War and Peace - Week 1
So, we have reached the end of the first week of reading War and Peace. And I have to say, I am actually enjoying it! I finished the week's reading on Tuesday or Wednesday, and I am actually looking forward to going back to it! Yay! Unfortunately I don't have much time to write a post, so I'm just going to answer the questions kindly provided by Hanna, who is also the lovely host of this readalong. Huzzah!
1) What pre-existing ideas did you have about War & Peace?
That it is LONG. I also thought that a lot of it was based in the country and was mainly about normal everyday people, not the aristocracy. I'm not sure why I thought that though. I don't think I ever really imagined that I would read it, so I never spent much time thinking about it, haha.
2) On that note, is it as bad as you'd expected? :P
Well, I didn't really expect it to be bad! It is as long as I expected, but it is also quite easy to read and interesting. I'm really enjoying it so far!
3) What strategies are you employing?
I'm reading it on my kindle, because I had the whole holding a massive book experience when I was reading Infinite Jest, and it's not something I'm that excited to repeat! So far I have just been reading it when I feel like it, and that really worked for the first week, so I'm just going to carry on doing that!
4) How are you getting along with your translation?
Okay. I am reading the Pevear and Volokhnosky translation, and it doesn't seem to be problematic at all. Apparently it is actually fairly representative of the actual style that Tolstoy wrote in, rather than being changed a lot to read nicely in English, which in theory I approve of, but it's leaving me wondering whether I would prefer a translation where more focus is put on the readability of the English. I think if I enjoy the book enough that I want to re-read it at some point, I might try a different translation to see what the difference is.
The only thing that has really annoyed me so far about the translation is the French bits. I am not annoyed by the French remaining in the text at all (because YAY LANGUAGES!) but the translations (which are in foot notes) only have the translation of the French in. So if you have a character who is speaking a mixture of French and Russian, you have to look back to the original speech and put in the Russian. I'm sure this wouldn't be a problem really with a paper copy, but on the kindle it's irritating (if nothing else, the footnotes box thing covers up the text that the footnote is for quite often!), so I wish that they had left the Russian (translated into English of course, hehe) in there in italics or something. That is literally my only complaint though, and the amount of French seems to be decreasing as I get further into the book so it's only a minor one!
Also, I saw some talk of this on twitter, but if there are two princesses talking, it would help if their actual names were used rather than just princess!! Hehe.
5) Most and least favourite characters?
Just like in real life, it takes me a while to get to know characters well enough to say that I actually like them, so I don't really have any favourite characters yet. I dislike Prince Andrei because he is being a complete arse towards his poor wife, and what's his face and what's her name who were trying to make it so that Pierre wouldn't get his inheritance are quite nasty too! As you can see, I already have a very firm grip on all the character's names.
6) How do you feel about the way women are treated in the book?
Not particularly happy, but I think that it is a product of the time it was written in so I'm trying not to let it get to me! The things that I have read about the book have told me that Pierre is supposed to be the character who sort of represents Tolstoy in the book, and he hasn't been particularly awful to women so far, so I'm choosing to think that Tolstoy was just depicting general social attitudes at the time, rather than agreeing with what his characters are saying.
Alas, that is all that I have time for! As I said, I am really looking forward to getting back into it, so hopefully that is a sign that this will be an enjoyable few months!