Tolstoy and the Genesis of War and Peace

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Cornell University Press, Jan 10, 2008 - Literary Criticism - 295 pages
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"The best thing ever done on how Tolstoy wrote War and Peace. Feuer shows us an incredible complexity in terms of the creative process. You see the seams and joints in the novel."—Gary Saul Morson, Northwestern University"In 1963, Kathryn B. Feuer had access to the manuscripts of the drafts for the novel, almost 4,000 pages. At Tolstoy's home, she concentrated on a dozen books that related to his earlier conceptions of War and Peace. She was indefatigable, with every detail at her fingertips, and she could express fine perceptions with something of the lucidity and measure of her admired Jane Austen. . . . Her daughter and Donna Tussing Orwin completed their task of editing in such a way that the book everywhere shows that concern with thoroughly tested evidence that above all makes it a landmark in Tolstoy studies."—Times Literary Supplement"The effectiveness of Feuer's account of the creation of War and Peace results from her remarkably cogent and uncluttered reading of the drafts and revisions that inform the description of Tolstoy's creative process. Tolstoy and the Genesis of 'War and Peace' is destined to remain a classic on the subject."—Slavic Review"Young novelists who listen to their creative writing teachers would be better served reading Feuer's brilliant study of the creation of War and Peace."—Common KnowledgeKathryn B. Feuer offers remarkable insights into Leo Tolstoy's creative process while he wrote War and Peace. She follows the novel through countless drafts and notes, illuminating its connection to earlier, unpublished, novels and to crucial new sources, both European and Russian. A novelist herself, Feuer explores the problems of character development, narrative voice, genre, and structure that Tolstoy ultimately resolved so brilliantly.

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Tolstoy and the genesis of "War and Peace"

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In 1963, Feuer, who died in 1992, was one of a handful of American scholars permitted for extended periods in the Soviet Union on cultural exchange. In this scholarly work (originally her 1965 ... Read full review


The Literary Matrix of War and Peace
The Distant Field
The Novel of 1812
The Transition to 1805
The Opening Pages of War and Peace
The Transition from the Early Manuscripts to Book I Part 1
Tolstoys Rejection of the Spirit of 1856
Napoleonism Decembrism and the Spirit of 1856
Ideological Influences on the Genesis of War and Peace
Napoleon as a Symbol of Revolution in the Political
Note on Critical Backgrounds

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About the author (2008)

The late Kathryn B. Feuer taught at the University of Toronto, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Virginia.

Robin Feuer Miller is Edytha Macy Gross Professor of Humanities at Brandeis University. She is the author most recently of Dostoevsky's Unfinished Journey.

Donna Tussing Orwin is Professor of Russian Literature at the University of Toronto. She is the author most recently of Consequences of Consciousness.

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