Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace is one of the most beloved works of literature and largely considered the author’s best work, closely followed by Anna Karenina.
The 19th century Russian novel explores the French invasion of Russia during the napoleonic wars and its subsequent spiritual, emotional, and physical effects on the various classes of Russian society during the time. Tolstoy’s historical perspective, memorable characters, and powerful language has cemented War and Peace as one of the most memorable and important literary works. Long after readers have put the novel down, the story has stayed with them, largely due to Tolstoy’s powerful and memorable lines. Here are 8 lines in War and Peace that took our breath away:
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Whether you’re a true romantic at heart or the world’s biggest cynic, there are those truly romantic lines in fiction and poetry that we can’t help but smile at every now and then as we sift through the pages of a good read.
Writers know how to pick just the right words and phrases that tug our heart strings.
Here are twelve beautiful romantic lines from poetry and fiction that made us feel things:
We are all fans of a fun fact. Humans are curious creatures, always on the hunt for new information that will benefit us or inspire us in some way, and a solid fact never goes unappreciated.
For example, don’t you feel more in tune with the world knowing that the first person to order a pizza for delivery was Margherita Savoy, Queen of Italy in 1889? That’s 128 years of sweet, sweet pizza loving around the world, people. Or how about knowing that over 1.3 million Earths could fit into the sun, or that sharks are older than trees clocking in at 400 million years of swimming our oceans?
My personal favourite new fact is that if too many pistachios are shipped in a single container, they will self-heat and experience spontaneous combustion. Yes, wacky facts about the potentiality of a nut exploding may only stay lodged in our memory for a day or two but the following pieces of literary information may be more useful to you bookworms in the long run; here goes:
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Fun Fact #1
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Where the Wild Things Are was originally titled Where the Wild Horses Are, and Maurice Sendak would have written about horses, however the author and illustrator soon realised he was crap at drawing them and thought it better to draw ‘things’ instead; ergo, one of the most unforgettable children’s stories of all time was born.
Fun Fact #2
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The first edition of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was published in 1964 and was thought to be racist by many critics, with some arguing the opposite, insisting it was written to be an anti-racist novel. First of all, Dahl’s Oompa-Loompas were originally described as “black pygmies” from “the very deepest and darkest part of the African jungle where no white man had gone before.” They were quickly rewritten to be from “Loompaland” and appeared to have “rosy-white skin” and “golden-brown hair”.
On another note, critics insist that the first edition had the chance to be a really powerful racial allegory, as Dahl wanted Charlie Bucket to be a black child, caught in a chocolate mould that factory owner Willie Wonka helped him into. Charlie was to get trapped and nearly drown in the chocolate which was to be poured over him, eventually hardening, causing him great pain. Sources say that Dahl wanted the mould to be a metaphor for racial stereotype, as in the early twentieth century, chocolate marketing in both the US and England was tied up in imperialist fantasies and in connecting brown skin with brown chocolate.
Fun Fact #3
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Charles Dickens was a little bit of an eccentric. Growing up in London during the nineteenth century meant he was surrounded by such grim realities as working class life expectancy being twenty-two-years-old, half a million Londoners suffering and dying from typhus due to the lack of sanitation, 220 crimes being punishable by death and in 1839, when Dickens had reached the age of 27, nearly half of the funerals in London were being held for children under the age of ten, most of whom had full time jobs as laborers.
With a reality as cut throat as this, Londoners were surely grappling with a lot of fear and hardship. Dickens is known to have been a big practitioner of hypnotism (A.K.A. mesmerism to the Victorians) and the supernatural. He was a member of ‘The Ghost Club’. He also had a set of funny ideas such as sleeping facing north would help improve his writing and he regularly touched things three times for luck.
Cute Fact #4
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John Steinbeck’s original manuscript for Of Mice and Men met an interesting fate by being eaten by his pupper fluff Toby. Steinbeck said of the loss of his work to his agent, Elizabeth Otis,
My setter pup, left alone one night, made confetti of about half of my manuscript…. I was pretty mad but the poor little fellow may have been acting critically. I didn’t want to ruin a good dog for a [manuscript] I’m not sure is good at all.
What a nice dude and a dog lover taking his pups actions in his stride.
Fun Fact #5
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Gabriel García Marquez refuses to allow One Hundred Years of Solitude to be made into a film. Universally hailed as a major work of literature about the history of isolated town Macon and the Buendías family who founded it, no film has ever been made of the book, as the author declined every invitation to sign away the film rights. The first film adaptation of one of his novels came in 2007 when the English director Mike Newell made Love in the Time of Cholera. Friends claimed Márquez only agreed to the deal because he had been diagnosed with cancer and was concerned about the future of his family. However, as it stands today, the author deems One Hundred Years of Solitude “unfilmable” unless the the film includes the entire book, only releasing one chapter – two minutes long – each year, for 100 years. Sheeeeesh.
Fun Fact #6
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Don Quixote is the best-selling novel of all time with over 500 million copies sold. Miguel de Cervantes’ novel, about a man who becomes so infatuated with tales of knights that he decides to become one, is the novel which gave us the idiom- “tilting at Windmills” to indicate a noble but futile endeavor. Quixote’s misadventures as he travels across the Spanish countryside seeking wrongs to right and downtrodden peoples to uplift have amused generations of readers since it was published in 1612. Don Quixote is considered one of the first novels ever written, too.
Slightly Fun Fact #7
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Pride and Prejudice was originally titled First Impressions. Yep, the title was chosen due to a branding strategy that was sure to boost sales with publishers going for an “if-you-liked-that-you’ll-also-love-this” approach. Jane Austen’s blockbuster sales of Sense and Sensibility encouraged this name change by sticking to the noun-and-noun formula to ca$h in those book sales.
Fun Fact #8
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Catch-22 is hailed a cornerstone of American literature and is one of the funniest-and most celebrated books of all time, and it only took Joseph Heller 8 years to complete it. It is an anti-war novel and a general critique of bureaucracy set in Italy during WWII. If bombardier Yossarian excuse himself from the perilous missions he and his army are assigned, he’ll be in violation of a catch-22, a sinister yet hilarious bureaucratic rule: a man is considered insane if he willingly continues to fly dangerous combat missions, but is he makes a formal request to be removed from duty, he is proven sane and therefore ineligible to be relieved of his duties. Certainly has himself in a pickle.
Funnest Fact #9
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Bill Gates brought Codex Leicester, one of Leonardo Da Vinci’s scientific journals for $30.8 million at Christie’s New York back in 1994. The sale currently holds the record for the second highest sale price of any book ever. Bill Gates is known to be an avid reader, with a personal collection of rare books hand selected by his professional book dealer. Codex Leicester is a collection of scientific journals, the most famous of all of the thirty journals Da Vinci kept and it is an exceptional illustration of the link between art and science and the creativity of the scientific process.
In the age of 140 characters or less, there is still something to be said for reading a novel that is truly, deeply, maddeningly long. And if you think 1,000+ pages isn’t that much, you’re probably living on another plane of existence and should not stoop to the level of mere mortals such as ourselves. Happy reading.
Early 19th century Russia? Check. Napoleonic aggression? Check. Messy families and passionate romance? Check! If you’re ready for it, War and Peace will give you the ride of your life through the expanse of history and the overbearing weight of humanity.
Most people would not consider the exploits of a tennis-playing dysfunctional family worthy of 1,088 pages, but most people aren’t the late great David Foster Wallace. Like other authors on this list, Wallace is quite fond of footnotes. Hey, life in the margins doesn’t have to be gloomy!
Ah, the glory days of 1862, when novelists weren’t constrained by little things like “plot” or “editing” when crafting their masterpieces. Much like Tolstoy, Hugo devotes space not only to the many storylines of his downtrodden characters, but to essays deconstructing the nature of heady topics like poverty and the French political system.
The collapse of human civilization may be a bummer, but reading about it doesn’t have to be. With 99% of humanity gone, the traumatized survivors must limp on in the shadow of unspeakable evil. Reading 1,153 pages suddenly doesn’t seem so bad after all, doesn’t it?
While the Russian aristocrats in War and Peace sip champagne and fall in love to the tune of Napoleon’s invasion, their counterparts in Great Britain prepare to fight the French menace with actual, honest-to-God magic. Here’s hoping no one takes it too far…
Set in newly independent India, A Suitable Boy follows a young girl and her mother as they attempt to see their very own marriage plot through amid the deep loves and tragedies of a handful of ordinary families trying to make their name in the brave new country.
Considered by some to be the first novel ever written, The Tale of Genji portrays the soap opera-like existence of the Japanese aristocrats in the 11th century. Shikibu herself was a Japanese aristocrat in the 11th century, so you know it’s legit.
Book titles are important: along with the cover, they’re one of the first things we notice when we pick up a novel. We’ve grown so used to some famous book titles that we barely think about them anymore. Of course The Great Gatsby is called The Great Gatsby; why wouldn’t it be?
But the truth is, it almost wasn’t. And F. Scott Fitzgerald isn’t the only literary figure who switched up a famous title at the last minute. Here are 10 incredible examples of famous book titles that were almost completely different.
Which number followed the “Catch-” in Catch-22 was debated by Heller and his publisher for a while. Heller considered 11 and 18 first, but they were discarded to avoid confusion with the film Ocean’s Eleven (the original 1960 version) and Leon Uris’Mila 18, respectively. 22 was eventually picked simply because it was 11 (Heller’s original choice) doubled.
We gave this one away in the introduction, but how crazy is it that Fitzgerald’s greatest work was almost called something else? In fact, Fitzgerald was considering several different titles, including Among Ash-Heaps and Millionaires; Gold-Hatted Gatsby; On the Road to West Egg; Trimalchio in West Egg; Under the Red, White, and Blue; and our personal favorite, The High-Bouncing Lover.
Rowling’s debut already had a title in the United Kingdom, of course, where it was known as Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. But her publisher, convinced that an American audience wouldn’t know what the Philosopher’s Stone was, wanted to change the title to something more accessible. According to Philip W. Errington’sbook on Rowling’s work, the publisher wanted Harry Potter and the School of Magic. That was lame, and Rowling knew it: she insisted on something more specific, and the “Sorcerer’s Stone” was born.
Harper Lee made a lot of changes as she worked on her famous novel (the recently published Go Set a Watchman is essentially a very early permutation of the work.) At some point, her working title was Atticus. It changed to To Kill a Mockingbird as Lee expanded the novel and made it less about Atticus Finch.
John Steinbeck wasn’t originally going to call his brief classic Of Mice and Men. Instead, he was going to go with Something That Happened. Maybe he thought the original title gave away too much of the plot?
Orwell’s original title was The Last Man in Europe, but his publisher thought 1984 was catchier. Orwell was a serial title changer: he also dropped the subtitle from his classic Animal Farm, which was originally going to be Animal Farm: A Fairy Story. He also considered A Satire and A Contemporary Satire as titles for Animal Farm, both of which seem rather obvious.
Jane Austen’s original title for Pride and Prejudice was First Impressions. Not bad, but it doesn’t quite have the melodic ring that the famous chosen title has. Plus, it doesn’t pair nearly as neatly with Sense and Sensibility.
Hemingway’s original title for The Sun Also Rises was Fiesta. That would certainly have given the cover a bit of a different tone! We can see why Fiesta would have been appropriate, but we think everyone’s glad that Hemingway stepped it up a bit in the title department.
Tolstoy’s magnum opus is a powerful volume, but we don’t think it would have been quite as powerful if Tolstoy had gone with the original idea for the title. Tolstoy’s original title translated to “All’s Well That Ends Well,” which doesn’t quite do justice to his epic novel. The chosen title, War and Peace, was a real upgrade.