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Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
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Anna Karenina (original 1877; edition 2004)

by Leo Tolstoy, Richard Pevear (Translator), Larissa Volokhonsky (Translator)

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24,25540845 (4.16)5 / 1339
Member:bostonbibliophile
Title:Anna Karenina
Authors:Leo Tolstoy
Other authors:Richard Pevear (Translator), Larissa Volokhonsky (Translator)
Info:Penguin Classics (2004), Paperback, 862 pages
Collections:Weeded, Favorites
Rating:*****
Tags:fiction, Russia, translation

Work details

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (1877)

  1. 131
    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 (376)  Italian (8)  Spanish (7)  Dutch (5)  French (4)  Swedish (2)  Catalan (2)  Danish (1)  German (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (409)
Showing 1-5 of 376 (next | show all)
Reading this book made me understand why Tolstoy is such a great writer. He understood history and psychology to write a classic. ( )
  m.t.sPace | Feb 3, 2015 |
It's questionable whether there's anything to say about Anna Karenina, but I firmly believe book reviews are as much for the reviewer as the review reader, and that everyone has a unique experience with a book, whether they're the first or the (seemingly) last to read it. My experience starts off with an abortive attempt to read this novel a few years ago. I was stymied by my lack of knowledge about Russian society and the time period, and my bemusement at the sections in which characters discuss rational farming methods, rural councils, or regional elections. On my second attempt, I found those parts easier to get through (perhaps because I've done some additional reading of Russian novels, including Turgenev's Fathers and Sons, and a biography of Catherine the Great, which gave some insight into the issues surrounding Russian serfdom). In any event, I realized this time that these parts, which had seemed interminable the first time through, are usually not more than a few pages long, with a couple of exceptions, and they didn't detract from the story much.

I enjoyed all the characters, in that I thought they were all well-drawn and interesting. My major complaint was the last 50 pages, when Anna's story has wrapped up and the only thing left is a far too preachy and lecturing section with Levin. If it weren't for that, I'd probably rate this a 5-star read.

Recommended for: fans of period costume dramas, people who like morals with their stories, anyone who can appreciate a novel that takes its time to develop storylines.

Quote: "Before ... a freethinker was a man who had been brought up on ideas of religion, law and morality and came to be a freethinker through inner struggle and hard work; but now you get a new type of born freethinkers who grow up without ever having even heard that there used to be laws of morality or religion, that there used to be authorities. They grow up in ideas of negation of everything, or in other words, savages." ( )
  ursula | Jan 26, 2015 |
My husband bought this edition. It is a wonderful translation. I like it much better than the one that I read about 20 years ago. I read it in preparation for a trip to Russia in August 2014. ( )
  anitatally | Jan 25, 2015 |
’Tis the season to slow down the hectic pace, relax a little, and enjoy some of our favorite things. For that very reason, I decided to indulge myself and re-read one of my treasured Russian classics - "Anna Karenina".

In Karenina Tolstoy presents an array of characters from the later half of 19th Century Russia who provide plenty of scenarios that illustrate various customs, controversies, social attitudes, and religious beliefs… those we find in both good and bad behavior. And apropos to Santa’s list, Tolstoy, being of high moral and ethical standards, was not about to let the naughty Anna K. be rewarded for her inappropriate behavior.

Poor, poor Anna… beautiful, sexy, intelligent, kind, and caring. Lovely Anna. Her biggest crime against humanity was falling in love with Vronsky - a wildly attractive playboy - giving in to her passion and deserting her family. That was unforgivable in Tolstoy’s eyes, even though Anna was trapped in an arranged marriage with a man old enough to be her father whom she found to be boring and repulsive.

During this era in Russia there was clearly a double standard for women. The opening scene of the book involves Anna’s married brother Stepan who - caught having an affair with the French maid and trying to justify it as unavoidable says, “there are two women. One (the wife) insists only on her rights, and those rights are your love, which you can’t give her; and the other (the mistress) sacrifices everything for you and asks for nothing. What are you to do? How are you to act? There is a fearful tragedy in it.” A tragedy indeed.

Juxtaposed with Anna is sweet innocent good-hearted Kitty who also falls in love with Vronsky but is spared the creative wrath of Tolstoy. She finds a more appropriate love and is justly rewarded. And Stepan’s polar opposite it Konstantin Levin - the social conscience of the novel - mirroring Tolstoy’s own beliefs. He’s a highly respected country gentleman who works his own farmland alongside the laborers and enjoys nothing more than intellectual debates with his many friends and acquaintances. Aside from the role of heroically saving Kitty, he is Tolstoy’s outlet for expressing political, religious and philosophical views... touching on issues like government waste and corruption, the starving peasantry, education, industrial modernization, and Russia’s role in foreign affairs.

Set in the heart of Russia towards the conclusion of the Tsarist autocracy, the story is rich in history. The traveling back and forth between Moscow, St. Petersburg, and the lush countryside offer the reader a backdrop of graphic descriptions, memorable scenes of birth and death, love trysts and domestic quarrels, social gatherings and political meetings, hunting expeditions, horse races, the opera, and vacations… everything that made up the typical life style of upper class Russian citizens of the time.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky declared the book "flawless as a work of art." His opinion was shared by Vladimir Nabokov, who especially admired "the flawless magic of Tolstoy's style," and by William Faulkner, who described the novel as "the best ever written. ( )
1 vote LadyLo | Jan 9, 2015 |
READ IN DUTCH

On Ezzulia, a Dutch Bookcommunity, we had decide to read Anna Karenina in anticipation to the - then - upcoming movie. Bravely I started reading, but it wasn't what I had expected it to be.

First, Anna was a bitch. I didn't like reading about her, and her story was only a little part of the book.
Second, I was not all that interested in 19th century Russian agriculture.

I like my classic every now and then, but I thought this one was quite boring. I had to push myself to finish reading it, after about three months (!).
It reminded me of Couperus' book Eline Vere. ( )
  Floratina | Jan 4, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 376 (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
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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:29:46 -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)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 37 descriptions

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