Anna Karenina


Anna Karenina

Infobox Book |
name = Anna Karenina
title_orig = Анна Каренина
translator = Constance Garnett (initial)


image_caption = UK Penguin Classic edition cover
author = Leo Tolstoy
cover_artist =
country = Russia
language = Russian
series =
genre = Novel
publisher = "The Russian Messenger"
release_date = 1877
media_type = Print (Serial)
pages = 864
isbn = [http://www.amazon.com/Anna-Karenina-Oneworld-Classics-Tolstoy/dp/184749059X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1218448239&sr=1-1 978-1-84749-059-9]
preceded_by =
followed_by =

"Anna Karenina" ( _ru. "Анна Каренина"), also Anglicised as "Anna Karenin", is a novel by the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, published in serial installments from 1873 to 1877 in the periodical "The Russian Messenger". Tolstoy clashed with its editor Mikhail Katkov over issues that arose in the final installment; therefore, the novel's first complete appearance was in book form.

Widely regarded as a pinnacle in realist fiction, Tolstoy considered "Anna Karenina" his first true novel. The character of Anna was likely inspired, in part, by Maria Hartung (Russian spelling Maria Gartung, 1832–1919), the elder daughter of the Russian poet Alexander Pushkin. Soon after meeting her at dinner, Tolstoy began reading Pushkin's prose and once had a fleeting daydream of "a bare exquisite aristocratic elbow", which proved to be the first intimation of Anna's character.

Although most Russian critics panned the novel on its publication as a "trifling romance of high life", Fyodor Dostoevsky declared it to be "flawless as a work of art." His opinion was seconded by Vladimir Nabokov, who especially admired "the flawless magic of Tolstoy's style" and the motif of the moving train, subtly introduced in the first chapters (the children playing with a toy train) and inexorably developed in subsequent chapters (Anna's nightmare), heralding the novel's majestic finale. According to a recent poll of 125 contemporary authors, published in a book entitled "The Top Ten," "Anna Karenina" is the greatest novel ever written. [http://www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,1578073,00.html "The 10 Greatest Books of All Time" in "Time.com" (Lev Grossman)] ]

Plot summary

The novel is divided into eight parts. The novel begins with one of its most quoted lines: cquote|"Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."

Part 1

We are first introduced to the character Prince Stepan Arkadyevitch Oblonsky, "Stiva", a Moscow civil servant who has been unfaithful to his wife Darya Alexandrovna, "Dolly". His affair with the house governess has been found out. The house and family they live in are turned upside down owing to this discovery. Stiva's affair shows an amorous personality that he cannot seem to suppress. Conveniently, his married sister, Anna Arkadyevna Karenina, from Saint Petersburg is coming to visit and eventually persuades Dolly not to leave him.

Meanwhile, Stiva's childhood friend Konstantin Dmitrievich Levin "Kostya" arrives in Moscow to ask for the hand of Dolly's youngest sister Ekaterina Alexandrovna Shcherbatskaya, "Kitty". The passionate, restless but shy aristocratic landowner lives on a large country estate that he manages. Kitty turns him down, expecting a marriage offer from army officer Count Alexei Kirillovich Vronsky, "Alyosha". Despite his clear fondness for Kitty, Vronsky has no intention of marrying her.

Stiva and Vronsky meet at the Moscow railway station to pick up their sister and mother respectively. Upon their arrival in Moscow, a railway worker accidentally falls in front of a train and is killed. Anna interprets this as an "evil omen." Vronsky soon falls in love with Anna after he meets her at the station and later dances the mazurka with her at a ball. Anna successfully initiates a reconciliation between her brother and Dolly, and becomes good friends with Kitty.

Anna, shaken by her response to Vronsky, returns at once to Saint Petersburg. Vronsky tails her on the same train. Levin, on the other hand, returns to his estate farm, abandoning any hope of marriage, and Anna returns to her husband Alexei Alexandrovich Karenin, a senior government official, and their son Sergei ("Seryozha") in Petersburg.

Part 2

The Shcherbatskys consult doctors over Kitty's health which has been failing since she realises Vronsky has slighted her at the ball. A specialist doctor advises Kitty to go abroad to a health spa to recover. Dolly speaks to Kitty and realizes it is really due to Vronsky and Levin that she has been suffering. Kitty feels she has placed her faith on the wrong man and is tormented by her rejection of Levin.

On returning to Petersburg, Anna begins to spend more time with Princess Betsy and her circle, in order to meet Vronsky, who is Betsy's cousin. Vronsky continues to follow Anna. Although Anna initially tries to reject him, she eventually succumbs to his courting.

Karenin scolds Anna for talking too much with Vronsky in public, earning too much of society attention, but there is a growing rift between them. After a while she returns Vronsky's affections and becomes pregnant with his child.

Vronsky takes part in a steeplechase event, during which his mare Frou-Frou is unexpectedly killed. Vronsky escapes with minimal injuries. Anna shows anguish in the crowd when Vronsky falls from the racehorse, making her feelings obvious in society and prompting her to confess later to her husband.

On the other hand, Kitty goes with her mother to a resort at a German spa to recover from the shock. There they meet the Pietist Madame Stahl and Varenka, her adopted daughter. Influenced by Varenka, Kitty briefly becomes extremely pious, but is disillusioned by her father`s criticism. She then returns to Moscow.

Part 3

Part Three examines Levin's life on his rural farming estate, a setting closely tied to Levin's spiritual thoughts and struggles. Throughout this part, Levin wrestles with the idea of falseness, wondering how he should go about ridding himself of it, and criticising what he feels is falseness in others.

Stiva meets up with Levin where he concludes a deal with a plot of land.

Dolly also meets Levin, and attempts to revive his feelings for Kitty. Dolly seems to have failed, but a chance sighting of Kitty makes Levin realise he still loves her. Back in Petersburg, Karenin exasperates Anna by refusing to separate from her, and threatens not to let her see their son Seryozha ever again if she leaves or misbehaves, exactly what Vronsky asks her to do.

Part 4

Karenin finds the situation intolerable and begins seeking a divorce. Anna's brother Stiva argues against it and persuades Karenin to speak with Dolly first. Again, Dolly seems to be unsuccessful, but Karenin changes his plans after hearing that Anna is dying in childbirth. At her bedside, Karenin forgives Vronsky. Vronsky, embarrassed by Karenin's magnanimity, attempts suicide. However, Anna recovers, having given birth to a daughter, Anna ("Annie"). Stiva finds himself pleading on her behalf "for" Karenin to divorce. Vronsky at first plans to flee to Tashkent, but changes his mind after seeing Anna, and they leave for Europe without obtaining a divorce after all. Much more straightforward is Stiva's matchmaking with Levin: a meeting he arranges between Levin and Kitty results in their reconciliation and betrothal.

Part 5

Levin and Kitty marry. A few months later, Levin learns that his brother Nikolai is dying. The couple go to him, and Kitty nurses him until he dies, while also discovering she is pregnant. In Europe, Vronsky and Anna struggle to find friends who will accept them and pursue activities that will amuse them, but they eventually return to Russia. Karenin is comforted – and influenced – by the strong-willed Countess Lydia Ivanovna, an enthusiast of religious and mystic ideas fashionable with the upper classes, who counsels him to keep Seryozha away from Anna. However, Anna manages to visit Seryozha unannounced on his birthday, but is discovered by the furious Karenin. Countess Ivanovna had told Seryozha that his mother was dead. Shortly afterward, Anna and Vronsky leave for the country.

Part 6

Dolly visits Anna. At Vronsky's request, she asks Anna to resume seeking a divorce from Karenin. Yet again, Dolly seems unsuccessful, but when Vronsky leaves for several days of provincial elections, a combination of boredom and suspicion convinces Anna she must marry Vronsky. So she writes to Karenin, and leaves with Vronsky for Moscow.

Part 7

The Levins are in Moscow for Kitty's benefit as she gives birth to a son. Stiva, while seeking Karenin's commendation for a new job, again asks him to grant Anna a divorce, but Karenin's decisions are now governed by a "clairvoyant" – recommended by Lydia Ivanovna – who apparently counsels him to decline. Anna and Vronsky become increasingly bitter toward each other. They plan to return to the country, but in a jealous rage Anna leaves early, and in a parallel to part 1, commits suicide by throwing herself in the path of a train. (Tolstoy reportedly was inspired to write "Anna Karenina" after a young woman, Anna Stepanovna Pirogov, the mistress of a neighbouring landowner and friend of Tolstoy's, threw herself under a goods train after her lover abandoned her. Tolstoy went to view the mangled body in the station house, according to the 2006 edition by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky.

Part 8

The story after Anna's death continues. Stiva gets the job he wanted, and Karenin takes custody of Annie. Some Russian volunteers, including Vronsky, who does not plan to come back, leave to help in the Serbian revolt that has just broken out against the Turks. Meanwhile, amid the joys and fears of fatherhood, Levin at last embraces faith in the Christian God.

Characters in "Anna Karenina"

*Anna Arkadyevna Karenina – The title character, sister to Stepan, wife of Karenin, and lover of Vronsky
*Count Alexei Kirillovich Vronsky – Lover of Anna
*Prince Stepan Arkadyevitch Oblonsky ("Stiva") – a civil servant and Anna's brother.
*Darya Alexandrovna Oblonskaya ("Dolly") – Stepan's wife
*Alexei Alexandrovich Karenin – Anna's husband
*Konstantin Dmitrievitch Levin ("Kostya") – Kitty's suitor and the novel's other protagonist
*Nikolai Levin – Konstantin's brother
*Ekaterina Alexandrovna Shcherbatskaya ("Kitty") – Darya's younger sister
*Princess Betsy – Anna's wealthy, morally loose friend and Vronsky's cousin
*Countess Lydia Ivanovna – Interested in all things mystical
*Countess Vronskaya
*Kapitonich, Karenin's butler

tyle

Tolstoy's style in "Anna Karenina" is considered by many critics to be transitional, forming a bridge between the realist and modernist novel. The novel is narrated from a third-person-omniscient perspective, shifting between the perspectives of several major characters, though most frequently focusing on its dual protagonists (Anna and Levin). As such, each of the novel's eight sections contains internal variations in tone: it assumes a relaxed voice when following Stepan Oblonsky's thoughts and actions and a much more tense voice when describing Levin's social encounters. Much of the novel's seventh section depicts Anna's thoughts fluidly, following each one of her ruminations and associations with its immediate successor. The similar stream-of-consciousness form would be utilised by such later authors as James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and William Faulkner.

Also of significance is Tolstoy's interweaving of real and fictional events throughout his narrative. Characters in "Anna Karenina" debate significant sociopolitical issues affecting Russia in the latter half of the nineteenth century, such as the proper role of the serfs in society, education reform, and women's rights. Tolstoy's depiction of the characters in these debates, and of their arguments, allows him to anonymously communicate his own political beliefs to his audience. Characters often attend social functions that Tolstoy attended, and he includes in these passages his own observations of the ideologies, behaviors, and ideas running through contemporary Russia through the thoughts of Konstantin Levin. The broad array of situations and ideas depicted in "Anna Karenina" allows Tolstoy to present a treatise on his era's Russia, and, by virtue of its very breadth and depth, all of human society. This stylistic technique, as well as the novel's use of perspective, greatly contributes to the thematic structure of "Anna Karenina".Fact|date=September 2008

Major themes

The novel, set among the highest circles of Russian society, is generally thought by the casual reader to be nothing more than the story of a tragic romance. However, Tolstoy was both a moralist and severe critic of the excesses of his aristocratic peers, and "Anna Karenina" can be interpreted overall as a parable on the difficulty of being honest to oneself when the rest of society accepts falseness.

One way to interpret Anna's tragedy, then, is that she could neither be completely honest nor completely false, showing a "Hamlet"-like inner conflict that eventually drives her to suicide.

The novel also contains the parallel and contrasting love story of Konstantin Levin. Levin is a wealthy landowner from the provinces who could move in aristocratic circles, but who prefers to work on his estate in the country. Levin tries unsuccessfully to fit into high society when wooing the young Kitty Shcherbatsky in Moscow.

The joyous, honest and solid relationship of Levin and Kitty is continually contrasted in the novel with that of Anna and Vronsky, which is tainted by its uncertain status resulting in constant upheaval, backbiting, and suspicion.

Other themes

"Anna Karenina" is filled with themes and imagery that illustrate Tolstoy's disdain of his aristocratic peers, and of a litany of human weaknesses.

Tolstoy skewers religious hypocrisy and insincerity in several characters, especially Karenin, Anna's husband, and the moralising Countess Lydia Ivanovna. He also draws contrasts between the peace and wholesomeness of the country and the decadence of urban society. But one of the themes Tolstoy expounds upon in the novel is the relationship between love and honesty, both the different varieties of them as well as the different degrees to which they coexist, and the happiness that does or doesn't result.

In many ways, "Anna Karenina" was the most personal novel Tolstoy wrote up to that point. The character Levin is recognised as a stand-in for Tolstoy himself, whose first name in Russian is "Lev." He incorporated other details of his life into the character, such as Levin's insistence that Kitty read his journals before they marry, something Tolstoy made his own wife do. Thus scholars often assume that Levin's thoughts reflect Tolstoy's own.

Embedded in the last section of the novel is an account of the skeptical Levin's conversion, amounting to a profound defense of orthodox Christianity, which is necessarily anti-intellectual because it explicitly rejects the ability of any rational analysis to adequately answer life's most important questions. Throughout the story, Levin has been searching for answers to these questions, and the death of his brother, as well as his own marriage and the birth of his infant son accelerates this quest. A chance exchange with a peasant supplies an answer, centered on the human goodness and truth which he himself already possesses, and which is obvious to any observer yet impossible to define, measure, or even defend to his intellectual friends. It is this insight, Tolstoy writes, roughly paraphrased as "living for one's soul rather than living for one's self" that overturns his former disbelief and allows him to proceed to live in full faith of the Christian religion.

"Anna Karenina" and Tolstoy's "A Confession"

Many of the novel's themes can be found in Tolstoy's "A Confession", his first-person rumination about the nature of life and faith, written just two years after the publication of "Anna Karenina".

He describes his real-life dissatisfaction with the hypocrisy of his class:

Tolstoy also details the acceptability of adulterous "liaisons" in aristocratic Russian society:

Another theme in "Anna Karenina" is that the aristocratic habit of speaking in French instead of Russian is another form of society's falseness. There is even one passage that could possibly be interpreted as a sign of Anna's eventual redemption in Tolstoy's eyes:"A Confession" contains many other autobiographical insights into the themes of "Anna Karenina". A public domain version of it is [http://www.ccel.org/ccel/tolstoy/confession.html here] .

Film, television, and stage adaptations

* "Anna Karenina" a ballet composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. A scene from it was performed in the film "The Turning Point".
* "Anna Karenina" (1968) a ballet composed by Rodion Shchedrin
* Operas based on "Anna Karenina" have been written by Sassano (Naples, 1905), Leos Janacek (unfinished, 1907), Granelli (1912), E. Malherbe (unperformed, 1914), Jeno Hubay (Budapest, 1915), Robbiani (Rome, 1924), Goldbach (1930), and David Carlson (Miami, 2007).
* "Love", a 1927 silent film based loosely on the novel. The film starred Greta Garbo and John Gilbert. [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0026071/]
* "Anna Karenina", a critically acclaimed 1935 film, directed by Clarence Brown. It is based on the novel Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. The film stars Greta Garbo, Fredric March, and Maureen O'Sullivan. [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0026071/]
*"Anna Karenina", a 1948 film directed by Julien Duvivier with Vivien Leigh, Ralph Richardson and Kieron Moore. [http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0040098/]
*"Anna Karenina", a 1967 Russian film directed by Aleksandr Zarkhi and starring Tatyana Samojlova, Nikolai Gritsenko and Vasili Lanovoy. [http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0061359/]
*"Anna Karenina", a 1977 TV version in ten episodes. Made by the BBC it was directed by Basil Coleman and starred Nicola Pagett, Eric Porter and Stuart Wilson. [http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0075476/]
*"Anna Karenina", a 1985 TV film directed by Simon Langton and starring Jacqueline Bisset, Paul Scofield and Christopher Reeve. [http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0088726/]
*"Anna Karenina", a 1992 Broadway musical starring Ann Crumb and John Cunningham
* "Anna Karenina", a 1997 British-American production filmed in St. Peterburg, Russia, by director Bernard Rose with Sophie Marceau as Anna Karenina. [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0118623/]
*"Anna Karenina", a 2000 TV version in four episodes. It was directed by David Blair and starred Helen McCrory, Stephen Dillane and Kevin McKidd. [http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0246353/]

Connections and allusions

*Karenin's name is derived from the Ancient Greek word for "head", thus illustrating his pervasive rationality.
*The novel became a best-seller in the United States in 2004 after a recommendation by TV personality Oprah Winfrey. (ISBN 0-14-303500-2)
*Anna Karenina is also mentioned in R. L. Stine's Goosebumps series "The Cuckoo Clock of Doom, and Don't Go To Sleep".
* An Indonesian 2006 Horror film "Hantu Jeruk Purut" has a character named Anna Karenina.
* "Anna Karenina" was used as a title for a Philippine TV show aired around 1996 until 2002, but its story is quite far off from Leo Tolstoy's original novel. [imdb title|id=0288912|title=Anna Karenina]
* Anna Karenina is mentioned by Klaus in the tenth "A Series of Unfortunate Events" book, "The Slippery Slope". He uses the main theme from Anna Karenina (A rural life of moral simplicity depite its monotony, is a preferable personal narrative to a daring life of impulsive passion which only leads to tragedy) as a password to open a locked door.
* The Anna Karenina principle, describing how in any system no one factor guarantees success but many guarantee failure, is based on the quotation in the novel "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way".
* Anna Karenina is mentioned in the film adaptation of "The English Patient", whose plot also involves an adulterous wife.
* Mikhail Bulgakov makes reference to the Oblonsky household and Tolstoy in "The Master and Margarita".
* In the short-story "Sleep" by Haruki Murakami, the main character, an insomniac housewife, spends much time reading through and considering "Anna Karenina". Furthermore, in the short story "Super-Frog Saves Tokyo", by the same author, the character of Frog references "Anna Karenina" when discussing how to beat Worm.
* In Milan Kundera's "The Unbearable Lightness of Being", a main character's dog is called Karenin, suggesting a similar attachment to an unwanted life.
* Karenna Gore Schiff, daughter of Tipper and Al Gore, is named for the main character; Tipper read the book during her pregnancy.
* In the manga "Mahou Sensei Negima", the first line is quoted by Evangeline before her fight against Setsuna in the Martial Arts Tournament.
* Bollywood actress Kareena Kapoor is also named after a character in this book.
* Jennifer Lopez is reading Anna Karenina on the subway in the Will and Grace episode "FYI: I Hurt Too" (Season 7, Episode 1).
* Martin Amis's character Lev, in the novel House of Meetings, compares the protagonist with Anna Karenina's Vronsky.
*Skins character Sid reads Anna Karenina to Tony while he is in a coma after being hit by a bus.

Further reading

Translations

* "Anna Karenina", Translated by Constance Garnett. Still widely reprinted.

* "Anna Karenina", Translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky (Allen Lane/Penguin, London, 2000)

* "Anna Karénina", Translated by Margaret Wettlin (Progress Publishers, 1978)

* "Anna Karenina", Translated by Joel Carmichael (Bantam Books, New York, 1960)

* "Anna Karenina", Translated by David Magarshack (A Signet Classic, New American Library, New York and Scarborough, Ontario, 1961)

* "Anna Karenina", Translated by Louise and Aylmer Maude (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1918)

* "Anna Karenin", Translated by Rosemary Edmonds (Penguin Classics, Harmondsworth, Middlesex, 1954)

* "Anna Karénina", Translated by Nathan Haskell Dole (Thomas Y. Crowell & Co., New York, 1886)

* "Anna Karenina", Translated by Kyril Zinovieff (Oneworld Classics 2008)ISBN 978-1-84749-059-9

Biographical and literary criticism

* Bakhtin, Mikhail, "The Dialogic Imagination", ed. Michael Holquist, trans. Caryl Emerson and Michael Holquist (University of Texas Press, Austin, 1981)
* Bayley, John, "Tolstoy and the Novel" (Chatto and Windus, London, 1966)
* Berlin, Isaiah, "The Hedgehog and the Fox: An Essay on Tolstoy's View of History" (Simon and Schuster, New York, 1966; Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London, 1967)
* Eikhenbaum, Boris, "Tolstoi in the Seventies", trans. Albert Kaspin (Ardis, Ann Arbor, 1982)
* Evans, Mary, "Anna Karenina" (Routledge, London and New York, 1989)
* Gifford, Henry, "Tolstoy" (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1982)
* Gifford, Henry (ed) "Leo Tolstoy" (Penguin Critical Anthologies, Harmondsworth, 1971)
* Leavis, F. R., "Anna Karenina and Other Essays" (Chatto and Windus, London, 1967)
* Mandelker, Amy, "Framing 'Anna Karenina': Tolstoy, the Woman Question, and the Victorian Novel" (Ohio State University Press, Columbus, 1993)
* Nabokov, Vladimir, "Lectures on Russian Literature" (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London and Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, New York, 1981)
* Orwin, Donna Tussing, "Tolstoy's Art and Thought, 1847-1880" (Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1993)
* Speirs, Logan, "Tolstoy and Chekhov" (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1971)
* Strakhov, Nikolai, N., "Levin and Social Chaos", in Gibian, ed., (W.W. Norton & Company New York, 2005).
* Steiner, George, "Tolstoy or Dostoevsky: An Essay in Contrast" (Faber and Faber, London, 1959)
* Thorlby, Anthony, "Anna Karenina" (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge and New York, 1987)
* Tolstoy, Leo, "Correspondence", 2. vols., selected, ed. and trans. by R. F. Christian (Athlone Press, London and Scribner, New York, 1978)
* Tolstoy, Leo, "Diaries", ed. and trans. by R. F. Christian (Athlone Press, London and Scribner, New York, 1985)
* Tolstoy, Sophia A., "The Diaries of Sophia Tolstoy", ed. O. A. Golinenko, trans. Cathy Porter (Random House, New York, 1985)
* Wasiolek, Edward, "Critical Essays on Tolstoy" (G. K. Hall, Boston, 1986)
* Wasiolek, Edward, "Tolstoy's Major Fiction" (University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1978)

References

External links

"Anna Karenina" in English

* [http://www.literature.org/authors/tolstoy-leo/anna-karenina/ "Anna Karenina" formatted for online reading] (At literature.org.)"
* [http://www.asiaing.com/anna-karenina.html Anna Karenina] - Free eBook in PDF version.
* [http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/anna/ Sparknotes: Anna Karenina] An analysis of the book.

"Anna Karenina" in Russian

* [http://www.litportal.ru/index.html?a=226&t=1195 «Анна Каренина» at LitPortal.ru]
* [http://ilibrary.ru/text/1099/index.html Full Russian text of "Anna Karenina"] at Alexey Komarov's Internet Library

Critiques

*

Related works

* [http://www.ccel.org/ccel/tolstoy/confession.html Tolstoy's "A Confession"]
* [http://www.ibn.ru Literature] at IBN.ru


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