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Recommended translation of War and Peace?

(9 Posts)
fluffiphlox Fri 16-Sep-16 15:50:34

Just that really. I don't normally like reading in translation and if I speak/know the language will read in the original if I feel the need but I have no Russian. I believe there are a dozen translations. Any thoughts?

highlandcoo Fri 16-Sep-16 19:25:27

I recently read the Peaver/Volokhonsky translation. The quote from The Times on the front cover says something like : "This translation will show that you don't read War and Peace, you live it". Reviews of it do generally seem to be good.

I thought it was excellent. The first (and only other) time I read War and Peace was 40 years ago. I know I found it hard going, and although I was only 16 at the time and persevered out of pride as much as anything, I also suspect that the translation in that version wasn't half as good.

fluffiphlox Fri 16-Sep-16 19:32:32

Ah. I've seen the P and V one recommended. So thank you. We're a similar age too. I usually can't stop reading a book once I've started so wanted it to be a good experience. I struggled through Barnaby Rudge recently. Not one of Dickens' finest but had a bit of a take on how the vulnerable can be sucked into political causes.

highlandcoo Fri 16-Sep-16 20:46:14

I've read quite a few Dickens novels but not Barnaby Rudge. My favourite is Our Mutual Friend, also Great Expectations. David Copperfield and Oliver Twist were fine. Less keen on The Old Curiosity Shop, and I can't recall much about Bleak House which I plodded through during my final year at school.
Which languages do you read in OP? I have read short modern novels in French - Jean de Florette and similar - but although I like Zola, for example, the thought of tackling something like Germinal in French is pretty daunting.

tapismagique Fri 16-Sep-16 20:53:49

I love Barnaby Rudge. All those night time treks from Epping forest to Clerkenwell! As for War & Peace, I would not recommend the Anthony Briggs (penguin classics) translation - it really diminished my enjoyment, sort of clunky & snobby

fluffiphlox Sat 17-Sep-16 13:08:32

Just reread my rather poncey OP which makes me sound as if I'm a polyglot who is rarely seen without some foreign text in her hand. So to answer your question highlandcoo I read any French novel in French but could read German and Italian with a dictionary. I suppose what I was trying to say was that I tend to avoid translations if I can but that would mean cutting out a lot of literature. We've just watched the BBC adaptation of W&P which we recorded months ago and it piqued my interest.

SatsukiKusakabe Sat 17-Sep-16 14:51:52

Pevear Volokhonsky here too. Beautifully written and accessible. I chose it because I had read Anna Karenina by the same translators and couldn't fault it. (I have no Russian, either, but like well written English!) I looked that it kept the French in the text and didn't Anglicise the names of characters.

I've linked to this article before it is quite interesting on the various translations.

I have never been all that keen on Dickens, but loved A Tale of Two Cities, and also think. Bleak House, Great Expectations and David Copperfield are good reads. If you view Bleak House as an early mystery/detective novel it opens it up a bit, I find.

SatsukiKusakabe Sat 17-Sep-16 14:53:43

Incidentally, I thought the BBC adaptation quite good in general, the treatment of the character and story of Pierre was faithfully done, despite the inherent restrictions of a TV series (good have done with a couple more episodes)

MitzyLeFrouf Tue 20-Sep-16 13:25:16

I was just about to start the Anthony Briggs translation and now I'm having second thoughts!

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