Off topic: English translation of War and Peace
Thread poster: SST

SST  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:19
English to Ukrainian
+ ...
May 22, 2004


a friend of mine has asked me if I could recommend him a classic (good) English translation of War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy.

I wonder if you could help me out and tell me the name of the translator/the year the book was published.

The search in Google will return many results, but I don't know which translation is considered the best, if there have ever been discussions about this matter.

Thank you!


Roomy Naqvy  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:19
English to Hindi
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Tolstoy's War and Peace May 22, 2004

I don't know which translation is the 'best' but I grew up reading the Constance Garnett translations of Tolstoy. I do remember however the Progress Publishers, Moscow, translations too of Dostoyevsky. I believe that Constance Garnett would be a major name in Russian to English translation the same way as Gregory Rabassa would be a 'star' translator of Gabriel Garcia Marquez.



R Farhat  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:49
Member (2004)
English to Arabic
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Suggestion May 22, 2004

You might find this link helpful

some available e-texts links at


SST  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:19
English to Ukrainian
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Thank you! May 22, 2004

Thank you, Roomy!


chica nueva
Local time: 05:49
Chinese to English
penguin classics ? May 22, 2004

No idea really, but I guess the Penguin Classics/Popular Classics would be a fairly good start I have the Rosemary Edmonds translation. The Maude one seems to be a more recent one. A good bookshop in Australia may be able to advise, then perhaps it could be a matter of your friend's personal preference taking the style and translator's foreword into account...

Translator: Rosemary Edmonds, 1957, latest edition 1982

Translators: Louise Maude, Aylmer Maude

Here are some notes on Rosemary Edmonds:

'Rosemary Edmonds was born in London and studied English, Russian, French, Italian and Old Church Slavonic at universities in England, France and Italy. During the war she was translator to General de Gaulle at Fighting France Headquarters in London and, after the liberation, in Paris. She went on to study Russian Orthodox Spirituality, and has translated Archimandrite Sophrony's 'The Undistorted Image'. She has also translated Tolstoy's 'Anna Karenina', 'The Cossacks', 'Resurrection and Childhood', 'Boyhood and Youth'; 'The Queen of Spades' by Pushkin; and Turgenev's 'Father and Sons', all for the Penguin Classics. Her other translations include works by Gogol and Leskov.' (from Leo Tolstoy, 'War and Peace',Penguin, translated and with an introduction by Rosemary Edmonds)

The Maudes have also had translations of a number of Tolstoy's works published.


Lesley Clarke  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:49
Spanish to English
I second Penguin Classics May 23, 2004

I'm afraid I haven't read War and Peace, mea culpa, but I did read all of Dostoyevsky in Penguin Classics and I remember that I couldn't help being amazed at the quality of the language, it might as well have been written originally in English.


SST  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:19
English to Ukrainian
+ ...
Penguin Classics May 23, 2004

Thank you to everyone who has shared their opinion with me.

My friend will buy the Penguin translation soon (he already has the Maude one).

I find it difficult to decide which one I like more as English is my second language, and I don't *feel* it as I feel Russian, so your opinions are really valuable to me.

Thanks again.


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English translation of War and Peace

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