Is War and Peace really that long?

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Not only is Tolstoy's War and Peace one of the longest novels ever written, it must surely have been one of the novels most thoroughly revised in manuscript form before publication. According to William L. Shirer in his biography of Tolstoy and his wife, Love and Hatred: The Troubled Marriage...

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Not only is Tolstoy's War and Peace one of the longest novels ever written, it must surely have been one of the novels most thoroughly revised in manuscript form before publication. According to William L. Shirer in his biography of Tolstoy and his wife, Love and Hatred: The Troubled Marriage of Leo and Sonya Tolstoy (1994):

Just making clean copies of Tolstoy’s manuscript was a considerable job in itself. Apparently no one else in the house could make out his almost illegible handwriting. And making one clean copy was never enough, for Tolstoy would rewrite it and hand it back to her for copying again. Sonya once said she had copied the novel seven times. Since it runs to 1,453 printed pages in my edition, that means that her fair copy came to at least 3,000 manuscript pages. So she must have written down in her own careful handwriting 21,000 pages. And this does not include countless pages that Tolstoy, as his daughter Tanya noted, threw away.



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