Jackets Off: “War and Peace” by Leo Tolstoy

Tolstoy’s epic novel, written between 1863 and 1869 - often regarded as his best work - and published episodically in Russkij Vestnik, is renowned throughout the world for its place in both literature and history. Combining philosophical discussion with narrative form, Tolstoy uses five interlocking storylines following different Russian aristocratic families to illustrate Napoleon’s impact on Tsarist society.  The novel questions the meaning of existence in a world made intolerable by war.
How is it possible to represent all this in the form of a book jacket? 
This examination of contemporary editions of the novel, all published after 2000, provides a brief glimpse into the hundreds of interpretations, and captures some recurring themes. Several versions focus on Napoleon, especially in the many paintings depicting him during the Russian campaign and beyond. Some dwell on costume details, the women and men of Russian aristocracy. Others move away from naturalistic representation and capture the "background noise," a chandelier in a ballroom swaying between music and cannon fire, the empty furnishings of an audience that is no longer there. Some follow the Napoleonic campaign between the battles of Austerlitz and Borodino, sketching anonymous and stylised profiles of men in arms and arms without men. Others use a graphical interpretation only, considering the work in its absolute form as an unrepresentable masterpiece.