Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Teaser Tuesday: War and Peace by Tolstoy

At the moment I am reading three books. One is For the King by Catherine Delors which I teased from last week. One of the others is Mort by Terry Pratchett which I quoted from quite extensively over the weekend, and that leaves War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy.

I thought I would quote from the book itself, but then I am going to also quote from the introductory notes as well, because I thought there was a very interesting passage there. So I am only about half way through Part 1 at the moment, and I wanted to quote from a section I have read already, so here is my quote from page 60:

Pierre arrived just before dinner and sat awkwardly in the middle of the drawing room, in the first armchair he happened upon, getting in everyone's way. The countess wanted to get him to talk, but he looked around naively through his spectacles, as if searching for someone, and gave monosyllabic answers to all the countess's questions. He was an inconvenience and was the only one not to notice it. The majority of the guests, knowing his story with the bear, looked curiously at this big, fat, and placid man, wondering how such a clumsy and shy fellow could perform such a stunt with a policeman.

The two sentences I wanted to share from the Introduction come from page xiii. It is part of an article that Tolstoy wrote that was originally published in the Russian Archive magazine in 1868 entitled A Few Words Apropos of the Book War and Peace, and is a response to the question "What is War and Peace?"

It is not a novel, still less an epic poem, still less a historical chronicle. War and Peace is what the author wanted and was able to express, in the form in which it is expressed.

I love that second sentence - War and Peace is what the author wanted and was able to express, in the form in which it is expressed. I wonder how many authors can say that these days.

There's every chance that you might see more teasers from this book over the next few weeks.

Teaser Tuesday is host by Miz B at Should Be Reading. Head on over to find out all about it, and how to join in!

41 comments:

  1. Wow Marg, good luck with War and Peace. My sister blogged recently that she has been trying to read it for 18 years (she can take her copy drinking with her now that its over 18).

    Thanks for dropping by my place

    Jacinta

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  2. Great teaser - thanks for sharing. My husband is reading W&P right now and loving it.

    Happy Tuesday

    Hannah

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  3. Wow Marg, you're tackling a big one! I didn't think this was one I'd ever put on my TBR list, but I must say your teaser has intrigued me! Love his comment about the book, too.

    You must put The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie on your list, it was great and I've already pre-ordered the next book in the series!

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  4. Lady Q, I have owned it since it first came out, and it has been beside my bed for the longest time!

    Hannah, so far I am enjoying it too.

    Livemorenow, I would love to see your sister carrying her book in the pub and giving that explanation!

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  5. I love the second teaser! What page are you on now? I'd love to read it one day. War and Peace is huge that it's a challenge itself to read it. I definitely look forward to getting a copy of the book! :)

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  6. Josette, I am up to page 97. 1118 to go!

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  7. Wow you're reading War and Peace - I'm in awe! My teaser is here: http://bookreviews.me.uk/teaser-tuesday-1/

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  8. What a brilliant quote about Tolstoy's intent for the book. That is one of those quote's that quite inspirational.

    And you're much braver than me... I only do silly physical things -like running 10km or climbing halfway up Everest- I think it would take me 5 years to psyche myself up for War and Peace. I'm still psyching myself for Anna Karenina! I'm starting off with Sherlock Holmes and maybe Dracula and then maybe a reread of Jane Eyre...

    See. I'm. A. Chicken!

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  9. ..And there was a FERAL apostrophe in my last post. That's 20 pushups for me!

    My apologies.

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  10. LOL Amanda! I was still trying to catch my breath at the thought of running 10kms to catch your feral apostrophe!

    I read Anna Karenina a number of years ago and I really enjoyed it! As for books I haven't read yet, Jane Austen is on that list. Gasp!!

    And yes, I loved that quote as soon as I read it!

    Kate, we will have to see how we go, but so far it is not a terribly hard read, just long!

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  11. Sounds like a heavy book judging from your teaser. I don't know if I ever gonna read it.

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  12. LOL Novroz! That is one of the lighter moments that is referenced there.

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  13. Great teaser! I haven´t really dared tackle the Russians yet, too intimidating :)
    Here´s mine:
    http://ifyoucanreadthis.wordpress.com/2010/06/22/teaser-tuesday-27/

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  14. Great teasers! Happy reading!

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  15. Yeah good luck with that one!!! My teaser is at The Crowded Leaf.

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  16. wonderful teaser! i really loved war and peace. the story was amazing, the text so rich. i hope you enjoy the rest of it :)

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  17. War and Peace was a book I read a very long time ago (in college, if that gives you an idea!), and I don't remember this particular scene, but it's fabulous.

    Thanks for visiting my blog.

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  18. I bought this book for myself for Christmas after noting that I didn't have a copy of one of the most famous books in history!! I am going to be reading it soon, and I loved your quotes. I do hope that you enjoy it very much!

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  19. I like the image in your teaser but am still not tempted. Just the words "Russian classic" send a chill up my spine. My teaser is from Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs. Happy reading!

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  20. I've been trying to read War and Peace for many, many years now. I usually start it, get about a third of the way through, and then lose all my momentum. That's happened at least three times now. Hope to finish it eventually.
    Excellent teasers! Here's mine.

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  21. One day, I swear, I will read this book. (Or perhaps I should say one year, since that might be how long it will take!)

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  22. Interesting teaser. I hope that your enjoying your book. Here's my teaser.

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  23. Great teaser! I haven't managed to read this one yet.

    My TT is here.

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  24. Amazing classic!

    http://fredasvoice.blogspot.com/2010/06/teaser_22.html

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  25. Nice teaser. You're a far more daring soul than I for tackling this one!
    My post: The Devil Who Tamed Her

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  26. So we're both doing classics. This is on my need-to-get-my-hands-on list.

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  27. W&P really doesn't deserve its difficult reputation. There's a thumping good story in there as well as everything else!

    My teaser's at http://hampshireflyer.wordpress.com/2010/06/22/teaser-tuesday-18/

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  28. i keep meaning to read some classics.
    my teasers are up .
    http://marshalslion.blogspot.com/

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  29. I don't know if I would ever be tempted to read this. Thanks for stopping by.

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  30. That's a classic I haven't read yet. My teaser is from How to Train Your Dragon. Thanks for stopping by.

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  31. Good on you for tackling it - I tried it years ago but couldn't stick with it.

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  32. I only have another 490 pages to go - still slogging away at it but actually I have really been enjoying the book. Great teaser! Have a great week and happy reading. My teaser is here

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  33. Wow...you're quite adventurous to tackle War & Peace. I tried once and then I felt an aneurysm coming on so I stopped, lol. I might try again one day...

    Here is our teaser for today!

    ♥Isalys

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  34. The first time I read this, I was totally too young. I didn't appreciate it until years later. Good choice!

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  35. i congratulate you on your fortitude! i don't think i'll be undertaking this one any time soon. :)

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  36. That is quite possibly the most beautiful cover of War and Peace I have ever seen!

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  37. Michele, did you see the US cover I posted a few days ago. It is red and I thought that was quite nice as well.

    Nat, it's surprising readable, although it is early days yet.

    Lillie, this is my first time reading it. I can imagine though that you would get different things out of it each time you read it. I am contemplating a reread of Anna Karenina though. Reading this one has definitely put me in the mood for more.

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  38. Wow, I'd heard of this book but never read it. Too afraid it might be too difficult. But both the quote and teaser sounds interesting.

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  39. I will have to tackle this one day - what beautiful prose...

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  40. Ah, War and Peace. I really must get around to reading it, LOL. Your teaser makes me think I just might be able to get through it easier than I think. Good teaser!

    Thank you for dropping by mine!

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  41. OMG - You're reading WAR & PEACE! I was just in Barnes & Noble yesterday with the bf and was *thisclose* to purchasing a whole bunch of classics...W&P being one of them. B&N has released a new edition of many classics and the binding is just so beautiful, hardcover antiqued-looking, with gold leaf on the edges of the pages. Then the bf reminded me that we have no more room on our shelves for books, nonetheless really, really BIG books! :)

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