Sunday, January 22, 2012

War and Peace

It took me about one and a half months to read War and Peace. Tolstoy's magnum opus, first published in the 1860s,  has been acclaimed as one of the greatest novels ever written, though the popular perception is that it is a very difficult book to finish reading. The length of the novel is clearly a huge barrier to reading it, though unfamiliarity with the historical context adds to the difficulties.
To appreciate the book fully, it is useful to recall the historical context. The story is set in the early nineteenth century, spanning the period from 1805 to 1820. Its main characters all come from the Russian nobility, and the narrative arc follows their fortunes, set against the backdrop of the tumultuous events surrounding Napoleon's invasion of Russia.

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