Tolstoy and the Genesis of 'War and Peace'

Tolstoy and the Genesis of "War and Peace"

Kathryn B. Feuer
Edited by Robin Feuer Miller, Donna Tussing Orwin
Winner of a 1998 Special Award "For an Edition of a 'Lost' Book (American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages)

"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 Knowledge

Kathryn 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 She follows the novel through countless drafts and notes, illuminating its connection to earlier, unpublished, novels and to crucial new sources, both European and Russian.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.