January 15, 2016

War, Peace and Cable


War, Peace and Cable

NEWS FLASH! It turns out Lady Rose Aldridge (of Downton Abbey, really, did I really need to tell you that?) is not in America, but Russia – yes, Lady Rose is actually Natasha Rostova (which may or may not be the same thing as Cinderella). 

That's just one tidbit related to the fact that, on January 18, a new BBC six-part miniseries of Lev Tolstoy's War and Peace comes to American television. 

Here's some stuff to help you get ready.

First, watch the trailer.

Second, where can you watch this? Well, if you are in the UK, on the BBC of course (where it started last week), or on BBC.com (which you may also be able to do if you have a VPN). You can also buy the download, which may or may not play outside the UK.

If you are in the US, it will be showing on A&E, Lifetime and the History Channel, as four, two-hour episodes. (It appears that streaming may be available at this link.)

Third, how should you prepare? Well, first remember that this is just a movie, not the book. Just sit back and enjoy it as an interpretive work for a different medium.

If you want to go getting all high-horse anyway, you can read or re-read the book and prep yourself to say pompous things like, "well, Andrei really never said that..." or "that's not how I imagined the ball, based on Tolstoy's description..." 

Both the Anthony Briggs (Penguin) and Pevear and Volokhonsky translations are highly acclaimed. Constance Garnett's is also very nice, and it was done closer to the original, and Garnett knew Tolstoy.

If a 1200-page novel is a bit much to take on right now, you can also go the SparkNotes or Cliffs Notes route. Still too much? There may be no hope for you. Ok, ok, here is a 186-word version from the Independent. And The Standard put out this nice "Everything You Ever Wanted To Know... summary.

Fourth, what should you eat while watching this? Russian food, of course. Turn to our cookbook, A Taste of Russia to find something that sets your tastebuds a-watering and get cooking!

More?

  • In its run-up to the series, the BBC put together this listicle of 10 things you must know.
  • The sounds of War and Peace in 2 minutes. Thanks for that, Jay-Z.
  • 12 reasons to love War and Peace.
  • Get the soundtrack from the Academy Award-winning Russian version of the novel.
  • A music playlist of songs with a connection to the novel, assembled by the BBC.

Enjoy! And be sure to share your comments about the series on our Facebook page, or via the comments box below.

You Might Also Like

War and Peace: 7 Fun Facts
  • July 01, 2015

War and Peace: 7 Fun Facts

How many characters are in Tolstoy's War and Peace? Could it have been any shorter? Did Tolstoy himself love it or hate it? Find out the answers to these – and more! – questions in this quick list of little-known War and Peace facts.
Like this post? Get a weekly email digest + member-only deals

Some of Our Books

93 Untranslatable Russian Words

93 Untranslatable Russian Words

Every language has concepts, ideas, words and idioms that are nearly impossible to translate into another language. This book looks at nearly 100 such Russian words and offers paths to their understanding and translation by way of examples from literature and everyday life. Difficult to translate words and concepts are introduced with dictionary definitions, then elucidated with citations from literature, speech and prose, helping the student of Russian comprehend the word/concept in context.
The Little Humpbacked Horse (bilingual)

The Little Humpbacked Horse (bilingual)

A beloved Russian classic about a resourceful Russian peasant, Vanya, and his miracle-working horse, who together undergo various trials, exploits and adventures at the whim of a laughable tsar, told in rich, narrative poetry.
Maria's War: A Soldier's Autobiography

Maria's War: A Soldier's Autobiography

This astonishingly gripping autobiography by the founder of the Russian Women’s Death Battallion in World War I is an eye-opening documentary of life before, during and after the Bolshevik Revolution.
Fish: A History of One Migration

Fish: A History of One Migration

This mesmerizing novel from one of Russia’s most important modern authors traces the life journey of a selfless Russian everywoman. In the wake of the Soviet breakup, inexorable forces drag Vera across the breadth of the Russian empire. Facing a relentless onslaught of human and social trials, she swims against the current of life, countering adversity and pain with compassion and hope, in many ways personifying Mother Russia’s torment and resilience amid the Soviet disintegration.
Tolstoy Bilingual

Tolstoy Bilingual

This compact, yet surprisingly broad look at the life and work of Tolstoy spans from one of his earliest stories to one of his last, looking at works that made him famous and others that made him notorious. 
The Little Golden Calf

The Little Golden Calf

Our edition of The Little Golden Calf, one of the greatest Russian satires ever, is the first new translation of this classic novel in nearly fifty years. It is also the first unabridged, uncensored English translation ever, and is 100% true to the original 1931 serial publication in the Russian journal 30 Dnei. Anne O. Fisher’s translation is copiously annotated, and includes an introduction by Alexandra Ilf, the daughter of one of the book’s two co-authors.
Murder and the Muse

Murder and the Muse

KGB Chief Andropov has tapped Matyushkin to solve a brazen jewel heist from Picasso’s wife at the posh Metropole Hotel. But when the case bleeds over into murder, machinations, and international intrigue, not everyone is eager to see where the clues might lead.
The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas

The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas

This exciting new trilogy by a Russian author – who has been compared to Orhan Pamuk and Umberto Eco – vividly recreates a lost world, yet its passions and characters are entirely relevant to the present day. Full of mystery, memorable characters, and non-stop adventure, The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas is a must read for lovers of historical fiction and international thrillers.  
Davai! The Russians and Their Vodka

Davai! The Russians and Their Vodka

In this comprehensive, quixotic and addictive book, Edwin Trommelen explores all facets of the Russian obsession with vodka. Peering chiefly through the lenses of history and literature, Trommelen offers up an appropriately complex, rich and bittersweet portrait, based on great respect for Russian culture.
Woe From Wit (bilingual)

Woe From Wit (bilingual)

One of the most famous works of Russian literature, the four-act comedy in verse Woe from Wit skewers staid, nineteenth century Russian society, and it positively teems with “winged phrases” that are essential colloquialisms for students of Russian and Russian culture.

About Us

Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.

Latest Posts

Our Contacts

Russian Life
73 Main Street, Suite 402
Montpelier VT 05602

802-223-4955