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Anna Karenina (Signet Classics)

Anna Karenina (Signet Classics) (original 1877; edition 2005)

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28,92651055 (4.15)5 / 1540
Title:Anna Karenina (Signet Classics)
Info:Chamberlain Bros. (2005), Paperback, 976 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:russian literature, classic fiction

Work details

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (1877)

  1. 172
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    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)
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    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.
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    sparemethecensor: Irina Reyn updates the classic _Anna Karenina_ to the Russian diaspora of New York City.
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    allthesepieces: Both books build complex stories that delve into the nature of loyalty in relationships.
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English (466)  Italian (10)  Spanish (8)  Dutch (8)  French (4)  Swedish (2)  Catalan (2)  German (1)  Danish (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Finnish (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (506)
Showing 1-5 of 466 (next | show all)
First, I started this book 4ish years ago. I would read a chunk of it, than stop for awhile, and pick it up a few months later. Its not an easy read - mostly because it seems like the names keep changing. I understand, what a person in Russia is called is dependent on the relationship, but its difficult. It took me awhile to figure it out. It also helped that the last third of the book had less characters. It would have helped to have a list of full names for the characters. Its a difficult book, but the pay off is immense if you can stick with it.

This next part has spoilers, so, read at your own risk.

Anne Karenina isn't necessarily about Anna - although the other characters revolve around her. This is a story about relationships. Good relationships, bad relationships and how society views relationships depending on gender.

Anna is bored wife of a bureaucrat. Her husband provides for her, and lets her do her own thing, he doesn't make her a part of his life, basically ignoring her until he needs her presence. Anna is intelligent, beautiful, and make a whole room light up when she walks in. When she meets a military man named Vronsky, her whole world is turned upside down. He is a cad, leading young women on, and than dropping them as soon as he looses interest. But, Anna seduces him - even after she denies him, he continue to pursue and eventually Anna gives in. Her husband tries to make it work, but the allure of Vronsky calls - Anna eventually leaves him for Vronsky. But, Anna is still not free. Until she is granted a divorce, she is only a mistress and is ostracized from society, living a lonelier life than before. Eventually, this gets to her and she commits suicide by throwing herself before a train.

The next couple is Dotty and Oblansky. Oblansky is Anna's brother, and like to spend money, dote on ballerina's, and gamble. Dotty holds the family together - making sure that there is money for the most basic of upper-class necessities. She considers divorcee him a number of times throughout the book, but it would leave her in a similar state as Anna, even though she would be in the right of the law.

The last couple is Kitty and Levin. Kitty is Dotty's sister, and she was the young girl Vronsky led on right before Anna. Kitty ends up sick from the whole experience, but ultimately recovers when Levin ultimately proposes to her. They are the perfect couple, in love, and able to talk through problems, understanding each other's personalities, the good and the bad.

These three couples form the core of what Anna Karenina is about. There is also a large parts of the book devoted to Levin's thoughts about peasantry, land management, pointlessness of the upper-class life in Moscow, and belief in God. I'm still pondering what this adds to the book, because it seems not to add anything, and at times, its overwritten and tends to ramble. I do think Levin is based off of Tolstoy and his life, but large chunks of this could have been removed to no effect of the rest. ( )
  TheDivineOomba | Jan 20, 2019 |
Anna Karenina is one of the most loved and memorable heroines of literature. Her overwhelming charm dominates a novel of unparalleled richness and density.

Tolstoy considered this book to be his first real attempt at a novel form, and it addresses the very nature of society at all levels,- of destiny, death, human relationships and the irreconcilable contradictions of existence. It ends tragically, and there is much that evokes despair, yet set beside this is an abounding joy in life's many ephemeral pleasures, and a profusion of comic relief.

A famous legend surrounding the creation of Anna Karenina tells us that Tolstoy began writing a cautionary tale about adultery and ended up by falling in love with his magnificent heroine. It is rare to find a reader of the book who doesn't experience the same kind of emotional upheaval: Anna Karenina is filled with major and minor characters who exist in their own right and fully embody their mid-nineteenth-century Russian milieu, but it still belongs entirely to the woman whose name it bears, whose portrait is one of the truest ever made by a writer.

Review: Anna is NOT a strong woman in my opinion. She is weak and dependant on the male character's love and opinion of her.

Kitty is the real strong woman of this novel. She gets over Vronsky, even able to meet him cordially at the end of the book, and although she too relies on Levin a bit too heavily at certain points, she lets him live his own life too - unlike Anna with Vronsky.

It's taken me just over 4 months (probably longer aas I started it in December) to finish this novel & am relieved it's finally completed. Although there were a few moments of brilliance, I won't be rushing to read it again. ( )
  jenniferw88 | Dec 24, 2018 |
Longest book ever!
I found it hard to follow with all the switching around but it was a nice story. I love that time period and enjoy the history lesson as well as they describe life. ( )
  cfulton20 | Dec 5, 2018 |
Longest book ever!
I found it hard to follow with all the switching around but it was a nice story. I love that time period and enjoy the history lesson as well as they describe life. ( )
  cfulton20 | Dec 5, 2018 |
(Original Review, 1981-02-24)

If you're not familiar with the The Orthodox Church's intricacies, don't bother reading the novel. It might also to understand the social context in which Anna Karenina is set, which Tolstoy doesn't explain because he was writing for fellow members of the Orthodox Church who would have understood the particular nuances. For Russian society at the time, an immoral act was one that offended all Creation and therefore God himself - it is quite common for Russian priests even now to admonish those confessing to serious sins by telling them that they are 'spitting in Christ's face'. Yet there are subtleties to Anna's predicament that are probably lost on Westerners: unlike the Roman Catholic Church, which forbids divorce for any reason, the Orthodox Church permits this where a marriage has irrevocably broken down, on the basis that it was never based on true love in the first place and thus null and void. So in the novel it is only Karenin's pride (which for the Orthodox is the greatest sin of all) that stands in the way of dissolving his tragically unhappy marriage. Anna's action challenges the hypocrisy of society and she brings down the anger of the hypocrites upon herself because she has the barefaced cheek to expect people to behave towards her as they did before her "fall" from grace. Her "friends", such as the poisonous Princess Betsy, desert her because she is an uncomfortable reminder of their own failings.

In fact, I'd go a little further and suggest that the absence of clearly defined mores has led to the proliferation of petty judgementalism infiltrating every aspect of life. It's like Jacques Lacan said about Dostoyevsky's famous quote, ('If God is dead, everything is permitted'), accurately turning it around to say "If God is dead, nothing is permitted." And so we all throw the first stone at one another...

The great Victorian judge and political philosopher James Fitzjames Stephen said that the main deterrent to crime is not the law, but public opinion. He was right. One of the reasons Arab countries have such a low crime rate is that a thief would be shunned by his family and wider community. The most judgmental people I know are self-described non-judgmentalists: they hate (straightforwardly) judgmental people, i.e. people with personalities, who don't have to cling on to PC BS in order to create a persona for themselves.

PS. Something I didn't know until recently was that Vronsky, like Levin, was based on Tolstoy's own experiences. He represented Tolstoy's own shallow, artificial lifestyle that he gave up and was ashamed of. Vronsky is mature, attractive and amoral. He sees nothing wrong with pursuing a married woman because society's hypocrisy allows for that, but he gets in deeper than he intended. Not the deepest of characters, but Vronsky's casting in this film was absolutely ridiculous. ( )
  antao | Dec 3, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 466 (next | show all)
De nieuwe vertaling van Anna Karenina leest als een trein, dankzij allerlei knappe vondsten van vertaler Hans Boland.

» Add other authors (238 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tolstoy, Leoprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tolstoy, Leomain authorall editionsconfirmed
Bayley, JohnPrefacesecondary 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
Gurin, JacobTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gurin, Morris S.Translatorsecondary 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
Roseen, UllaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schwartz, MarianTranslatorsecondary 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
(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.

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.
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«In Anna Karenina è rappresentata la colpa come ostacolo, anzi come barriera invalicabile al raggiungimento della felicità. Accanto ad Anna e a Vronskij, che non possono essere felici insieme, vediamo come Levin e Kitty ottengono in fondo con facilità, nonostante qualche dibattito interiore, quello che è negato agli altri due: ma Kitty ha saputo dimenticare Vronskij e, rinunciando a lui, rinunciare agli ideali poetici, ricchi di fascino e di bellezza esteriore, ricchi di pregi mondani, della sua giovinezza. Rinunciando a questi ideali, Kitty scopre che la realtà usuale e consueta, lungi dall'essere meschina e squallida, è assai preziosa e bella. È questa la storia di molti personaggi di Tolstoj».
Haiku summary
The moral of this:
Adultery drives one mad.
And watch out for trains.

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 9 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 66 descriptions

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