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War and Peace

Have decided to read War and Peace.

No not really, I’m going to cheat.

Categories: General
  1. December 29, 2015 at 5:46 pm

    Good idea!

  2. December 29, 2015 at 8:00 pm

    I read W&P when I was 19, shortly before I left the UK to go and fight on the losing side on the war of independence in Rhodesia. I was recovering from an operation at the time. Having just finished a very unremarkable scholastic career, I was very keen to better myself and so it was almost a personal challenge for me to read it all the way through. I read the book in two parts, translated by different people. What I found particularly interesting was the two very different styles of writing between book one and book two. I hasten to add that this was probably the influence of the translators rather than Tolstoy. But while I loved the style of the first, the second seemed insipid and dull. I do not recall who the translators were, but in the first book Andrei was Andrei; in the second, he was Andrew. I think that says it all, Probably the second was an American dumbing-down exercise. Possibly though, the author ran out of inspiration or story line, as the climax was somewhat anticlimactic. So maybe that was after all, the fault of Tolstoy. But it was worth reading

    I also enjoyed Anna Karenina, which I read 10 years later, but as with W&P, no cinematic version can ever be worth watching. As for Andrew Davies, he destroyed Bleak House, to my mind one of the greatest books to come out of England (apart from the spontaneous combustion episode).

    Davies is an arrogant prick and his work should be avoided at all costs.

    The Brothers Karamazov is obviously one of the greats of Russian writing, and it really is worth reading. Crime and Punishment, was perhaps less inspiring. The Idiot, equally so. But all are excellent and better than most modern trash.

    As for Proust, he sounds too pretentious for me. Next you will be having a go at Ulysses, surely the pinnacle or pretentious twaddle.

  3. December 29, 2015 at 11:12 pm

    Funnily enough I did read Ulysses a long time ago and my memory of it accords with your opinion.

  4. December 30, 2015 at 3:33 am

    Sipu: I’ve learnt from experience to avoid buying books from US sellers. Americans often heavily edit books for the US market. Even books originally written in English, be it in the United Kingdom or Australia, are thoroughly Americanised. It’s really too much to bear as the Americans have enough literary accomplishments of their own. Agreed on “Ulysses” — Joyce is one of the most over-rated writers.

  5. December 30, 2015 at 8:34 am

    The Irish seem to equate incomprehensibility with talent. 😱

  6. Boadicea
    December 30, 2015 at 11:54 am

    I started to read W&P and gave up. I think the only Russian author I have read is Sholokhov. I was about twelve and probably missed most of the really important bits! To be honest, I’ve never wanted my reading to be a ‘chore’. if I have to agonise over the text – I’m not interested – say what you mean and be done with it!

    Janus, I tried Ulysses – and thoroughly agree with your verdict.

    As for Film Producers who rewrite books, because “they know better” – I’d ban them for ever going into a studio ever again…

  7. christinaosborne
    December 30, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    My first husband was a rampant socialist. Net result I read most of this literature before my mid 20s.
    Try existentialist stuff such as Kafka, try Metamorphosis, most troubling. I love the Castle, reminds me of all European civil services!
    I actually liked Zola, read all the Germinal series.
    Interesting to note how many angst ridden continental authors were Jewish! Never quite knew if that was relevant or not to their literature.
    All makes the Russian bunch look quite normal, merely utterly depressive
    I have to admit to owning a lot of them.

    I is interesting to read the older Russian authors and then Solzhenitsyn.

  8. December 30, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    CO: there is a subset of Jews, mostly militantly secular and de-cultured, who one can expect little useful from. Marx was among them.

  9. christinaosborne
    December 30, 2015 at 6:34 pm

    Christopher, most of whom appear very confused from their writings!
    Has your uninvited guest turned up as yet?

  10. December 30, 2015 at 6:53 pm

    Tina: he is currently standing 4 feet away having arrived 2 weeks ago.

  11. O Zangado
    January 1, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    Picking up on a couple of comments above, may I share with M’learned colleagues probably the best Irish joke I ever heard.

    “Now den, Paddy”, says the construction boss, “Dat concludes the interview for the foreman’s job, but dere’s one more technical question. What’s the difference between a joist and a girder?”

    “Oh, dat’s easy”, says Paddy, “Joyce wrote Ulysses and Goethe wrote Faust.”

    Baboom, tish!. Oh, is that my taxi?


  12. January 1, 2016 at 5:51 pm

    OZ, it was his mate, Seamus, at one of the regular pub quizzes, who was quick to answer when asked, ‘What were Gandhi’s first names?’

    ‘Would it be Goosey Goosey, surr?’

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