Monday, January 3, 2011

French kissing, yes....lotsa French language in a novel, NO!

I went into reading this chunkster absolutely blind.  Ok, maybe not completely, I did read a little bit of the intro but I never looked at chapter 1. I got to about page 50 of the Pevear and Volokhonsky translation of War and Peace last night, and the one semester of French I took in college, oh so many moons ago, is not helping. <insert a giggle and a snort> It's also not helping that all of the French is footnoted and I am reading the book on the Nook. This book is not e-Reader friendly at all. There are footnotes every few lines in the first 20 or so pages -don't remember exactly-so it's not like I can easily flip to the back of the book to look them up. 

Sigh. What to do? 

I was considering purchasing the same volume in hardback, but when I went to look "inside the book" at Amazon, it directed me to the Modern Library version.  Okaaaay.  Actually, I like Modern Library books so I decided to read a little bit of it and guess what, no French! Yay! I can understand the translators wanting to keep the French intact but it really was a hindrance to me, so I think I will have to spring for this translation, otherwise I might never get through it. 


  1. Hey Edie! Wow, 50 pages! Good for you!

    I do think a hard copy might be handy in these cases. I was reading Jane Eyre and there were footnotes for all the French in it--very handy. Much better than endnotes. It was the Norton Critical Edition, so I recommend that edition of War & Peace if you do choose to get a hard copy. Plus, you get some great essays at the end of it and some historical context.

  2. I just posted on my experience with the first volume. The French was so frutrating! I get the point of keeping it in, but really?

  3. I agree, I'm reading along on Kindle for iPad, I got the Cambridge World Classics edition, the translation by Louise and Aylmer Maude, I think for free (?) which is so far a decent translation, and has French "footnotes" (which do appear in the middle of nowhere in the text - lol). I think a hard copy would be easier, but can't dig mine out at the moment! Perhaps a different translation would suit? Good luck!