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Anna Karenina
     

Anna Karenina

3.7 469
by Leo Tolstoy, John Bayley (Introduction)
 

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"Anna Karenina" ist eine Perfektion . und solche, mit der Nichts Derartiges aus der europäischen Literatur in der gegenwärtigen Epoche sich vergleichen kann, - schrieb Fjodor Dostojewski über den wohl berühmtesten Roman von Leo Tolstoj. Philosophische, ästhetische und ethische Fragen, mit den sich der große russische Schriftsteller

Overview

"Anna Karenina" ist eine Perfektion . und solche, mit der Nichts Derartiges aus der europäischen Literatur in der gegenwärtigen Epoche sich vergleichen kann, - schrieb Fjodor Dostojewski über den wohl berühmtesten Roman von Leo Tolstoj. Philosophische, ästhetische und ethische Fragen, mit den sich der große russische Schriftsteller auseinandergesetzt hat, drückt er in der tragischen Geschichte einer Familie aus. Das heißt: "Alle glücklichen Familien gleichen einander, jede unglückliche Familie ist auf ihre eigene Weise unglücklich." Dieser erste Satz hat sich als "Anna-Karenina-Prinzip" in der Psychologie bewiesen.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“In a novel as good and as spacious as Tolstoy’s all things are possible. It must contain, as it does, the muddle and unpredictability of life, its refusal to supply endings or neat situations. And indeed this is where the greatness of the novel will be found to lie. Of all authors Tolstoy is the one whose art most contradicts his own views, and yet the one whose true personality is most revealed in his art. And what is Anna’s 'true personality'? It remains to the end not an enigma, but a factor and a phenomenon that is infinitely variable, like life itself.”
–from the Introduction by John Bayley
Criticas

Originally written in 1875, this is one of the most distinguished classic works of world literature. Several films, dramas, and ballets have been based on Tolstoi’s (as spelled in Spanish) intense, passionate love story. Ana, one of the most notable literary characters ever created, is married to a Russian minister but falls in love with Count Vronski, a rich and handsome young army officer. Against society’s norms, she abandons her husband and son, with dire results. In this excellent recording, the story is fully dramatized by a group of actors: Milagros del Valle is Ana, and FonoLibro’s Arquimedes Rivero is Vronski. Their voices are appropriate and devoid of regional accents. With background music and narration that shows the full emotional style of a radionovela (radio soap operas), this audio is an easy way to get to know this perennial classic. Recommended for bookstores and public libraries.—Dolores M. Koch, New York City


—Dolores M. Koch

"The greatest novel ever written" is a superlative applied frequently to Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, which first appeared in print in 1875. This world literature classic has inspired dozens of stage, movie, and ballet adaptation, the latest of which is the Universal Pictures September release film starring Keira Knightley and Jude Law. This official movie tie-in contains a fine translation by Louise Maude and Alymer Maude and the screenplay by Tom Stoppard. If you haven't read it yet; it's time.

Michael Holquist

“The translation is the most accurate Tolstoy we have in English. Marian Schwartz has been a major force in bringing Russian literature into English for many years, but this is her masterpiece.”—Michael Holquist, author of Dostoevsky and the Novel
Arts Fuse - Jim Kates

“If there is a Tolstoyan out there who is interested in reading a translation that is exquisitely mindful of the book’s complex texture, or someone who has meant to get to Karenina but hasn’t yet got around to this particular pleasure, Schwartz’s tribute to Tolstoy’s craft and sensitivity should be at the top of the list.”—Jim Kates, Arts Fuse
Caryl Emerson

"Tolstoy did not wish to please; he wished to correct, instruct, inspire, persuade. And as Marian Schwartz notes, he “wholly intended to bend language to his will.” In her astonishing new translation, she takes seriously Tolstoy’s disgust with smooth Russian literary style, setting a new standard in English for accuracy to Tolstoyan repetition, sentence density and balance, stripped-down vocabulary and enhanced moral weight. A rough, powerful, unromantic Anna that wakes the reader up and rings true."—Caryl Emerson, Princeton University
National Translation Awards - NTA

Longlisted for the 2015 American Literary Translators Asssociation, National Translation Prize in Prose.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780679410003
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/28/1992
Series:
Everyman's Library Series
Pages:
1024
Sales rank:
308,474
Product dimensions:
5.27(w) x 8.28(h) x 1.81(d)
Age Range:
14 - 18 Years

Read an Excerpt

I

Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. Everything at the Oblonskys’ was topsy-turvy. Oblonsky’s wife had found out that he had been having an affair with the French governess who used to live with them, and told him she could no longer stay under the same roof with him. This was the third day things had been this way, and not only the married couple themselves, but the family and the whole household were painfully aware of it. Everyone in the house felt that there was no sense in their living together, and that people who had casually dropped into any inn would have more connection with each other than they, the Oblonsky family and household. Oblonsky’s wife refused to leave her rooms; he himself hadn’t been home for three days. The children were running around the house as though lost; the English governess had had a quarrel with the housekeeper and written to a friend of hers asking her to look out for a new job for her; the day before the cook had picked dinnertime to go out; the kitchen maid and coachman had given notice.
 
The third day after the quarrel Prince Stephen Arkadyevich Oblonsky—Stiva, as he was called in society—woke up at his usual time, that is, eight in the morning, not in his wife’s bedroom but in his own study, on the leather-covered sofa. He twisted his plump, well-kept body on the springy sofa as though he wanted to plunge into a long sleep again; he hugged the pillow on the other side and pressed his cheek against it; then he suddenly jumped up, sat down on the sofa, and opened his eyes.
 
Now, what was that again? he thought, recalling a dream. What was it? Of course! Alabin was giving a dinner in Darmstadt, no, not in Darmstadt—somewhere in America. But that’s where Darmstadt was, in America. So Alabin was giving a dinner, on glass tables—and the tables were singing “Il mio tesoro,” though not “Il mio tesoro” but something better, and then there were some little decanters around and they were really women, he remembered.
 
Oblonsky’s eyes sparkled merrily; he smiled to himself as he sat there thinking: Yes, it was great fun, all right. There were a lot of other good things too, but you can’t put them into words, or catch hold of them at all when you’re awake.
 
He noticed a streak of light that had slipped in at the side of one of the blinds; he cheerfully stretched his legs off the sofa and felt about with his feet for the bronze kid slippers his wife had embroidered for his last year’s birthday present; out of a nine-year-old habit he stretched out his arm without getting up toward where his dressing gown hung in the bedroom. It was just then that he suddenly recalled why he wasn’t sleeping in his wife’s bedroom, but in his study; the smile vanished from his face and he frowned.
 
“Oh, oh, oh!” he groaned, remembering everything that had happened. And again all the details of the quarrel with his wife, his impossible position and, most painful of all, his own guilt sprang to his mind.
 
No, she’ll never forgive me! She can’t forgive me. And the most terrible thing about it is that it’s all my own fault, I’m to blame, though I’m not really to blame either. That’s the whole tragedy of it, he thought. “Oh dear, oh dear,” he muttered in despair, recalling the most painful points of the quarrel.
 
What had been most disagreeable of all was the first moment when, on coming back cheerful and satisfied from the theater with a huge pear for his wife in his hand, he had not, to his surprise, found her in the drawing room or in his study, but finally saw her in her bedroom holding the unlucky note that had revealed everything.
 
There was his Dolly, whom he thought of as constantly harried and simple-mindedly bustling about, sitting motionless with the note in her hand, looking at him with an expression of horror, despair, and fury.
 
“What is this? This?” she asked, indicating the note.
 
As he remembered this Oblonsky was tormented, as often happens, not so much by the event itself as by his response to his wife’s question.
 
What happened then was what happens to people who are caught at something shameful. He couldn’t manage to put on the right expression for his situation with respect to his wife now that his guilt was exposed. Instead of acting offended, making denials or excuses, asking forgiveness, or even remaining indifferent—anything would have been better than what he did do!— his face quite involuntarily (a reflex of the brain, he thought; he was fond of physiology) suddenly took on its usual goodhearted and therefore silly smile.
 
It was this silly smile that he couldn’t forgive himself. When she saw it Dolly shuddered as though in physical pain, burst out with her characteristic violence in a torrent of bitter words and rushed out of the room. Since then she had refused to see him.
 
That stupid smile is to blame for everything, Oblonsky thought. But what can I do? What is there to do? he said to himself in despair, without finding an answer.
 
 
 
II
 
Oblonsky was honest with himself. He could not deceive himself by telling himself that he repented of his conduct. He could not feel repentant that he, a handsome, amorous man of thirty-four, was not in love with his wife, the mother of five living and two dead children, who was only a year younger than he. He only regretted that he hadn’t been able to conceal things from her better. But he felt the full gravity of his position and was sorry for his wife, their children, and himself. He might have been able to hide his misconduct from his wife better if he had expected the news to have such an effect on her. He had never thought the matter over clearly, but had vaguely imagined that she had long since guessed he was unfaithful to her and was shutting her eyes to it. He even thought that a completely undistinguished woman like her, worn out, aging, already plain, just a simple goodhearted mother of a family, ought to have been indulgent, out of a feeling of fairness. What had happened was just the opposite.
 
Terrible, just terrible! Oblonsky kept saying to himself, without finding any solution. And how well everything was going until now! What a splendid life we had! She was contented and happy with the children, I never bothered her in the least, and left her to do as she pleased with the children and the house. Of course, it’s not so good that she was a governess right here in the house. That was bad! There’s something banal and vulgar in making love to your own governess. But what a governess! (He vividly recalled Mlle. Roland’s teasing black eyes and her smile.) But as long as she was here in the house I never allowed myself to do a thing. And the worst of it all is that she’s already... The whole thing had to happen just for spite! Oh, dear! But what on earth can I do?
 
There was no answer to this beside the usual answer life gives to the most complicated and insoluble problems, which is: you must live according to the needs of the day, that is, forget yourself. He couldn’t forget himself in sleep, at least not until nighttime; he could not yet return to the music being sung by the little decanter women, so he had to look for forgetfulness in the dream of living.
 
Well, we’ll see, Oblonsky said to himself; he got up, put on his gray dressing gown with the blue silk lining, knotted the girdle, and taking a deep breath of air into his broad chest, went over to the window with his usual robust stride, turning out his feet, which carried his full body so lightly; he raised the blind and rang loudly.
 
The bell was answered immediately by his old friend and valet, Matthew, who came in with his clothes, boots, and a telegram. He was followed by the barber with the shaving things.
 
“Any papers from the office?” Oblonsky asked, taking the telegram and sitting down in front of the mirror.
 
“On the table,” Matthew answered, with a questioning, sympathetic look at his master, and after a moment added with a sly smile: “They’ve sent someone from the livery stables.”
 
Oblonsky said nothing, merely gazing at Matthew in the mirror; it was plain from the glance they exchanged that they understood each other very well. Oblonsky’s look seemed to say: “Why tell me that? As though you didn’t know!”
 
Matthew put his hands into the pockets of his jacket, put out his foot, and looked at his master in silence, with a slight, good-humored smile.
 
“I ordered him to come back next Sunday, and till then not to bother either you or himself for no reason,” he said, evidently getting off a prepared sentence.
 
Oblonsky saw Matthew was joking to draw attention to himself. He tore open the telegram and read it, guessing at the words, misspelt as usual, and his face brightened.
 
“Matthew, my sister Anna will be here tomorrow,” he said, momentarily stopping the barber’s shiny plump hand that was clearing a rosy path between the long curly whiskers.
 
“Thank God!” said Matthew, showing that he understood just as well as his master the meaning of the visit, that is, that Oblonsky’s beloved sister Anna might bring about a reconciliation between husband and wife. “Alone, or with her husband?” he asked.
 
Oblonsky couldn’t answer, since the barber was busy on his upper lip, and raised one finger. Matthew nodded into the mirror.
 
“Alone. Should one of the upstairs rooms be got ready?”
 
“Ask Princess Oblonsky.”
 
“Princess Oblonsky?” repeated Matthew doubtfully.
 
“Yes, tell her. Here, take the telegram with you and tell me what she says.”
 
Oh, you want to sound her out, was how Matthew understood this, but all he said was: “Yes, sir.”
 
Oblonsky had already washed, and his hair was brushed; he was about to get dressed when Matthew, walking slowly in his creaking boots, came back into the room holding the telegram. The barber had already gone.
 
“Princess Oblonsky has instructed me to say that she is going away. Let him do as he likes, that is, you, sir,” he said, laughing with his eyes only; putting his hands in his pockets and his head to one side, he gazed at his master.
 
Oblonsky was silent, then a kind and somewhat pathetic smile appeared on his handsome face.
 
“Ah, Matthew, well?” he said, shaking his head.
 
“Don’t worry, sir, it will all turn out all right,” said Matthew.
 
“All right?”
 
“Exactly, sir.”
 
“D’you think so? But who’s that?” asked Oblonsky, hearing the rustle of a woman’s dress outside the door.
 
“It’s me, sir,” said a firm, agreeable female voice, and Matrona, the children’s nurse, thrust her stern, pock-marked face into the doorway.
 
“Well, what is it, Matrona?” asked Oblonsky, going over to her.
 
Though Oblonsky was completely at fault with respect to his wife and felt this himself, almost everyone in the house, even the nurse, who was Princess Oblonsky’s best friend, was on his side.
 
“Well, what?” he said dejectedly.
 
“You must go to her, sir, and admit your guilt once again. Perhaps God will help! She’s in terrible torment; for that matter everything in the house is at sixes and sevens. You must take pity on the children, sir. Admit you were wrong, sir—what else can you do? If you put your hand in the fire—”
 
“But you know she won’t see me—”
 
“Do your own part. God is merciful, sir. Pray to God—pray, sir!”
 
“Very well then, you can go now,” said Oblonsky, suddenly blushing. “And now I must get dressed,” he said, turning to Matthew and energetically throwing off his dressing gown.
 
Matthew was already holding out, like a horse’s collar, the shirt he had got ready; he blew an invisible speck off it and with obvious satisfaction enveloped his master’s well-cared-for body in it.

Meet the Author

Leo Tolstoy, or Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy; September 9 1828 - November 20 1910), was a Russian writer widely regarded as among the greatest of novelists. His masterpieces War and Peace and Anna Karenina represent in their scope, breadth and vivid depiction of 19th-century Russian life and attitudes, the peak of realist fiction.

Tolstoy's further talents as essayist, dramatist, and educational reformer made him the most influential member of the aristocratic Tolstoy family. His literal interpretation of the ethical teachings of Jesus, centering on the Sermon on the Mount, caused him in later life to become a fervent Christian anarchist and pacifist. His ideas on nonviolent resistance, expressed in such works as The Kingdom of God Is Within You, were to have a profound impact on such pivotal twentieth-century figures as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
September 9, 1828
Date of Death:
November 20, 1910
Place of Birth:
Tula Province, Russia
Place of Death:
Astapovo, Russia
Education:
Privately educated by French and German tutors; attended the University of Kazan, 1844-47

Customer Reviews

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Anna Karenina 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 469 reviews.
ereaderbookworm More than 1 year ago
Tolstoy's Anna Karenina is all that and then some, but let's talk translations. This is the same 1901 rendering by Constance Garnett used in most of the e-editions out there. Though familiar (especially for its opening sentence), it is widely criticized for its deficiencies and considered a poor choice among better alternatives. The 1918 Maude translation is far better. It is the one most read in college literature classes. The Norton Critical Edition uses the Maude translation, with some revisions by George Gibian. That edition has not been published for e-readers, but a good NOOK edition of the Maude translation is attached to this review (or search "Anna Karenina Maude"). The 2000 translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky is the one associated with Oprah's Book Club. Oprah selected the novel itself more than a particular translation, but a print edition of the Pevear and Volokhonsky translation was featured on her website, so people think of that one as Oprah's pick. The NOOK edition is attached to this review (or search "Anna Karenina Pevear"). It is a matter of taste which translation is preferable, the Maude or the Peavear and Volokhonsky. The influence of the translator is second only to the author in shaping the text. The quality of the translation is crucial.
Nick_The_Book_Lover More than 1 year ago
This is one of the greatest, most beautiful and most heartbreaking novels ever written. No wonder Oprah Winfrey selected it, even though it was written well over a hundred years ago!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nook edition of Anna Karenina is the best book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Oprah was right about this one ... a truly amazing, indeed, life changing book. Highly, highly, highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
nice to see this book title anna karenina..
ArgoKR More than 1 year ago
Don't buy this e-book. It is full of typographical errors. I am so disappointed! I am only a few pages into this book and I cannot believe the poor quality. How hard can it be to get it correct. I have asked for a refund, we'll see how that goes...... ArgoKR
cpkx More than 1 year ago
I don't recall ever reading an ebook with more blatant errors. Although most of the misspelled/partial words can be deciphered, it greatly detracts from the readability. It is obvious that no effort went into the making of this book other than a likely OCR scan from what may have been a poor quality original text. A simple running of a spell checker could have probably caught at least 95% of the errors, but that would still amount to thousands of corrections.
Lovelybookworm More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best novels I've read but this digital copy has so many spelling errors that it became annoying within reading the first few pages. Find another copy if you can. This novel really is worth paying a little extra money.
megsy_g More than 1 year ago
I wish I had read the other reviews before I bought this one! I'd always wanted to read the book, so didn't think I needed to check out ratings. The frequency of typing/spelling errors was mindboggling, and should have been caught by any basic spell check; there was at least one on every page. Every couple of days, I would go back to it and try to give it another shot, but I would give up in irritation after a few pages. There's no excuse for publishing such a poor quality version of this classic.
GreekLady More than 1 year ago
There are 6 typos per page on average, the book had gotten digitized, and never corrected. Save your 99 cents and download for free from Project Gutenberg. I expected better quality control from B&N.
wannabeinbrd More than 1 year ago
I have always loved this book but there are so many extreme typos on each page, that the book is unreadable. It looks as though they put a typewriter in a cage of monkeys. A huge disappointment.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The lack of editing in this eBook is a disgrace!!!!! I cannot believe B&N had the audacity to charge for this disaster - Never-ending spelling mistakes and typos - it becomes impossible to read with so many errors.
Irwing More than 1 year ago
Of course Tolstoy is marvelous. However, this particular E-book publication is horrible. There are at least two spelling errors on each page. Get another printing of this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This story is good and I have no problem with the book itself, however, the B&N version is terrible. There are spelling errors and typos on nearly every "page". Not worth the $.99.
mumbles71 More than 1 year ago
With all the spelling errors, it feels like you are trying to translate from the original Russian. I know it is under a dollar, but why would B&N even put something of such poor quality on their web site? Spend the extra money and buy another version of this book- the story is excellent!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As some of the other reviews have stated, this version of Anna Karenina was FILLED with typos -- at least 1 in 10 words was misspelled, some so badly that it was impossible to decipher what the word should be. This greatly affected the overall reading experience. Love the story, but buy another version.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a new Nook book reader. I have noticed some spelling and spacing errors in a few of the books I have read. Anna Karenina is a great story but this book is so badly misspelled it was hard to read. The book is 822 pages and trying to read through all the misspelling was horrible. I didn't read any reviews before purchasing it and maybe I should have. I was tempted to go out and purchase a copy of the book so I could appreciate the story better. I don't know where the books are transcribed but it couldn't have been run through a spell check. It was sad to see a classic so poorly treated.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I would like to have finished this book, but in the first 1/4 of the book, it totally skipped chapters! Can't remember now how many, but enough that I couldn't make sense of what I was then reading. I e-mailed B&N, but never heard back from them. I was going to delete it from my library, but maybe someone there will read this and follow up. Hope springs eternal....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good story. Kind of long, over 2400 pages but enjoyable. Would even read it again sometime. Anyone who enjoys historical fiction will enjoy this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I won't pretend I have read this whole book yet. Honestly, I don't like it, but I understand it has been translated and that may be why it is so hard to follow (uses "In" for "I" and other strange spelling issues). However, this .99 NOOK version is missing about 100 pages that contain a major part of the plot (I assume, as I have never read it before and now am left to guess what happened, which I think I have, but still). I would not recommend buying this .99 version. I'm not sure other NOOK versions are available, but this one is certainly lacking.
mamastrick More than 1 year ago
I am extremely frustrated by the typographical errors in this e-version! I enjoyed the first 50 pages as far as the story, but just gave up in frustration from page after page of mispelled words and unedited copy! I am sure that when I read the original version I will love it!
Tolstoy More than 1 year ago
The copy I downloaded on my Nook is very poor. There are many misspellings and the spacing is incorrect.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This isn't a review of the book, but this edition of the book: The butchered one. If you're considering it, you're crazy. It's abridged. Know what that means? They took one of the greatest classics of all time, chopped out the parts that made the really eventful parts pop so that it has no major part anymore, and just...destroyed the book. Imagine your favorite movie limited to a tiny small limit. This isn't even half the book, it's LESS than that. WAY less than that. If you want to read the book, read the book, not a really big summary.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is one of my all-time favorites, but this e-book completely ruined it. It skipped the most important chapters!! Seriously, don't buy this. You won't understand it without everything in it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had a paper copy of this classic a few years back, but had to throw it away after a natural disaster affected my home. When I got a nook, this was the first book that I purchased in hopes of finally finishing the story. Unfortunately, this is a cheap electronic copy and skips ahead hundreds of pages mid story. When I complained to Barnes and Noble about 6 months ago, they claimed that it would be fixed within 2 weeks, but it has yet to be. I'm deeply disappointed and would not recommend purchasing any nookbooks.