations into English (or another language if you have read War and Peace in another language). I counted at least six English ones beyond the two pictured above and one below, and I know of one modern French La Guerre et la Paix (available in inexpensive paperback), and an Italian (by A. Polledro). There are at least two unabridged versions read aloud (CDs), one of Constance Garnett, reader David Case (aka Frederick Davidson), two abridged (not so very savagely, reader Edward Petherbridge)
Set of 46 (!) CDS read by Davidson/Case
We are very open to talk about film adaptations, and with this book, there are at least 10! Yahoo permits albums of pictures and I’ve set up a new Trollope (our short name for the list) album so any member of the list can put pictures in and we have one for “War and Peace films,” and I’ve started us off with two from an early BBC mini-series
Anthony Hopkins as the very young Pierre when we first meet him in War and Peace (1972 BBC, Episode 1, script Jack Pulman)
Morag Hood as the even or much younger Natasha (1972, Episode 1)
Frank Middlemass as Kutusov (at Austerlitz, 1972)
Brunn, Austria 1805 (2016, BBC, Episode 2, script Andrew Davies)
Tuppence Middleton as a young Helene with Paul Dano as the young Pierre (Davies adds his own note, and breaks with traditions of images, Episode 1)
I don’t know of any published scripts for the films, though 5 of Davies’s six are available at the Springfield site for TV and film scripts. Otherwise, all I know of is Tom Stoppard’s superb screenplay, Anne Karenina.
All topics having to do with Tolstoy or his wife or the novel’s themes are welcome, any links and parallels with Trollope and Trollope’s art; we just ask that everyone be courteous.
It’s also okay to read and post about any kind of post-text(a general term for all sorts of sequels) you like, say Jay Parini’s The Last Station (and this one has been filmed with Helen Mirren as Sofya and Christopher Plummer as Tolstoy); there is a graphic novel in French:
Rest assured though, our concentration will be on Tolstoy’s War and Peace, probably 5-6 chapters a week, starting July 17th for however long it takes.
Signet text translated by Ann Dunnigan (1440 pages)