Today sees the start of a magnificent year-long reading journey: the #WarAndPeace2022 Readalong.
His feelings were those of a man who has found the beginnings of a long-sought happiness.Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace, Vol 1, Part 2, Ch 9, Trans A Briggs
I have long wished to read this epic masterwork but it had always seemed too daunting. Having discovered in 2021 the delightful concept of reading great classics of literature a chapter a day, I know that this is the year when I will finally achieve my goal of reading what some describe as not only Tolstoy’s finest work, but one of the finest in the whole of global literature.
I’ll be reading the translation by Anthony Briggs, published by Penguin Classics. Briggs has also written a short biography of Tolstoy as part of the Hesperus Press ‘Brief Lives’ series, in which he belies the misconception “that War and Peace is, as described by Henry James, a ‘large, loose, baggy monster.'” Briggs exclaims “It is nothing of the kind. The novel has been scrupulously arranged into a series of tiny units which are then assembled into larger sections, and these are thematically coherent and distinctive… Its basic unit is a very short chapter [which means that] the reader never feels lost or in any danger of being swamped….About one-third of the subject matter is war, and, while the shadow of warfare is never far away, a good two-thirds are devoted to peaceful activities.”
So if War and Peace is a novel that you too have always wanted to read, but have never felt quite able to do so, then why not plunge in and read along with me, Becky and Elisabeth, together with a host of other lovely reading friends.
Pierre was beginning to sense this quickening source of all bliss welling up within him and flooding his soul with joyous emotion.Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace, Vol 2, Part 2, Ch 3, Trans A Briggs
I’ll be posting a ‘quote of the week’, picking my favourite lines from the previous seven chapters, each Wednesday on Twitter (@LizzieHumphreys) and Instagram (@LizzieHumphreys101). I’ll also be aiming to publish a short post on this blog at the end of each Part. We’d love to hear your thoughts, impressions, ideas for further discussion etc. So feel free to comment on any of the War and Peace pages here on my blog, and/or on social media. Please remember to use #WarAndPeace2022 when you do, so that we can find your post and respond.
“All great literature is one of two stories; a man goes on a journey or a stranger comes to town.”Leo Tolstoy
Which of these two stories will War and Peace turn out to be? We are about to find out……