04 May 2010

Re-reading war and peace

1. So, there's going to be a bunch of (mainly Orthodox?) bloggers reading and writing about War and Peace( this will include my two favorite blogs Ora et Labora and Logismoi, whose insights are sure to be much more engaging, I suspect, and frequent and grammatically correct, than my own). Since I don’t write a post more than once every couple of months, I certainly don’t count as a blogger, but I’m going to take this opportunity to re-read it in the relatively new Pevear and Volokhonsky translation.

2. I’ve actually written about this novel (if that is, indeed, the book's genre) before on the internet. First, back in my misspent youth, before I had a mortgage or a family, I bought up all the Signet Classic edition War & Peace paperbacks from the local bookstores, and gave them away for free on my (now defunct) blog ‘M. L. Reed.’ I believe I gave away 5 or 6 at least. I’m not sure if any of them actually read it. It was fun though, and the upshot was that I got to write the following limerick in the comments section:
Zero dollars is cheaper than retail,
for a book, if you send your address by email
(Fourteen Hundred Fifty Five Pages
Subsidized by my wages)
And save your money for whiskey and pale ale.

I even considered starting a society called ‘The Count Bezukhov Society’, whose purpose was to “put War and Peace in every hotel in North America.” Never panned out.

3. I re-read War & Peace again (again with the Signet Classic version, translated by Ann Dunnigan) back in 2007. It took me 4 months or so, but I wrote about it on my (now defunct) blog '(Write it!) Like Disaster'here and here. I know it was not very original, but I think the stuff I wrote about the Iliad connection is worth thinking about:
I was reminded again of the similarities between Tolstoy's writing style, especially in the first book, with Homer's (especially the Iliad and I believe someone famous compared the two books before me so this is nothing new, I guess), in his use of long and complex similes which one rarely sees in fiction these days and his use of epithets in describing the character...

4. We’re supposed to start reading the book tomorrow, so I’ll post some of my initial expectations, hopefully, soon.