War and Peace Reading Group

In 2017 we were reading Volume 3 and met, remotely, on 31 July.


In 2016 we read Volume 2 and met at the Institute for the weekend 9 – 10 July for a response, a kind of Anna Pavlovna soiree, with food and vodka.

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We missed Natasha.

War and Peace 1 War and Peace 3
War and Peace 4 War and Peace 2

In 2014 there were 14 of us. In 2015 there were 11 of us. We have finished Volume 1 and have written responses ranging from letters and haikus to commissioned artworks and videos films. One reader sound recorded the whole reading of Volume 1. Here are some visual responses to Volume 1.

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In 2014 14 copies of Tolstoy’s War and Peace were posted to 14 potential readers and performers.

This is about reading the next four years away. The mass slaughter of millions, otherwise known as World War I, is upon us. Let’s act.

If you fancy joining the group, send us an email!

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This is what we sent out on the day, a hundred years ago, Gavrilo shot Franz.

This is a present for you.

The Institute for the Art and Practice of Dissent at Home

Invite you to read and perform War and Peace. It will take us four years to read it. At the end of those four years we will perform it together. This book is addressed to you as of 28th June 2014. You might want to start the reading on 29th July 2014. You will be invited to respond to Volume 1 on the 25th April 2015 either in person or by letter. By 1st July 2016 you will have read Volume 2 and will be given and opportunity to record your thoughts on it at a meeting we will organise. 31st July 2017 will see you engage with Volume 3. By 11th November 2018 you will have participated in the creation of a performance about War and Peace together with the Institute and the other 14 members of this group.

There is no need to respond at the moment. It is up to you to accept this present or cross your name out and pass it onto someone else, or reject it completely. The Institute will be in touch with you again in the spring of 2015.

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Context from the Institute:

We sat together in a theatre in Everton, Liverpool about a year ago and listened to Johan Galtung (founder of peace studies) talk about his 60 years’ experience in peace movements and conflict resolution. We were quite impressed. Before he finished he made a casual remark. He said:

‘If you want to know anything about this field just read Tolstoy’s War and Peace.’