Monday, February 26, 2007

The Tolstoy highlight reel

  • Newly unearthed: Tolstoy's first draft of War and Peace, 600 pages shorter and with a different ending.
I don't think this is heresy or anything -- the complete version stands a good chance of sticking around. This edition will be an interesting read, but a first draft is still a first draft...
What is being billed as Tolstoy's "original version" is to be published - some 600 pages lighter, with the removal of Tolstoy's philosophical musings and the prospect of a happy ending. Not everyone, however, is pleased. Academics fear many will be tempted to settle for what they regard as an unfinished version.

The new book was the life's work of Russian scholar Evelina Zaidenshnur, who for 50 years pored over thousands of pages to assemble Tolstoy's first draft, matching different inks, changes in handwriting and types of paper to piece together the author's earliest version.

That work, originally intended for circulation among fellow scholars, is to be published by Fourth Estate in April in an English translation by Andrew Bromfield. War and Peace: The Original Version, weighs in at a relatively svelte 900 pages.

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