War and Peace [Before Tilsit, The Invasion and The French at …

TOLSTOI, Count Lyof [Leo TOLSTOY]. War and Peace [Before Tilsit, The Invasion and The French at Moscow].

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TOLSTOI, Count Lyof [Leo TOLSTOY] War and Peace [Before Tilsit, The Invasion and The French at Moscow] London: Vizetelly & Co., 1886.

8vo., 3 vols; original publisher's blue cloth, lettered in black and red; lined in black, ditto to spine (now faded across all three volumes); publisher's device in blind to lower board; pp. [v], iv-vii, [ii], 10-429, [i]; [v], 6-360, [32, ads.]; [v], 6-387, [v, ads.]; p. 91 misnumbered 19 in vol III; all boards rather scuffed, nicked and dirtied all over, the writing lost from the spine; corners and spine tips compressed; some minor splitting to the boards, now expertly repaired; and a few small stains; internally remarkably clean, slight lean to the text block, and a couple of small spots and patches of browning the only defects; certainly rare in the original binding.
First UK translation of Tolstoy's epic work, which was originally published in English in America earlier in the year. While this Vizetelly edition was originally throught to be the first English translation, it was later discovered that the Gottsberger set was released in January, and this in October. Because the Vizetelly edition was pirated from the U.S sheets, the translation omits several philosophical passages and a second epilogue.
War and Peace can deservingly be credited with the mantle of being one of the true classics of world literature. Dismayed to find that few written records covered the domestic aspects of Russian life during the time of Napolean, it was this Tolstoy was trying to rectify in the early drafts of the novel, and it was during the writing of the second half that he became strongly influenced by Schopenhauer.
Tolstoy claimed of his finest literary achievement that it is "not a novel, even less is it a poem, and still less a historical chronicle". Large sections, especially the later chapters, are comprised of philosophical discussions over and above narrative. Instead, he regarded Anna Karenina as his first true novel.
Enthusiam for Russian novels was far greater in America than England towards the end of the 19th century. By the 1870s, there were probably three times as many American as British translations. Because of this, the English edition is far more scarce than the U.S. counterpart, especially so thus, in the publisher's cloth.