War and Peace Vol. 2 (Dole Translation)
Date: September 2016
Duration: 16 hours 4 minutes
I am inclined to rank Count Tolstoy not among the realists or naturalists, but rather as an impressionist. He is often careless about accuracy. Numberless incongruities can be pointed out. He is as willing to adopt an anachronism as a medieval painter. I would defy an historian to reconstruct the battle of Austerlitz from Count Tolstoy's description. And yet what a picture of a battle was ever more vivid! It is like a painting where the general impression is true, but a close analysis discovers nothing but contradictory lines!
What a succession -- a kaleidoscopic succession of life-views, he gives in "War and Peace!" One follows the other without confusion, naturally, with entrancing interest. "The court and camp, town and country, nobles and peasants, -- all are sketched in with the same broad and sure outline. We pass at a leap from a soiree to a battle-field, from a mud hovel to a palace, from an idyl to a saturnalia. As we summon our recollections of the prodigal outpouring of a careless genius, a troop of characters as lifelike as any in Scott or in Shakespeare, defile before our mental eye. Tolstoy finds endless opportunities of inculcating his favorite themes: -- the mastery of circumstance over will and desire, the weakness of man in the front of things, and the necessity for resignation." (from the Preface by N.H. Dole)