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April 01 , 2008

War and Peace


The most famous—and perhaps greatest—novel of all time, Tolstoy’s War and Peace tells the story of five families struggling for survival during Napoleon’s invasion of Russia.  Among its many unforgettable characters is Prince Andrey Bolkonsky, a proud, dashing man who, despising the artifice of high society, joins the army to achieve glory. Badly wounded at Austerlitz, he begins to discover the emptiness of everything to which he has devoted himself. His death scene is considered one of the greatest passages in Russian literature.  The novel's other hero, the bumbling Pierre Bezukhov, tries to find meaning in life through a series of philosophical systems that promise to resolve all questions. He at last discovers the Tolstoyan truth that wisdom is to be found not in systems but in the ordinary processes of daily life, especially in his marriage to the novel's most memorable heroine, Natasha.

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The artistic work of Leo Tolstoy has been described as "nothing less than one tremendous diary kept for over fifty years." This particular "diary" begins with Tolstoy's first published work,CHILDHOOD, which was written when he was only 23. A semi-autobiographical work, it recounts two days in the childhood of…

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