Well, it’s all hotting up. I have two volunteers now to try reading War and Peace in a year . . . what will the rest of the week bring?
The only thing I’ll comment on at this stage is that some people have been asking me if there’s any particular version they should be reading.
The main thing to avoid is getting an abridged version. Generally, you can tell if you’ve got an abridged version straight away, because it will cut out the last twelve chapters of the epilogue (which are all philosophical, not fictional). While it’s not essential to have this, the problem is I don’t know how many other chapters in the middle of an abridged version would be likely to be cut as well, so I wouldn’t read one.
Actually, why do publishers abridge classic novels? . . . I’ve never gotten the point of that. If they think it’s because we’re not likely to like a classic book if it’s unabridged . . . well, why are we going to like it if it’s abridged?
Hmm . . .
Anyway, back to War and Peace. If you don’t have a copy, I’d recommend that you pick up the Wordsworth Classics edition, which you can get at a lot of bookstores in Australia (especially those bargain basement type ones) for only $5.95. Yes, that’s right – less than $6 bucks, and you can have yourself a whole copy of War and Peace. The translation that Wordsworth puts out is an old one by Louise and Alymer Maude. It was the one I originally read (back when it was even more of a bargain at $4.95), and I got sucked right into it, so I think it’s a pretty good translation.
I might try a different one this time around, but the Wordsworth cheapo Maude is the one I’d recommend for beginners. After all, what’s $6? You can’t even rent a new release DVD for that much – and for that price, you can own yourself a brand new copy of War and Peace.
So, do we have three more takers? (Granted, if somebody – like my sister – actually goes out and buys herself a copy, I’d feel obligated to begin it anyway – but let’s see if we can get us some more readers . . .)