War and Peace

By Leo Tolstoy
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War and Peace (Russian: Война и мир, Pre-reform Russian: «Война и миръ»), a Russian novel by Leo Tolstoy, is considered one of the greatest works of fiction. It is regarded, along with Anna Karenina (1873–1877), as Leo Tolstoy's finest literary achievement.
Epic in scale, War and Peace delineates in graphic detail events leading up to Napoleon's invasion of Russia, and the impact of the Napoleonic era on Tsarist society, as seen through the eyes of five Russian aristocratic families.
Portions of an earlier version having been serialized in the magazine The Russian Messenger between 1865 and 1867, the novel was first published in its entirety in 1869. Newsweek in 2009 ranked it top of its list of Top 100 Books.
Leo Tolstoy himself, somewhat enigmatically, said of War and Peace that it was "not a novel, even less is it a poem, and still less an historical chronicle."

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy is famously long for a novel (though not the longest by any means). War and Peace is subdivided into four books or volumes, each with subparts containing many chapters.
Leo Tolstoy got the title, and some of his themes, from an 1861 work of Proudhon: La Guerre et la Paix. Leo Tolstoy had served in the Crimean War and written a series of short stories and novellas featuring scenes of war. Leo Tolstoy began writing the novel War and Peace in the year that he finally married and settled down at his country estate. During the writing of the second half of the book, after the first half had already been written under the name "1805", Leo Tolstoy read widely, acknowledging Schopenhauer as one of his main inspirations, although Leo Tolstoy developed his own views of history and the role of the individual within it...

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The novel War and Peace can be generally classified as historical fiction. War and Peace contains elements present in many types of popular 18th and 19th century literature, especially the romance novel. War and Peace attains its literary status by transcending genres. Leo Tolstoy was instrumental in bringing a new kind of consciousness to the novel. His narrative structure is noted for its "god-like" ability to hover over and within events, but also swiftly and seamlessly to take a particular character's point of view. Leo Tolstoy's use of visual detail is often cinematic in its scope, using the literary equivalents of panning, wide shots and close-ups, to give dramatic interest to battles and ballrooms alike. These devices, while not exclusive to Leo Tolstoy, are part of the new novel War and Peace that arose in the mid-19th century and of which Leo Tolstoy proves himself a master... (Summary by Wikipedia)

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