25 July 07 | E.J. Van Lanen

Both Ecco and Knopf have competing new editions of Tolstoy’s War & Peace coming out this fall. Knopf’s version is the canonical version, while Ecco’s version is what they’re calling the ‘original version’:

...it’s an English translation—the first, incidentally—of Tolstoy’s first version of W&P, which was published in Russia in 2000. Tolstoy later returned to this “draft” to add philosophical and historical asides that would ultimately double the book’s length and turn it into the rendition readers know today.

Were I to read W&P again, I’d probably return to the canonical version (I loved the philosophical asides), rather than read a different version or ‘first draft’ of the novel. Ecco’s version seems more like something academics would want to read, although I assume people who study this sort of thing read the Russian version that came out in 2000.

It’ll be nice if they get some attention for their books, but it would be nicer if they were spending all of this effort (and cash) on publishing something new.


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