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War and Peace (Russian: Война и мир, Voyna i mir) is a novel by Leo Tolstoy, published in 1869, after portions of a previous version were serialized from 1865-1867 in Russkiy Vestnik (Russian: Русский Вестник, Russian Messenger). It chronicles the epic story of the War of 1812, of the events leading up to it and the reactions of five major aristocratic families within Russian society during the Napoleonic Era. War and Peace, along with Anna Karenina, is usually described as one of Tolstoy's two major masterpieces, as well as one of the world's greatest novels.
War and Peace stretched the boundaries of Russian fiction and world literature. It has a huge cast of characters and many far-reaching themes, including the philosophy of history, the place of the individual in history; youth vs. age and death; love and marriage; and the pros and cons of acting in conventional ways. It broke so many previous conventions of the novel that Tolstoy, who called it an historical novel when working on it, said later that "it was not a novel, even less is it a poem, and still less an historical chronicle.""It is all that, and more", says writer-critic Francine Prose. Tolstoy himself eventually came to consider his later Anna Karenina (1878) his first attempt at a novel in the European sense, considering War and Peace an epic in prose.