Study Guide

War and Peace Criticism

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Much of the earliest critical reaction to War and Peace focused on how well Tolstoy had accurately portrayed historical events in Russia. Although Tolstoy took great pains to research the historical documents, he did not feel obliged to stick firmly to the common historical interpretations. Still, since many critics had lived through the events described, while many others had grown up hearing about them, it was difficult for critics to not talk about how Tolstoy's version related to their own. In general, they found the novel to be quite accurate.

Some critics took exception with the way that Tolstoy had presented the military commanders as less instrumental in the outcome of the war. At the other extreme were those critics who faulted Tolstoy for failing to improve the social consciousness of the time. Edward Wasiolek explains that radical critic Dmitry Pisarev commented that the first half of the...

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This section contains 637 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the War and Peace Study Guide
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War and Peace from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.