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War and PeaceWar and Peace is famously long for a novel (though not the longest by any means). It is subdivided into four books or volumes, each with subparts containing many chapters.
Tolstoy got the title, and some of his themes, from an 1861 work of Proudhon: La Guerre et la Paix. Tolstoy had served in the Crimean War and written a series of short stories and novellas featuring scenes of war. He began writing War and Peace in the year that he finally married and settled down at his country estate. During the writing of the second half of the book, after the first half had already been written under the name "1805", he read widely, acknowledging Schopenhauer as one of his main inspirations, although he developed his own views of history and the role of the individual within it.
The novel can be generally classified as historical fiction. It contains elements present in many types of popular 18th and 19th century literature, especially the romance novel. War and Peace attains its literary status by transcending genres. Tolstoy was instrumental in bringing a new kind of consciousness to the novel. His narrative structure is noted for its "god-like" ability to hover over and within events, but also swiftly and seamlessly to take a particular character's point of view. His use of visual detail is often cinematic in its scope, using the literary equivalents of panning, wide shots and close-ups, to give dramatic interest to battles and ballrooms alike. These devices, while not exclusive to Tolstoy, are part of the new novel that arose in the mid-19th century and of which Tolstoy proves himself a master.