Thursday, July 26, 2007

Two More Translations of War and Peace Coming This Fall

Just what the world needs, two more translations of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace! According to Publishers Weekly (PW) there are already at least a dozen English translations, and “Just last year, Viking published a translation by Anthony Briggs that PW called ‘the most readable version on the market.’" Now Ecco (Harper Collins) will publish a version coming out September 4 and Knopf (Random House) will publish another one coming out October 16.

Why add two more to the confusing list of tomes? Says PW, “Ecco is calling its edition, translated by Andrew Bromfield, War and Peace: Original Version. It is essentially Tolstoy's first draft. Knopf contends that Ecco’s version is not the finished classic readers know. Ecco maintains its edition is more reader-friendly than Knopf's, translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, because it is shorter and more ‘narrative.’"

Really now, how can one choose a version to read? That's just too many choices without an educated speculation or someone's highly educated recommendation. I wouldn't know which to read, which represents a lot of pages to get bogged down in if I've made a poor choice. What's the value in adding two more volumes? Anyone knowledgeable enough about these two authors to know what they add to the story that already exists on War and Peace?

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