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Anna Karenina Hardcover – Apr 28 1992
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“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
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"One of the greatest love stories in world literature."
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
When Stepan Oblonsky has an affair with the governess, his wife says that she's leaving him, and now the family is about to disintegrate. Stepan's sister Anna arrives to smooth over their marital problems, and consoles his wife Dolly until she agrees to stay. But on the train there, she met the outspoken Countess Vronsky, and the countess's dashing son, who is semi-engaged to Dolly's sister Kitty.
Anna and Vronsky start to fall in love -- despite the fact that Anna has been married for ten years, to a wealthy husband she doesn't care about, and has a young son. Even so, Anna rejects her loveless marriage and becomes the center of scandal and public hypocrisy, and even becomes pregnany by Vronsky. As she prepares to jump ship and get a divorce, Anna becomes a victim of her own passions...
That isn't the entire story, actually -- Tolstoy weaves in other plots, about disintegrating families, new marriages, and the melancholy Levin's constant search for God, truth, and goodness. Despite the grim storyline about adultery, and the social commentary, there's an almost transcendent quality to some of Tolstoy's writing. It's the most optimistic tragic book I've ever read.
For some reason, Tolstoy called this his "first novel," even though he had already written some before that. Perhaps it's because "Anna Karenina" tackles so many questions and themes, and does so without ever dropping the ball.Read more ›
Amidst the often supercilious affectations of Russian nobility in Petersburg and Moscow, Tolstoy's refutation of the timeless notion of "greener pastures" plays out with striking effect. Of course, the impact of any 19th-century literature is directly proportional to one's predilections. However, Anna Karenina will engross, may even occasionally bore, but will never be less than a lesson well taught for those of the mind for reflection.
Anna turns to Vronsky─a dashing military man─as a refuge from her passionless marriage to a pompous, despotic bureaucrat--a move that results not only in the loss of her position in the world, but also in total social ostracism. A situation that fills her with self-doubt, and which ends up destroying her confidence.
A parallel plot follows the contrasting fortunes of Levin (Tolstoy's alter ego, with his deep love of the land) and Kitty, whose marriage thrives and prospers because of mutual commitment, sympathy, and respect. In Anna Karenina, Tolstoy reaches deep into his own experiences and his observations of family and friends to create a picture of Russian society that reaches from the high life in St. Petersburg and Moscow to the idyllic rural existence of Kitty and Levin.
Tolstoy shows Anna Karenina as a young woman who finds herself in a loveless and hopeless marriage. But this fact might not have seemed so intolerable had she not met and fallen in love with Count Vronsky. But she did and the affair commenced. In contrast to Anna's tragic affair, we hear about the relationship between Kitty and Levin, a conjugal, idealized love match. Levin is first rejected by Kitty because she has her heart set on Count Vronsky whose affections are already taken by Anna Karenina. Brokenhearted, Kitty eventually turns back to Levin for love and marriage.
In the character of Anna, Tolstoy creates a woman fated for tragedy.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
The book was in perfect condition, such a lovely edition! One of the best quality books I have ever purchased. Received product within 2 days!Published 20 months ago by Alexa Nicoll
Everyone should own a copy! Tolstoy is a great writer and this book should be treated like a bible! Great christmas gift tooPublished on Dec 5 2012 by V
I loved how the writer tells the story in different perspectives through each charater. It is written as if you can feel what each of the characters feel and you know them inside... Read morePublished on Dec 6 2010 by Victoria
Despite some boring points during the book, like Vronskiy's horse race, Levin going hunting with his friends or threshing with his estate's peasants, the chapters where the male... Read morePublished on July 13 2004 by Anyechka
The novel is about forbidden love. For a women this love becomes a "need to be loved" while for a man "searching for one worth it". Read morePublished on Oct. 27 2003 by N. Delen
Leo Tolstoy truly was one of the greatest social critics of his time and his influence easily rivalled that of Tsar Nicholas II and the Russian Orthodox Church. Read morePublished on May 7 2003 by Ray Farmer
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