Considered one of the best books ever written, "War and Peace" has remained in the upper echelon of world literature because it masterfully captures an intimate view of humanity on an epic scale. Through the use of fictional narrative, Tolstoy utilizes a huge cast of characters, centering on five aristocratic Russian families in 1805, during the Napoleonic Wars.
These characters, particularly Pierre, Prince Andrei, and the beautiful Natasha, demonstrate different human struggles that are affected by their history, present era, and culture. They simultaneously develop the concepts on which Tolstoy expounds in the thematic essays interspersed throughout the narrative: a person's free will and the shaping of historical events, morality in an imperfect world, youth and age, marriage and death, and, of course, war and peace, in a work so groundbreaking that it was not considered a novel when published in 1865.
In redefining the fictional novel, Tolstoy's genius has explored what is fundamentally human with scope and Russian spirit.
About the Author
Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy (Russian: Лев Никола́евич Толсто́й, pronounced [lʲef nʲɪkɐˈlaɪvʲɪt͡ɕ tɐlˈstoj] ( listen); 9 September [O.S. 28 August] 1828 – 20 November [O.S. 7 November] 1910), also known as Leo Tolstoy, was a Russian writer, philosopher and political thinker who primarily wrote novels and short stories. Tolstoy was a master of realistic fiction and is widely considered one of the greatest novelists of all time. He is best known for two long novels, War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1877).
Tolstoy first achieved literary acclaim in his 20s with his semi-autobiographical trilogy of novels, Childhood, Boyhood, and Youth (1852–1856) and Sevastopol Sketches (1855), based on his experiences in the Crimean War. His fiction output also includes two additional novels, dozens of short stories, and several famous novellas, including The Death of Ivan Ilyich, Family Happiness, and Hadji Murad. Later in life, he also wrote plays and essays.
Tolstoy is equally known for his complicated and paradoxical persona and for his extreme moralistic and ascetic views, which he adopted after a moral crisis and spiritual awakening in the 1870s, after which he also became noted as a moral thinker, social reformer, and Georgist. His literal interpretation of the ethical teachings of Jesus, centering on the Sermon on the Mount, caused him in later life to become a fervent Christian anarchist and anarcho-pacifist. His ideas on nonviolent resistance, expressed in such works as The Kingdom of God Is Within You, were to have a profound impact on such pivotal twentieth-century figures as Mohandas Gandhi,Martin Luther King, Jr., and James Bevel.
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