Anna Karenina

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Overview

Anna Karenina is the wife of a prominant Russian government official. She leads a correct but confining upper-middle-class existence. She seems content with her life as a proper companion to her dignified, unaffectionate husband and an adoring mother to her young son, until she meets Count Vronsky, a young officer of the guards. He pursues her and she falls madly in love with him. Her husband refuses to divorce her, so she gives up everything, including her beloved son, to be with Vronsky. After a short time, ...
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Overview

Anna Karenina is the wife of a prominant Russian government official. She leads a correct but confining upper-middle-class existence. She seems content with her life as a proper companion to her dignified, unaffectionate husband and an adoring mother to her young son, until she meets Count Vronsky, a young officer of the guards. He pursues her and she falls madly in love with him. Her husband refuses to divorce her, so she gives up everything, including her beloved son, to be with Vronsky. After a short time, Vronsky becomes bored and unhappy with their life as social outcasts. He abandons her, returns to the military and is immediately accepted back into society. Anna, a fallen woman, shunned by respectable society, throws herself under a train.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

"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.

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
From the Publisher

"Rosamund Bartlett's achievement is magnificent. In particular, her translations of the descriptive passages are miniature masterpieces. The translation is fresh and immediate, but with all the elegance and power of the original."
--Amy Mandelker, CUNY Graduate Center

"Rosamund Bartlett's riveting new translation of Anna Karenina brings the reader into Tolstoy's many-faceted worlds with an immediacy, majesty and clarity that no other translator of this great novel has ever achieved. At the same time she represents "the idiosyncrasy of Tolstoy's inimitable style" through idiomatic, natural English. Whether it is Levin's series of epiphanies, the intimate workings of Anna's mind and heart, or the ever-present, sustaining worlds of families and of nature--the sky, the meadows, the bees or other creatures of the animal kingdom--each of Tolstoy's interlocking realms is powerfully yet exquisitely rendered by one of the finest translators of our time. Bartlett's Anna Karenina, with its brilliant introductory essay, explanatory notes and bibliography, will be the go-to English version of Tolstoy's--indeed the world's-precious masterpiece.
--Robin Feuer Miller, Brandeis University

"Bartlett, a talented stylist, succeeds in crafting an aesthetically pleasing translation that reads naturally in English..." -- Chicago Tribune

"Ms. Bartlett, the author of a superb biography of Tolstoy, has produced a more classically elegant translation, which is mirrored in the book's beautiful packaging, right down to the sewn-in ribbon bookmark. (Her introduction, a tour d'horizon of Tolstoy's life and work, is also excellent.)" -- Wall Street Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786184415
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/1/2004
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged, 27 CDs, 9 hrs. 30 min.
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 5.00 (h) x 5.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) wrote two of Russia's greatest novels, War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1877), as well as many short stories and essays.

Biography

Count Leo Tolstoy was born in 1828 on the family estate of Yasnaya Polyana, in the Tula province, where he spent most of his early years, together with his several brothers. In 1844 he entered the University of Kazan to read Oriental Languages and later Law, but left before completing a degree. He spent the following years in a round of drinking, gambling and womanizing, until weary of his idle existence he joined an artillery regiment in the Caucasus in 1851.

He took part in the Crimean war and after the defence of Sevastopol wrote The Sevastopol Sketches (1855-6), which established his literary reputation. After leaving the army in 1856 Tolstoy spent some time mixing with the literati in St Petersburg before traveling abroad and then settling at Yasnaya Polyana, where he involved himself in the running of peasant schools and the emancipation of the serfs. His marriage to Sofya Andreyevna Behrs in 1862 marked the beginning of a period of contentment centred around family life; they had thirteen children. Tolstoy managed his vast estates, continued his educational projects, cared for his peasants and wrote both his great novels, War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1877).

During the 1870s he underwent a spiritual crisis, the moral and religious ideas that had always dogged him coming to the fore. A Confession (1879–82) marked an outward change in his life and works; he became an extreme rationalist and moralist, and in a series of pamphlets written after 1880 he rejected church and state, indicted the demands of flesh, and denounced private property. His teachings earned him numerous followers in Russia and abroad, and also led finally to his excommunication by the Russian Holy Synod in 1901. In 1910 at the age of eighty-two he fled from home "leaving this worldly life in order to live out my last days in peace and solitude;" he died some days later at the station master's house at Astapovo.

Author biography courtesy of Penguin Books LTD.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Leo Nikolayevich Tolstoy (full name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      September 9, 1828
    2. Place of Birth:
      Tula Province, Russia
    1. Date of Death:
      November 20, 1910
    2. Place of Death:
      Astapovo, Russia

Read an Excerpt




Excerpt


I


All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

    All was confusion in the Oblonskys' house. The wife had found out that the husband was having an affair with their former French governess, and had announced to the husband that she could not live in the same house with him. This situation had continued for three days now, and was painfully felt by the couple themselves, as well as by all the members of the family and household. They felt that there was no sense in their living together and that people who meet accidentally at any inn have more connection with each other than they, the members of the family and household of the Oblonskys. The wife would not leave her rooms, the husband was away for the third day. The children were running all over the house as if lost; the English governess quarrelled with the housekeeper and wrote a note to a friend, asking her to find her a new place; the cook had already left the premises the day before, at dinner-time; the kitchen-maid and coachman had given notice.

    On the third day after the quarrel, Prince Stepan Arkadyich Oblonsky — Stiva, as he was called in society — woke up at his usual hour, that is, at eight o'clock in the morning, not in his wife's bedroom but in his study, on a morocco sofa. He rolled his full, well-tended body over on the springs of the sofa, as if wishing to fall asleep again for a long time, tightly hugged the pillow from the other side and pressed his cheek to it; but suddenly he gave a start, sat up on the sofa and opened his eyes.

    `Yes, yes, how did it go?' he thought, recalling his dream. `How did it go? Yes! Alabin was giving a dinner in Darmstadt — no, not in Darmstadt but something American. Yes, but this Darmstadt was in America. Yes, Alabin was giving a dinner on glass tables, yes — and the tables were singing Il mio tesoro, only it wasn't Il mio tesoro but something better, and there were some little carafes, which were also women,' he recalled.

    Stepan Arkadyich's eyes glittered merrily, and he fell to thinking with a smile. `Yes, it was nice, very nice. There were many other excellent things there, but one can't say it in words, or even put it into waking thoughts.' And, noticing a strip of light that had broken through the side of one of the heavy blinds, he cheerfully dropped his feet from the sofa, felt for the slippers trimmed with gold morocco that his wife had embroidered for him (a present for last year's birthday), and, following a nine-year-old habit, without getting up, reached his hand out to the place where his dressing gown hung in the bedroom. And here he suddenly remembered how and why he was sleeping not in his wife's bedroom but in his study: the smile vanished from his face, and he knitted his brows.

    `Oh, oh, oh! Ohh! ...' he moaned, remembering all that had taken place. And in his imagination he again pictured all the details of his quarrel with his wife, all the hopelessness of his position and, most painful of all, his own guilt.

    `No, she won't forgive me and can't forgive me! And the most terrible thing is that I'm the guilty one in it all — guilty, and yet not guilty. That's the whole drama,' he thought. `Oh, oh, oh!' he murmured with despair, recalling what were for him the most painful impressions of this quarrel.

    Worst of all had been that first moment when, coming back from the theatre, cheerful and content, holding a huge pear for his wife, he had not found her in the drawing room; to his surprise, he had not found her in the study either, and had finally seen her in the bedroom with the unfortunate, all-revealing note in her hand.

    She — this eternally preoccupied and bustling and, as he thought, none-too-bright Dolly — was sitting motionless, the note in her hand, looking at him with an expression of horror, despair and wrath.

    `What is this? this?' she asked, pointing to the note.

    And, in recalling it, as often happens, Stepan Arkadyich was tormented not so much by the event itself as by the way he had responded to these words from his wife.

    What had happened to him at that moment was what happens to people when they are unexpectedly caught in something very shameful. He had not managed to prepare his face for the position he found himself in with regard to his wife now that his guilt had been revealed. Instead of being offended, of denying, justifying, asking forgiveness, even remaining indifferent — any of which would have been better than what he did! — his face quite involuntarily (`reflexes of the brain', thought Stepan Arkadyich, who liked physiology) smiled all at once its habitual, kind and therefore stupid smile.

    That stupid smile he could not forgive himself. Seeing that smile, Dolly had winced as if from physical pain, burst with her typical vehemence into a torrent of cruel words, and rushed from the room. Since then she had refused to see her husband.

    `That stupid smile is to blame for it all,' thought Stepan Arkadyich.

    `But what to do, then? What to do?' he kept saying despairingly to himself, and could find no answer.


II


Stepan Arkadyich was a truthful man concerning his own self. He could not deceive himself into believing that he repented of his behaviour. He could not now be repentant that he, a thirty-four-year-old, handsome, amorous man, did not feel amorous with his wife, the mother of five living and two dead children, who was only a year younger than he. He repented only that he had not managed to conceal things better from her. But he felt all the gravity of his situation, and pitied his wife, his children and himself. Perhaps he would have managed to hide his sins better from his wife had he anticipated that the news would have such an effect on her. He had never thought the question over clearly, but vaguely imagined that his wife had long suspected him of being unfaithful to her and was looking the other way. It even seemed to him that she, a worn-out, aged, no longer beautiful woman, not remarkable for anything, simple, merely a kind mother of a family, ought in all fairness to be indulgent. It turned out to be quite the opposite.

    `Ah, terrible! Ay, ay, ay! terrible!' Stepan Arkadyich repeated to himself and could come up with nothing. `And how nice it all was before that, what a nice life we had! She was content, happy with the children, I didn't hinder her in anything, left her to fuss over them and the household however she liked. True, it's not nice that she used to be a governess in our house. Not nice! There's something trivial, banal, in courting one's own governess. But what a governess!' (He vividly recalled Mlle Roland's dark, roguish eyes and her smile.) `But while she was in our house, I never allowed myself anything. And the worst of it is that she's already ... It all had to happen at once! Ay, ay, ay! But what to do, what to do?'

    There was no answer, except the general answer life gives to all the most complex and insoluble questions. That answer is: one must live for the needs of the day, in other words, become oblivious. To become oblivious in dreams was impossible now, at least till night-time; it was impossible to return to that music sung by carafe-women; and so one had to become oblivious in the dream of life.

    `We'll see later on,' Stepan Arkadyich said to himself and, getting up, he put on his grey dressing gown with the light-blue silk lining, threw the tasselled cord into a knot, and, drawing a goodly amount of air into the broad box of his chest, went up to the window with the customary brisk step of his splayed feet, which so easily carried his full body, raised the blind and rang loudly. In response to the bell his old friend, the valet Matvei, came at once, bringing clothes, boots, and a telegram. Behind Matvei came the barber with the shaving things.

    `Any papers from the office?' Stepan Arkadyich asked, taking the telegram and sitting down in front of the mirror.

    `On the table,' Matvei replied, glancing inquiringly, with sympathy, at his master, and, after waiting a little, he added with a sly smile: `Someone came from the owner of the livery stable.'

    Stepan Arkadyich said nothing in reply and only glanced at Matvei in the mirror; from their eyes, which met in the mirror, one could see how well they understood each other. Stepan Arkadyich's eyes seemed to ask: `Why are you saying that? as if you didn't know?'

    Matvei put his hands in his jacket pockets, thrust one foot out and looked at his master silently, good-naturedly, with a slight smile.

    `I told them to come next Sunday and till then not to trouble you or themselves needlessly.' He uttered an obviously prepared phrase.

    Stepan Arkadyich understood that Matvei wanted to joke and attract attention to himself. Tearing open the telegram, he read it, guessing at the right sense of the words, which were garbled as usual, and his face brightened.

    `Matvei, my sister Anna Arkadyevna is coming tomorrow,' he said, stopping for a moment the glossy, plump little hand of the barber, who was clearing a pink path between his long, curly side-whiskers.

    `Thank God,' said Matvei, showing by this answer that he understood the significance of this arrival in the same way as his master, that is, that Anna Arkadyevna, Stepan Arkadyich's beloved sister, might contribute to the reconciliation of husband and wife.

    `Alone or with her spouse?' asked Matvei.

    Stepan Arkadyich, unable to speak because the barber was occupied with his upper lip, raised one finger. Matvei nodded in the mirror.

    `Alone. Shall I prepare the rooms upstairs?'

    `Tell Darya Alexandrovna, wherever she decides.'

    `Darya Alexandrovna?' Matvei repeated, as if in doubt.

    `Yes, tell her. And here, take the telegram, let me know what she says.'

    `Testing her out,' Matvei understood, but he said only: `Very well, sir.'

    Stepan Arkadyich was already washed and combed and was about to start dressing, when Matvei, stepping slowly over the soft rug in his creaking boots, telegram in hand, came back into the room. The barber was no longer there.

    `Darya Alexandrovna told me to inform you that she is leaving. Let him do as he — that is, you — pleases,' he said, laughing with his eyes only, and, putting his hands in his pockets and cocking his head to one side, he looked fixedly at his master.

    Stepan Arkadyich said nothing. Then a kind and somewhat pathetic smile appeared on his handsome face.

    `Eh? Matvei?' he said, shaking his head.

    `Never mind, sir, it'll shape up,' said Matvei.

    `Shape up?'

    `That's right, sir.'

    `You think so? Who's there?' Stepan Arkadyich asked, hearing the rustle of a woman's dress outside the door.

    `It's me, sir,' said a firm and pleasant female voice, and through the door peeked the stern, pock-marked face of Matryona Filimonovna, the nanny.

    `What is it, Matryosha?' Stepan Arkadyich asked, going out of the door to her.

    Although Stepan Arkadyich was roundly guilty before his wife and felt it himself, almost everyone in the house, even the nanny, Darya Alexandrovna's chief friend, was on his side.

    `Well, what is it?' he said dejectedly.

    `You should go to her, sir, apologize again. Maybe God will help. She's suffering very much, it's a pity to see, and everything in the house has gone topsy-turvy. The children should be pitied. Apologize, sir. No help for it! After the dance, you must pay the ...'

    `But she won't receive me ...'

    `Still, you do your part. God is merciful, pray to God, sir, pray to God.'

    `Well, all right, go now,' said Stepan Arkadyich, suddenly blushing. `Let's get me dressed.' He turned to Matvei and resolutely threw off his dressing gown.

    Matvei was already holding the shirt like a horse collar, blowing away something invisible, and with obvious pleasure he clothed the pampered body of his master in it.


III


After dressing, Stepan Arkadyich sprayed himself with scent, adjusted the cuffs of his shirt, put cigarettes, wallet, matches, a watch with a double chain and seals into his pockets with an accustomed gesture, and, having shaken out his handkerchief, feeling himself clean, fragrant, healthy, and physically cheerful despite his misfortune, went out, springing lightly at each step, to the dining room, where coffee was already waiting for him, and, next to the coffee, letters and papers from the office.

    He sat down and read the letters. One was very unpleasant — from a merchant who was buying a wood on his wife's estate. This wood had to be sold; but now, before his reconciliation with his wife, it was out of the question. The most unpleasant thing here was that it mixed financial interests into the impending matter of their reconciliation. And the thought that he might be guided by those interests, that he might seek a reconciliation with his wife in order to sell the wood, was offensive to him.

    Having finished the letters, Stepan Arkadyich drew the office papers to him, quickly leafed through two files, made a few marks with a big pencil, then pushed the files away and started on his coffee. Over coffee he unfolded the still damp morning newspaper and began to read it.

    Stepan Arkadyich subscribed to and read a liberal newspaper, not an extreme one, but one with the tendency to which the majority held. And though neither science, nor art, nor politics itself interested him, he firmly held the same views on all these subjects as the majority and his newspaper did, and changed them only when the majority did, or, rather, he did not change them, but they themselves changed imperceptibly in him.

    Stepan Arkadyich chose neither his tendency nor his views, but these tendencies and views came to him themselves, just as he did not choose the shape of a hat or a frock coat, but bought those that were in fashion. And for him, who lived in a certain circle, and who required some mental activity such as usually develops with maturity, having views was as necessary as having a hat. If there was a reason why he preferred the liberal tendency to the conservative one (also held to by many in his circle), it was not because he found the liberal tendency more sensible, but because it more closely suited his manner of life. The liberal party said that everything was bad in Russia, and indeed Stepan Arkadyich had many debts and decidedly too little money. The liberal party said that marriage was an obsolete institution and was in need of reform, and indeed family life gave Stepan Arkadyich little pleasure and forced him to lie and pretend, which was so contrary to his nature. The liberal party said, or, rather, implied, that religion was just a bridle for the barbarous part of the population, and indeed Stepan Arkadyich could not even stand through a short prayer service without aching feet and could not grasp the point of all these fearsome and high-flown words about the other world, when life in this one could be so merry. At the same time, Stepan Arkadyich, who liked a merry joke, sometimes took pleasure in startling some simple soul by saying that if you want to pride yourself on your lineage, why stop at Rurik and renounce your first progenitor — the ape? And so the liberal tendency became a habit with Stepan Arkadyich, and he liked his newspaper, as he liked a cigar after dinner, for the slight haze it produced in his head. He read the leading article, which explained that in our time it was quite needless to raise the cry that radicalism was threatening to swallow up all the conservative elements, and that it was the government's duty to take measures to crush the hydra of revolution; that, on the contrary, `in our opinion, the danger lies not in the imaginary hydra of revolution, but in a stubborn traditionalism that impedes progress', and so on. He also read yet another article, a financial one, in which mention was made of Bentham and Mill and fine barbs were shot at the ministry. With his peculiar quickness of perception he understood the meaning of each barb: by whom, and against whom, and on what occasion it had been aimed, and this, as always, gave him a certain pleasure. But today this pleasure was poisoned by the recollection of Matryona Filimonovna's advice, and of the unhappy situation at home. He also read about Count Beust, who was rumoured to have gone to Wiesbaden, and about the end of grey hair, and about the sale of a light carriage, and a young person's offer of her services; but this information did not, as formerly, give him a quiet, ironic pleasure.

    Having finished the newspaper, a second cup of coffee, and a kalatch with butter, he got up, brushed the crumbs from his waistcoat and, expanding his broad chest, smiled joyfully, not because there was anything especially pleasant in his heart — the smile was evoked by good digestion.

    But this joyful smile at once reminded him of everything, and he turned pensive.

    Two children's voices (Stepan Arkadyich recognized the voices of Grisha, the youngest boy, and Tanya, the eldest girl) were heard outside the door. They were pulling something and tipped it over.

    `I told you not to put passengers on the roof,' the girl shouted in English. `Now pick it up!'

    `All is confusion,' thought Stepan Arkadyich. `Now the children are running around on their own.' And, going to the door, he called them. They abandoned the box that stood for a train and came to their father.

    The girl, her father's favourite, ran in boldly, embraced him, and hung laughing on his neck, delighting, as always, in the familiar smell of scent coming from his side-whiskers. Kissing him finally on the face, which was red from bending down and radiant with tenderness, the girl unclasped her hands and was going to run out again, but her father held her back.

    `How's mama?' he asked, his hand stroking his daughter's smooth, tender neck. `Good morning,' he said, smiling to the boy who greeted him.

    He was aware that he loved the boy less, and always tried to be fair; but the boy felt it and did not respond with a smile to the cold smile of his father.

    `Mama? Mama's up,' the girl replied.

    Stepan Arkadyich sighed. `That means again she didn't sleep all night,' he thought.

    `And is she cheerful?'

    The girl knew that there had been a quarrel between her father and mother, and that her mother could not be cheerful, and that her father ought to know it, and that he was shamming when he asked about it so lightly. And she blushed for him. He understood it at once and also blushed.

    `I don't know,' she said. `She told us not to study, but to go for a walk to grandma's with Miss Hull.'

    `Well, go then, my Tanchurochka. Ah, yes, wait,' he said, still holding her back and stroking her tender little hand.

    He took a box of sweets from the mantelpiece, where he had put it yesterday, and gave her two, picking her favourites, a chocolate and a cream.

    `For Grisha?' the girl said, pointing to the chocolate.

    `Yes, yes.' And stroking her little shoulder once more, he kissed her on the nape of the neck and let her go.

    `The carriage is ready,' said Matvei. `And there's a woman with a petition to see you,' he added.

    `Has she been here long?' asked Stepan Arkadyich.

    `Half an hour or so.'

    `How often must I tell you to let me know at once!'

    `I had to give you time for your coffee at least,' Matvei said in that friendly-rude tone at which it was impossible to be angry.

    `Well, quickly send her in,' said Oblonsky, wincing with vexation.

    The woman, Mrs Kalinin, a staff captain's wife, was petitioning for something impossible and senseless; but Stepan Arkadyich, as was his custom, sat her down, heard her out attentively without interrupting, and gave her detailed advice on whom to address and how, and even wrote, briskly and fluently, in his large, sprawling, handsome and clear handwriting, a little note to the person who could be of help to her. Having dismissed the captain's wife, Stepan Arkadyich picked up his hat and paused, wondering whether he had forgotten anything. It turned out that he had forgotten nothing, except what he had wanted to forget — his wife.

    `Ah, yes!' He hung his head, and his handsome face assumed a wistful expression. `Shall I go or not?' he said to himself. And his inner voice told him that he should not go, that there could be nothing here but falseness, that to rectify, to repair, their relations was impossible, because it was impossible to make her attractive and arousing of love again or to make him an old man incapable of love. Nothing could come of it now but falseness and deceit, and falseness and deceit were contrary to his nature.

    `But at some point I'll have to; it can't remain like this,' he said, trying to pluck up his courage. He squared his shoulders, took out a cigarette, lit it, took two puffs, threw it into the mother-of-pearl ashtray, walked with quick steps across the gloomy drawing room and opened the other door, to his wife's bedroom.

(Continues...)

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Table of Contents

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Reading Group Guide

1. When Anna Karenina was published, critics accused Tolstoy of writing a novel with too many characters, too complex a story line, and too many details. Henry James called Tolstoy's works "baggy monsters." In response, Tolstoy wrote of Anna Karenina "I am very proud of its architecture-its vaults are joined so that one cannot even notice where the keystone is." What do you make of Tolstoy's use of detail? Does it make for a more "realistic" novel?

2. The first line of Anna Karenina, "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way, " can be interpreted a number of ways. What do you think Tolstoy means by this?

3. In your opinion, how well does Tolstoy, as a male writer, capture the perspectives of his female characters? Do you think Anna Karenina is the most appropriate title for the book? Is Tolstoy more critical of Anna for her adultery than he is of Oblonsky or of Vronsky?

4. What role does religion play in the novel? Compare Levin's spiritual state of mind at the beginning and the end of the novel. What parallels can you draw between Levin's search for happiness and Anna's descent into despair?

5. Why is it significant that Karenina lives in St. Petersburg, Oblonsky in Moscow, and Levin in the country? How are Moscow and St. Petersburg described by Tolstoy? What conclusions can you draw about the value assigned to place in the novel?

6. What are the different kinds of love that Anna, Vronsky, Levin, Kitty, Stiva, and Dolly seek? How do their desires change throughout the novel?

7. How do the ideals of love and marriage come into conflict inAnna Karenina? Using examples from the novel, what qualities do you think seem to make for a successful marriage? According to Tolstoy, is it more important to find love at all costs or to uphold the sanctity of marriage, even if it is a loveless one?

8. Ultimately, do you think Anna Karenina is a tragic novel or a hopeful one?

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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 7, 2012

    Excellent Novel!

    My brother and I do a book club each winter together and choose a piece of literature that neither of us has read before. This year we chose Anna Karenina. This story is so good - and the translation did it justice. Anna Karenina is an excellent story for book clubs - there's so much to discuss in it and so much more relevant to current society than I expected. I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 only because there weren't any questions at the end to guide discussion. My brother and I had to find those online. Of course, there are lots of places to find questions but it would have been helpful if some were included. I was attempting to read the story without knowing the end and many of the discussion questions online gave a quick synopsis that gave away a key piece of the ending of the story.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2002

    great translation

    wonderful translation of the classic!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2002

    Don't consider it - just read it!

    Fantastic! I couldn't stop. It is so full of life: reality and fantasy. It makes you feel as if you are in the book. Tolstoy has mastered the art of being an author. Although some bits seem boring, continue and you will be a lot better off than when you started. By the way, I have seen many translations and I think Louise and Aylmer Maude have the most 'Russian' version. Rosemary Edmonds writes a fairly clever, detailed version, and Constance Garnett writes a clear, easier to understand but old-fashioned version. The book is better than the movie.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2002

    Tragic

    I have read Anna Keranina all the way through, finally. It was a very long book but I have to say that it was well worth my time. It was a story about the tragic romance of Anna Keranina and also the story of Levin's love of Kitty and their happy marriage. Both plots intertwined into a brilliant play of love and the tragedy of Anna Keranina, a beautiful woman doomed to a tragic end for loving and acting on the love she had for a man that was not her husband.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2001

    Wonderful Anna

    Anna Karenina is by far the best book I've read. It was required reading for my Russian Novel class and at first I was intimidated by it's length, but once I started it I couldn't put it down!! I highly recommend reading this book!!

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