Comte Léon Tolstoï. La Guerre et la Paix. Roman historique traduit avec l’autorisation de l’auteur par une russe. Paris, Hachette et Cie [Saint-Pétersbourg Imprimerie Trenké & Fusnot], 1879. 3 parts in 3 volumes in-8°. 530 pp.; 450,  pp.; 468 pp. Brown contemporary half-shagreen , back with 5 false bands, author, title and part numbers in gold, stained edges. (slipcase by Devauchelle, unsigned).
Very rare original edition of the first french translation for which it was not printed in large paper, imprimée à Saint-Pétersbourg dans la traduction française de la princesse Irène Ivanovna Paskevitch, born Vorontsov-Dachkov ( “par une Russe” on the title).
Only 500 copies were sent to France and marketed by Hachette, as Turgenev wrote in a letter to Tolstoy dated 12 January 1880. Vicaire describes the edition of 1885 giving it as the first edition.
“The greatest work of Russian literature and one of the most important of universal literature. Indeed, russian life is described in such a complete way and placed on a plane of such high humanity that this novel can be considered one of the most beautiful monuments of European civilization.. In the background of the great historical events of the beginning of the 19 th this book retraces the adventures of two families belonging to the Russian nobility, Bolkonsky and Rostov. This novel is, somehow, the chronicle of the two families. The importance of La Guerre et la Paix not only is the size of the frame and the breadth of the artist’s vision, but also by what some have called the “moral element” and others the “philosophical element”. The universal element, it is the philosophy of history specific to Tolstoy. According to him, it is neither the spirit of penetration of generals and leaders nor the tactics of the staffs that must be considered as the decisive factors in major historical events ; it’s the spirit of the popular masses, the willpower of pure souls, united in a common effort. On the other hand, the author is convinced that this philosophy finds its best expression in the Russian popular soul. La Guerre et la Paix ranks among the epic works, closest to theIliade than to all the works of modern European literature” (Dictionnaire des Œuvres).
” You have to read “La Guerre et la Paix” by Léon Tolstoï. It’s one of my bedside books., I come back during the holiday leisure, in the countryside, every year. I was looking to get this rare book. It had been out of print for a long time and publishers were hesitant to redo the costs of publishing a three-volume translation. Yet they decided to. The book was as successful as we know. It was bought as a new gospel ” (Excerpt from a letter from Alphonse Daudet addressed to the critic Hugues Le Roux in 1882).
Vicaire, Manuel de l’amateur de livres du XIXe siècle, VII, 850 ; V. Boutchik, Bibliographie des œuvres littéraires russes traduites en français, p. 133.
Skillful restored on the back.
Rare copy, contemporary bound , in an elegant slipcase.