I’ve been wanting to read ‘War and Peace’ ever since I finished ‘Anna Karenina’ and I think that the time has come.
The ‘War and Peace’ read-along at Reading in Bed begins in July
Here are my thoughts about the ‘before we begin’ type questions:
Have you read (or attempted) War and Peace?
I looked at this read-along – a chapter a day for the whole year – back in January. The idea was lovely but I realised quite early on that the pacing too slow for me and I drifted away.
What edition and translation are you reading?
I have two and I’m really not sure which one I’m going to read.
On one hand I have the Louise and Aylmer Maude translation in a lovely old Macmillan edition, with maps for endpapers and headings at the top of each page.
When I auditioned translations of ‘Anna Karenina’ theirs was my favourite by far, I love that they knew Tolstoy, and what I’ve read of their translation of ‘War and Peace’ feels right.
On the other hand I have the Anthony Briggs translation in a recent Penguin edition.
It’s wonderfully readable, I’d be less worried about wear and tear with a newer, more replaceable edition, I like what he has to say is his translator’s note. But it feels a little less Russian, a little less of the period than the Maudes.
I’m going to read a little more of each translation, and then I’ll make a decision and stick to it.
How much do you know about War and Peace (plot, characters, etc)?
I watched the most recent BBC adaptation. That’s given me an idea of the characters and the story arc, but I know that there is going to be much more to the book.
How are you preparing (watching adaptations, background reading, etc.)?
I don’t want to over-think this, so I’ve just read the introductory material and the translator’s notes from my two edition.
What do you hope to get out of reading War and Peace?
I hope to enjoy spending time with the characters in their world. And to be able to say that I’ve read it!
What are you intimidated by?
Just the sheer scale of the thing.
Do you think it’s okay to skip the ‘war’ parts?
I have no plans to – the ‘war’ parts are a large and significant part of the book.
I’ve come across the Napoleonic War in books before, I’m interested in seeing it from a different perspective. So I have no plans to skip it though I suspect that – as when I read ‘Vanity Fair’ – I might be wishing that Jonathan Strange might appear to help move things along ….
And that’s it!
Any advice would, as always, be gratefully received!