TOLSTOY, Leo (1828-1910). Tysiacha vosem'sot piatyi god [The Year One Thousand Eight Hundred and Five]. Moscow: by M.N. Katkov at the University Press, 1866.
The rare first edition, with the original wrappers, of the first two parts of War and Peace – the first version of the opening of 'the most important work in the whole of Russian realistic fiction' (Mirsky, p.271). Dostoevsky described War and Peace as a 'majestic historical novel [...] it reeks of the Russian soul" (quoted in Frank); Turgenev, whose quarrel with Tolstoy almost led to a duel, conceded: 'nothing better has been written by anyone in Russia, and probably nothing so good has ever been written' (quoted in Tolstoy). One of 500 copies only. RBH and ABPC record only one copy having been offered at auction (sold, Sotheby's, 26 May 1983, lot 267, without the wrappers). WorldCat locates just three copies outside of Russia: at the British Library, at the National Diet Library, Tokyo, and the Kilgour copy at Harvard. The text was serialised in Russkii vestnik in 1865 and 1866; Tolstoy, made substantial changes to these two parts for the first edition of War and Peace published in 1868. Frank, Dostoevsky, The Miraculous Years, 1865-1871, p.279; Kilgour 1194 (without the wrappers); Martin, 'The Original War and Peace', in Caxtonian vol. 20, no.7 (July 2012), pp.1-5; Tolstoy, Alexandra, Tolstoy, a Life of my Father (New York: 1953), p.179.
Two parts in one volume, octavo (208 x 135mm). With both half-titles (light marginal spotting; small abrasion affecting a few letters in the last leaf where the rear wrapper adhered.) Later black half cloth with the original blue paper wrappers bound-in (front wrapper repaired in the inside margin; some soiling).