Article published on April 19, 2016.
In light of the recent email debate on nudge as to the merits of The Godfather trilogy between Mike Stafford, Guy Pringle and myself, I looked back at your introductory article, Sheila. I knew I had read somewhere on the nudge site the title ‘War and Peace’, and lo, there it sat. Guy asked the question about whether or not books make good films and I have to say that this book came to mind almost straight away.
Reading it like yourself I have struggled with the book, well not exactly struggled, more a confused plight of name remembering. I got through it though. It was a 1950s hardback copy from which the front cover eventually parted company. I now have a paperback edition that cuts into the thumb base supremely well.
I was wondering if you would care to comment on the book at all, or more to the point, have you seen any of the films or television serials of the book? Did the celluloid versions cater for your enjoyment, or otherwise, that sort of thing. If time is difficult, then it is of no importance, but I hoped another debate on the nudge site might serve us all well.
I witnessed a condensed film of War and Peace with Henry Fonda in it many years ago, I cannot hand on heart recall much of it these days, but after physically getting through the book, I was able, with the help of my wife, who works in our local library, to get a succession of V.H.S. tapes of the Anthony Hopkins’ television adaptation from way back. I would admit that they filled in a few gaps in my understanding and memory of events in the book, much the same as filmic versions of some Shakespeare’s plays can help.
I admit quite freely that War and Peace can get extremely bogged down with detail, but it is astonishingly well written; I toiled for days to read it, almost as a personal challenge. I got there eventually, and about two/three years ago, I read the paperback publication. A great story but hell on the hands and digits. (I have been known to wear gloves when the going gets sore.) I am amazed at just how many different characters haunt the pages, it must number hundreds I should imagine.
Reg Seward (Book Chap)
April 19, 2016
And Sheila’s reply will appear on 20th April!
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