Study Guide

War and Peace Essay

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In the following excerpt, Fadiman describes Tolstoy's writing as lacking in artistic style, suspense, and originality but also as clear, good, and able to express the ordinary and real.

In a way writing about War and Peace is a self-defeating activity. Criticism in our day has become largely the making of finer and finer discriminations. But War and Peace does not lend itself to such an exercise. If you say the book is about the effect of the Napoleonic Wars on a certain group of Russians, most of them aristocrats, you are not telling an untruth But you are not telling the truth either. Its subject has been variously described—even Tolstoy tried his hand at the job— but none of the descriptions leaves one satisfied

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You can't even call the book a historical novel. It describes events that are part of history, but to say that it...

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This section contains 1,047 words
(approx. 3 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.
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