If you would like a free copy of Anthony Briggs’ 2005 translation of War and Peace (Penguin), e-mail me at the address at the bottom of this post. I’ll deliver it on a “first-come, first-serve” basis. While I was weeding my books, I discovered five copies of War and Peace. Isn’t that embarrassing? This beautiful Penguin Deluxe Classic is in pristine condition and has numerous attractive features, including maps, notes, and an introduction by Orlando Figes.
Although the Briggs translation got mixed reviews, largely because the soldiers’ dialogue is translated into Cockney, several bloggers loved it.
Doing a quick run-down on the net, I discovered a laudation by Robin McCormack at My Two Blessings. Robin McCormack says:
“I just finished reading “War and Peace” and just have to say — Wow! What a ride! When I started reading the book, I had never read anything by Leo Tolstoy, nor did I have any preconceived ideas about the story. From the very beginning I was captured and couldn’t put the book down. I started it on Saturday, March 21st at 8:10 p.m (Father made me write it down) and finished it this morning at 8:53 a.m. I would have finished it last night, but the Epilogue was blowing my mind and I decided to read it while my brain was fresh.
“The Anthony Briggs translation stays faithful to the original Russian but takes out all the thee’s, thou’s and thy’s for easier reading. Also included is a list of characters in the back of the book you can refer to, because there are many, many characters and if you don’t pay close attention, it is easy to get them confused.”
A writer at The London Times ran a fascinating column on his reluctance to read literature in translation, “How to Cheat at Reading War and Peace, complete with e-mail suggestions by Anthony Briggs.
Briggs himself says in “On Translating War and Peace” (in the back of the Penguin): “Language changes and, without worshiping modernity for its own sake, publishers recognize the need to accommodate new readers by using phrasing more closely attuned to their way of speaking.”
If you want it, e-mail me at: email@example.com