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Anna Karenina (Modern Library Classics) by…

Anna Karenina (Modern Library Classics) (original 1877; edition 2000)

by Leo Tolstoy (Author), Leonard J. Kent (Editor), Nina Berberova (Editor), Constance Garnett (Translator), Mona Simpson (Introduction)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
32,39155359 (4.15)7 / 1595
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)
Title:Anna Karenina (Modern Library Classics)
Authors:Leo Tolstoy (Author)
Other authors:Leonard J. Kent (Editor), Nina Berberova (Editor), Constance Garnett (Translator), Mona Simpson (Introduction)
Info:Modern Library (2000), Edition: 1st, 976 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (1877)

  1. 182
    Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (roby72)
  2. 153
    Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (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. 90
    The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton (roby72)
  4. 60
    The Princesse de Clèves 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. 40
    Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann (Henrik_Madsen)
    Henrik_Madsen: To romaner af murstensstørrelse der analyserer og beskriver overklassefamiliernes komplicerede liv.
  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. 40
    La Regenta by Leopoldo Alas (alalba)
  8. 62
    Emma by Jane Austen (roby72)
  9. 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.
  10. 10
    Eirelan by Liam O'Shiel (snarkhunting)
    snarkhunting: Both books build complex stories that delve into the nature of loyalty in relationships.
  11. 43
    The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera (alalba)
  12. 21
    Een zuivere liefde by Sofja Tolstaja (Monika_L)
  13. 21
    The Maias by Eca de Queiros (Anonymous user)
  14. 11
    A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth (uri-starkey)
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English (508)  Italian (11)  Spanish (8)  Dutch (8)  French (4)  Catalan (3)  Swedish (3)  German (2)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Danish (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Hebrew (1)  Czech (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (553)
Showing 1-5 of 508 (next | show all)
I gave this book five stars despite not liking any of the characters. I pitied Anna Karenina's husband but found him rather cold and no prize. Anna herself epitomizes the line in John "Moon" Martin's 1978 song "Bad Case of Loving You" (the late Robert Palmer's 1979 hit cover of which is probably the best known recorded version) that "a pretty face don't make no pretty heart". I alternately pitied her and felt she had it coming. Constance Garret's lively translation of the original Russian (in which it was first published, in serial form, from 1875 to 1877) made even the greatly detailed descriptions of life at that time, readable. Tolstoy, the quarterback of world literature, was at the top of his game in one of the greatest love stories ever written. A must-read. ( )
  Jimbookbuff1963 | Jun 5, 2021 |
licit and illicit love in Russia
  ritaer | Jun 4, 2021 |
My Review from 2012:
This book is called the greatest novel ever written for a reason. I am not going to argue or add anything terribly profound. The book is long but it is good. 5-stars. There was so much about this novel that made me go WOW.

Tolstoy expresses what I cannot. He explains the emotions and reasonings behind events in his characters lives, in such a way that makes me want to stand up a applaud.

Birth, death, marriage. Parenting, politics, war. Suicide, divorce, love, revenge, religion, faith. He covers it all, and he left me amazed at how he wrote my own thoughts down on paper. I highlighted this book heavily.

The book has two main characters. Anna Karenina, trapped in an unhappy marriage, and Levin, managing his estate while grappling with the meaning of life. The characters are largely unrelated. They meet once. Her lover and his lover were once nearly engaged. They are related in a round-a-bout way through marriage. Her brother's wife's sister is married to him.

Tolstoy cuts through every facade a person puts up and tells us who that person truelly is. He is neither too easy nor too hard. I wonder how he would sum up my personality, lately I have found myself pondering that often.

I didn't start out as a fan-girl, I definetly wasn't reading it to be pretentious. It has been on my reading list for quite a while, like any good reader working through the classics, but I actually started reading it because [a:Ben H. Winters|735413|Ben H. Winters|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1273516874p2/735413.jpg] did such a good job writing the mashup[b:Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters|7826402|Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters|Ben H. Winters|http://www.goodreads.com/assets/nocover/60x80.png|6615075] that I was super eager to read his other mashup [b:Android Karenina|9843981|Android Karenina|Ben H. Winters|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1291658874s/9843981.jpg|19289943].. Well I had to read the original first, which is how I ended up here.

The book took me quite a while to read, longer then a book usually takes me. In the middle section I had to keep forcing myself to read it, I kept picking up crappy YA novels instead. The book was brilliant and from the beginning it blew me away, but I couldn't see where the book was going, I had no idea what the point of the story was.

The novel is called 'Anna Karenin' (and their appears to be some disagreement about whether it is Karenin or Karenina) but it actually about two practically unrelated characters. The first is of course Anna Karenin and the other is Konstantin Levin. I think I would venture to say that the novel is about these two characters searching for meaning in their lives. I am under the impression that the novel at some stage went by the name "Ivan the Fool' (referring to Levin) which confirms these thoughts but saddens me as I thought the character of Levin was brilliant.

I will end this with some thoughts:

On fashion:
Anna had never met this new star of fashion, and was struck by her beauty, the exaggerated extreme to which her dress was carried, and the boldness of her manners. On her head there was such a superstructure of soft, golden hair --her own and false mixed -- that her heard was equal in size to the elegantly rounded bust, of which so much was exposed in front. The impulsive abruptness of her movements was such that at every step the line of her knees and the upper part of her legs were distinctly marked under her dress, and the question involuntarily rose to the mind where in the undulating, piled-up mountain of material at the back the real body of the woman, so small and slender, so nake in fron, and so hidden behind and below, really came to an end.

On depression:
"You can't understand. I feel I'm lying head downwards in a sort of pit, but I ought not to save myself. And I can't..."
"Never mind, we'll slip something under and pull you out.."

On parenting (he has plenty to say about that):
"All one has to do is not spoile children, not to distort their nature, and they'll be delightful."

Everything in Darya Alexandrovna's house and children struck him now as by no means so charming as a little while before. "And what does she talk French with the children for?" he thought;
how unnatural and false it is! And the children feel it so: Learning French and unlearning sincerity," he thought to himself, unaware that Darya Alexandrovna had thought all that over twenty times already, and yet, even at the cost of some loss of sincerity, believe it necessary to teacher her children French in that way.

On city people:
Levin smiled contemptuously. "I know," he thought, "that fashion not only in him, but in all city people, who, after being twice in ten years in the country, pick up two or three phrases and use them in season and out of season, firmly persuaded that they know all about it."

On breastfeeding:
"...I weaned her last carnival."
"How old is she?"
"Why, two years old."
"Why did you nurse her so long?"
"It's our custom; for three fasts..."

On politics:
"Is he aiming at doing anything, or simply undoing what's been done?"

On free-thinking (I love this one, written one hundred years ago and yet relevant today):
"In former days the free-thinker was a man who had been brought up in ideas of religion, law, and morality, and only through conflict and struggle came to free-thought; but now there was sprung up a new type of born free-thinkers who grow up without even having heard of principles of morality or of religion, of the existence of authorities, who grow up directly in ideas of negation in everything, that is to say, savages."

On sex dolls (okay this is actually about painting, but..):
A man could not be prevented from making himself a big wax doll, and kissing it. But if the man were to come with the doll and sit before a man in love, and begin caressing his doll as the love caressed the woman he love, it would be distasteful to the lover.

On marriage:
As a bachelor, when he had watched other people's married life, seen the petty cares, the squabbles, the jealousy, he had only smiled contemptuosly in his heart. In his future married life there could be, he was convinced, nothing of that sort; even the external forms, indeed, he fancied, must be utterly unlike the life of others in everything.

On quarrels:
This first quarrely arose from Levin's having gone out to a new farmhours and having been away half an hour too long, because he had tried to get home by a short cut and had lost his way. He drove home thinking of nothing but her, of her love, of his own happiness, and the nearer her drew to home, the warmer was his tenderness for her. He ran into the room with the same feeling. And suddenly he was met by a lowering expression he had never seen in her. He would have kissed her; she pushed him away.
"What is it?"
"You've been enjoying yourself," she began, trying to be calm and spiteful. But as soon as she opened her mouth, a stream of reproach, of senseless jealousy, of all that had been torturing her during that half hour which she had spent sitting motionless at the window, burst from her.

When one was in a good temper, and the other in a bad temper, the peace was not broken; but when both happened to be in an ill-humour, quarrels sprang up from such incomprehensibly trifling causes, that they could never remember afterwards what they had quarreled about.

I will stop now, I have four times as many highlights. An excellent and inciteful book.
( )
  alsocass | May 27, 2021 |
Though I thoroughly enjoyed this book- particularly the social commentaries hidden within the text regarding the difference between men and women and how society views each- I found myself struggling to stay focused at parts, primarily the descriptions of the political issues of the time. My friends and I argued back and forth on how the novel was also meant to represent the rise of communism, and maybe that was so, but I did not feel that was the main theme of the book. There were multiple chapters that could have been taken out of the story and their absence would not have been missed. That aside, I found myself captivated with the characters of the story and very impressed with just how unbiased Tolstoy remained in his narration. Any assumptions the reader made about the characters was brought on by their actions and dialogue rather than Tolstoy's descriptions. ( )
  sammers99 | May 3, 2021 |
A magnificent novel, but I am not entirely convinced by the telling of two stories at once. However, many insights into the lives of Russians at this time.
  jgoodwll | Apr 30, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 508 (next | show all)
De nieuwe vertaling van Anna Karenina leest als een trein, dankzij allerlei knappe vondsten van vertaler Hans Boland.

» Add other authors (236 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tolstoy, Leoprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Arout, Gabrielsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bayley, JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carmichael, JoelTranslatorsecondary 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
Greenwood, E. B.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gurin, JacobTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gurin, Morris S.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gyllenhaal, MaggieNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hašková, TatjanaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hill, JamesCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Horovitch, DavidNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hughes, JennyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Huisman, WilsTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kool, Halbo C.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leclée, JacobTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Magarshack, DavidTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mandelker, AmyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Matulay, LaszloIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maude, AylmerTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maude, Louise ShanksTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
May, NadiaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pevear, RichardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Porter, DavinaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pyykkö, LeaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reimann, RolfIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Roseen, UllaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schwartz, MarianTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Trausil, HansContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Troyat, HenriIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Volohonsky, LarissaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zinovieff, KyrilTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Vengeance is mine; I will repay. ~ Deuteronomy 32:35
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)
"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
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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.

Please keep the Norton Critical Edition 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.
Publisher's editors
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
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.

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Book description
Wikipedia: Anna Karenina (Russian: «Анна Каренина», IPA: [ˈanːə kɐˈrʲenʲɪnə])[1] is a novel by the Russian author Leo Tolstoy, first published in book form in 1878. Many writers consider Anna Karenina the greatest work of literature ever,[2] and Tolstoy himself called it his first true novel. It was initially released in serial installments from 1873 to 1877 in the periodical The Russian Messenger.

A complex novel in eight parts, with more than a dozen major characters, it is spread over more than 800 pages (depending on the translation and publisher), typically contained in two volumes. It deals with themes of betrayal, faith, family, marriage, Imperial Russian society, desire, and rural vs. city life. The plot centers on an extramarital affair between Anna and dashing cavalry officer Count Alexei Kirillovich Vronsky that scandalizes the social circles of Saint Petersburg and forces the young lovers to flee to Italy in a search for happiness. Returning to Russia, their lives further unravel.

Trains are a recurring motif throughout the novel, which takes place against the backdrop of rapid transformations as a result of the liberal reforms initiated by Emperor Alexander II of Russia, with several major plot points taking place either on passenger trains or at stations in Saint Petersburg or elsewhere in Russia. The novel has been adapted into various media including theatre, opera, film, television, ballet, figure skating and radio drama. The first of many film adaptations was released in 1911 but has not survived.
Haiku summary
The moral of this:
Adultery drives one mad.
And watch out for trains.

Peasants have it grand.
A day labouring with them.
Then three-course dinner.

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4 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

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