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Note to self: Read War and Peace

Cyrus, I would say when you do, read it to enjoy it, not to accomplish it, if you understand my meaning. It's a great story.

“Prince Andrei thought of the insignificance of greatness, the unimportance of life, which no one could understand, and of the still greater unimportance of death, the meaning of which no living person could understand and explain.”

Speaking of heroes I have been watching the series called Hitler’s bodyguard on TV. Germans lined the streets just to get a look at their hero parade by as he conquered country after country with little resistance. They have no idea as they adore their hero that they are going to experience within a few short years bombs reigning down upon them and most of their cities in ruins.

They interviewed one German woman and she stated that when the Russians were able to take the war inside Germany the Russians soldiers hunted them down like rabbits. I wondered to myself if this woman was one of those women or men that lined the streets to get a look at and adore their hero. A man called Hitler.

My research indicates that greatness on earth seldom translates into greatness in these other realms of existence. It appears that many of earth’s values are in direct contrast to spiritual values. Maybe my point is we might want to be careful whom we make our heroes.

Now from my point of view it is not the unimportance of life, as I believe life experiences are very important; it is the attachment to life that is unimportant. Without those important experiences in life how could we possibly know the unimportance of life? Was that a paradox?

“Temporal life is food for the true life.” (THE GOSPEL IN BRIEF)

If temporal life is food for real life than can we say life is unimportant?

Excellent selection, MP. Many years since reading the book, but your excerpt tempts me to wade back in to that Volga of a novel, that I could again enjoy those poetic moments such as the above. As a twenty-something in the initial encounter, I was more happy with completing that literary marathon than with the subtleties and nuances Tolstoy displayed. Sadly, my stack of yet-to-be-read books is already in danger of toppling, forcing me to move forward. Pity. I wonder how the years would change my responses to the book. I'm forced once again to confront my personal definition of Time: "that which I have too little of".

I long ago concluded that I didn't want to accomplish War and Peace. This excerpt leads me to believe I'd be wise to reconsider.

Thanks for this, MP.

For those who are considering reading War and Peace, I'd recommend the Ann Dunnigan translation (quoted above) over the more familiar Constance Barnett translation. Dunnigan's version is more contemporary and, I think, easier to read.

I'm no War and Peace expert, though. I'm reading the book for the first time, and am only about a quarter of the way through. (It's 1500 pages long.) I started with the Barnett translation but switched over to Dunnigan and have not regretted it.

I've seen the Henry Fonda movie, which most likely doesn't come close to being honest to the book. I'll put it down on my list of things to read once I retire. Like The Three Musketeers, Moby Dick and now this one.

Like The Three Musketeers, Moby Dick and now this one.

So far I'm liking War and Peace a lot better than Moby-Dick.

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