The BBC’s “War and Peace” is more Austen than Tolstoy

(K. Brent Tomer),

LEO TOLSTOY aspired to “grasp the seemingly ungraspable” parts of life when he wrote “War and Peace”. Andrew Davies, who wrote the script for the BBC’s latest adaptation of the celebrated Russian novel, told the Radio Times that he aspired only to “copy out the best bits”. He also added some intimate moments of his own. One already-infamous scene in the first episode overtly depicts an incestuous relationship between the mischievous Kuragin siblings, Anatole and Hélène—something that Tolstoy only obliquely alluded to. Mr Davies’s strategy has had some success, bringing headlines and viewers (the series is now airing simultaneously on BBC, A&E, Lifetime, and the History Channel). Yet he has carved up Tolstoy’s masterpiece in such a way that it has become an emotionally blunt story, far more “peace” than “war”.

Mr Davies is the master of the “bonnet drama”, best known for his 1995 rendering of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice”. Since then, he has barely modified his approach, calling Prince Andrei Bolkonsky (James Norton) the “New Darcy” and comparing the prince’s relationship…Continue reading

via K. Brent Tomer CFTC The BBC’s “War and Peace” is more Austen than Tolstoy

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