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Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
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Anna Karenina (1877)

by Leo Tolstoy, Leo Tolstoy

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
24,74042544 (4.16)5 / 1341
  1. 141
    Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (roby72)
  2. 143
    Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (Booksloth, luzestrella)
    luzestrella: when I got to the middle of the book I was shocked. It seens like the climax of all the main conclicts were already there. Why didn't the author cut the novel right there with that happy ending? Unnusual for a ficcion novel indeep. But for that particular reason, for me it has it's charm. The other half of the novel goes on describing what happened with the characters after they got what they wanted.… (more)
  3. 70
    The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton (roby72)
  4. 60
    The Princesse de Cleves by Madame de La Fayette (andejons)
    andejons: Similar premises: married, upper class women fall in love with men of less than perfect moral standing. The outcomes are very different though.
  5. 62
    Emma by Jane Austen (roby72)
  6. 51
    The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber (pingdjip)
    pingdjip: Like Tolstoy, Faber goes under his characters' skin, ponders their social manoeuvering, and follows the pitfalls and triumphs of their lives. Difference: Faber is funny and sometimes provocative and teasing in a "postmodern" way.
  7. 31
    What Happened to Anna K.: A Novel by Irina Reyn (sparemethecensor)
    sparemethecensor: Irina Reyn updates the classic _Anna Karenina_ to the Russian diaspora of New York City.
  8. 20
    Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann (Henrik_Madsen)
    Henrik_Madsen: To romaner af murstensstørrelse der analyserer og beskriver overklassefamiliernes komplicerede liv.
  9. 42
    The unbearable lightness of being by Milan Kundera (alalba)
  10. 10
    La Regenta by Leopoldo Alas (alalba)
  11. 10
    Eirelan by Liam O'Shiel (allthesepieces)
    allthesepieces: Both books build complex stories that delve into the nature of loyalty in relationships.
  12. 11
    The Maias by Eca de Queiros (Anonymous user)
  13. 11
    A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth (uri-starkey)
  14. 13
    Eine Frage der Schuld: Roman - Mit der «Kurzen Autobiographie der Gräfin S. A. Tolstaja»: Anläßlich der "Kreutzersonate" von Lew Tolstoi. Mit einem Nachwort von Ursula Keller by Sofja Tolstaja (Monika_L)
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English (391)  Italian (10)  Spanish (7)  Dutch (5)  French (3)  Swedish (2)  Catalan (2)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Danish (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Finnish (1)  German (1)  All languages (425)
Showing 1-5 of 391 (next | show all)
The best novel of the best author. Half of the novel, the best half, is about Levin and not about Anna. Tolstoy nails it on the next to last page when Levin says to himself, "To me individually, to my heart has been revealed a knowledge beyond all doubt, and unattainable by reason, and here I am obstinately trying to express that knowledge in reason and words." ( )
  lakeview1970 | Aug 23, 2015 |
One of the great novels. When I bought this copy in a Charity Shop the shop assistant said it was filmed at Didcot Railway Centre. She kept on about it. 'All of it?" i asked. She didn't know.
  jon1lambert | Aug 10, 2015 |
Beyond excellent. Find Gary Morson's piece at https://www.commentarymagazine.com/article/the-moral-urgency-of-anna-karenina/
for a great perspective.
  ted_newell | Jun 20, 2015 |
Anna Karenina is the tragic story of the socialite’s marriage to Karenin and her affair with the wealthy Count Vronsky. The novel begins in the midst of their families break up due to her brother’s constant womanising; a situation that preferences her own situation throughout the novel. Running in parallel to this story of Konstantin Levin, a humble country landowner that wishes to marry Kitty, who is Anna’s sister in-law. Anna Karenina is a pinnacle piece of realist literature, exploring a wide range of family issues.

At over 800 pages, Anna Karenina can be a daunting novel to pick up; the large cast of characters does not make it any easier. I look at this classic novel as an exploration into melodrama that just about every family experiences. Born in 1828, Lev (Leo) Nikolaevich Tolstoy was born into a large and wealthy Russian landowning family, and has often been suggested that Anna Karenina is based on a similar social upbringing. While there are vast differences, issues with wealth, religion, farming and morality are issues that seem to parallel between reality and fiction. The story arch of Levin is considered to be autobiographical; Tolstoy’s first name is Lev (although in English he is known as Leo) and the Russian surname Levin actually means Lev.

Leo Tolstoy has been known for adding real life events into his fiction as a way with dealing with current political and social issues. Within Anna Karenina, events like the liberal reforms initiated by Emperor Alexander II of Russia and the judicial reform are used as the backdrop for the novel. This allows him to explore current issues, like the developing of Russian into the industrial age and the role of agriculture in these changing times. Also Tolstoy questions the role of the woman in this changing society and (the ever popular in Russian lit) class struggles.

The story of Anna Karenina is probably the most interesting for me and I enjoyed reading the struggle between love and the public opinion. She was trapped in a marriage and wanted to divorce but Karenin, who was a politician cared more about his public image. Then there is the fact that Anna’s brothers womanising destroyed the family and now she is faced with a similar situation that could cause the same damage. Adultery becomes a big theme within the book and seems to be a common theme within Russian literature to this day. However with Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter (1850) and Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary (1857), these three novels seemed to start a fascination in exploring the themes of passion and adultery in the mid to late nineteenth century.

There is a lot to explore within this book, and re-reading Anna Karenina was such an enjoyable experience. I know big books often scare me but there is something about going back to a much-loved novel that I find enjoyable. Leo Tolstoy intentionally made this novel long, he wanted to replicate life’s journey and the struggles people face along the way. I think he was able to capture that struggle and Anna Karenina will remain a favourite on my shelves and in Russian literature. There are so many more themes that could be explored within the novel but I will leave that for others to discover on their own.

This review originally appeared on my blog; http://literary-exploration.com/2015/05/28/anna-karenina-by-leo-tolstoy/ ( )
  knowledge_lost | May 30, 2015 |
http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/2474801.html

I'd read Anna Karenina once before, maybe 25 years ago, and felt then what I felt on this reading: very absorbed by Anna herself, whose story always pulled me in even though I knew what happens at the end; and generally repelled by the other main character, Levin, who is Tolstoy's representation of himself without the talent (as his wife put it). I must say that of the two of them it is Levin who I want to shake; he is immensely privileged, finds a woman who loves him, and yet is perpetually dissatisfied with his lot. Anna, on the other hand, makes some quite brave decisions (even if she arguably gets a lot of them wrong) and her tragedy is not that her adultery is karmically punished (as I have heard some people assert) but that the society in which she lives denies her the legal and emotional fulfilment she deserves. Vronsky and Karenin are both bad choices for her, and the consequences are terrible; but did she really have many other attractive options? As Joshua Rothman observes in a long article in the New Yorker, she is one of the best characters in fiction, totally understandable and sympathetic.

I did find that I disliked Levin a bit less this time round. I still find him one of the least likeable characters in literature, but perhaps he does undergo a moral lesson in the course of the book, learning to be satisfied with being like other people; he ends in the bosom of his happy family, just like all the others mentioned in the book's first sentence. Yet it's a bit unsatisfactory for me. Essentially Levin learns to respond to the challenges he sets himself by just not setting them any more, rather than by calibrating either his goals or his methods to fit the world as it is rather than the world as it should be. I can't see it as a completely happy ending.

One Levin section that I had completely forgotten, but which held me captivated, is the run of half a dozen chapters at the end of Part 6 where he and Vronsky are separately dragged into the Kashin provincial elections, in which Levin's brother is organising the campaign for a progressive candidate (progressive is of course a relative term here). Levin doesn't have a clue what is going on, and Tolstoy does a brilliant job of showing us the detail of the political process through the eyes of someone who doesn't actually understand it. It's a bit of a sidestep from the main plot - how shocking to find that happening in a Tolstoy novel! - but this psephologist appreciated it. ( )
  nwhyte | May 30, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 391 (next | show all)
Each time I reread Anna Karenina, picking my way past the attics and cellars and rusting machinery of Tolstoy's obsessions and prejudices, a new layer of his craft emerges, to the point where, for all my admiration of Joyce, Beckett and Kelman, I begin to question whether the novel form isn't too artisanal a medium for the surface experimentation of the modernist project ever to transcend the flexing of space and time that apparently conventional language can achieve in the hands of a master.
 

» Add other authors (93 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tolstoy, Leoprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tolstoy, Leomain authorall editionsconfirmed
Bayley, JohnPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bayley, JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dole, Nathan HaskellTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Edmonds, RosemaryTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Farrell, James T.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gallero, VíctorTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Garnett, ConstanceTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ginzburg , LeoneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gurin, JacobTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gurin, Morris S.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hašková, TatjanaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Horovitch, DavidNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Huisman, WilsTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kool, Halbo C.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leclée, JacobTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Magarshack, DavidTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Matulay, LaszloIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maude, AylmerTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maude, AylmerTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maude, LouiseTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maude, Louise ShanksTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
May, NadiaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pevear, RichardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Porter, DavinaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pyykkö, LeaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Roseen, UllaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schwartz, MarianTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Troyat, HenriIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Volohonsky, LarissaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Vengeance is mine; I will repay. ~ Deuteronomy 32:35
Dedication
First words
Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. (C. Garnett, 1946) and (J. Carmichael, 1960)
Все счастливые семьи похожи друг на друга, каждая несчастливая семья несчастлива по-своему. Всё смешалось в доме Облонских.
All happy families resemble one another, but each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
All happy families resemble one another, every unhappy family is unhappy after its own fashion. (N. H. Dole, 1886)
All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. (Pevear, Volokhonsky, 2000)
Quotations
"Respect was invented to cover the empty place where love should be." [Anna, p744 (2000)]
"He has long ceased loving me. And where love stops, hatred begins." [Anna, p763 (2000)]
Every minute of Alexei Alexandrovich's life was occupied and scheduled. And in order to have time to do what he had to do each day, he held to the strictest punctuality. 'Without haste and without rest' was his motto. [p109 (2000)]
Every man, knowing to the smallest detail all the complexity of the conditions surrounding him, involuntarily assumes that the complexity of these conditions and the difficulty of comprehending them are only his personal, accidental peculiarity, and never thinks that others are surrounded by the same complexity as he is. [p302 (2000)]
Vronsky meanwhile, despite the full realization of what he had desired for so long, was not fully happy. He soon felt that the realization of his desire had given him only a grain of the mountain of happiness he had expected. It showed him the the eternal error people make in imagining that happiness is the realization of desires. [...] He soon felt arise in his soul a desire for desires, an anguish. [p465 (2000)]
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This is the work for the complete Anna Karenina. Please do not combine with any of the works representing the individual volumes (see combination rules regarding part/whole issues for details), or with abridged versions. Thank you.

The original Russian title was “Анна Каренина”.

Please keep the Norton Critical Edition books un-combined with the rest of them - it is significantly different with thorough explanatory annotations, essays by other authors, and reviews by other authors. Thank you.
This is the work of Leo Tolstoy, not Henri Troyat.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0143035002, Paperback)

Some people say Anna Karenina is the single greatest novel ever written, which makes about as much sense to me as trying to determine the world's greatest color. But there is no doubt that Anna Karenina, generally considered Tolstoy's best book, is definitely one ripping great read. Anna, miserable in her loveless marriage, does the barely thinkable and succumbs to her desires for the dashing Vronsky. I don't want to give away the ending, but I will say that 19th-century Russia doesn't take well to that sort of thing.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:39 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Anna Karenina tells of the doomed love affair between the sensuous and rebellious Anna and the dashing officer, Count Vronsky. Tragedy unfolds as Anna rejects her passionless marriage and must endure the hypocrisies of society. Set against a vast and richly textured canvas of nineteenth-century Russia, the novel's seven major characters create a dynamic imbalance, playing out the contrasts of city and country life and all the variations on love and family happiness. While previous versions have softened the robust, and sometimes shocking, quality of Tolstoy's writing, Pevear and Volokhonsky have produced a translation true to his powerful voice. This award-winning team's authoritative edition also includes an illuminating introduction and explanatory notes. Beautiful, vigorous, and eminently readable, this Anna Karenina will be the definitive text for generations to come.… (more)

» see all 37 descriptions

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