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Anna Karenina by Lev N. Tolstoj

Anna Karenina (original 1877; edition 2001)

by Lev N. Tolstoj

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35,65159859 (4.14)7 / 1649
A famous legend surrounding the creation of "Anna Karenina" tells us that Tolstoy began writing a cautionary tale about adultery and ended up 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. Translated by Louise and Aylmer Maude… (more)
Title:Anna Karenina
Authors:Lev N. Tolstoj
Info:Amsterdam Muntinga 2001
Collections:Your library

Work Information

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (1877)

  1. 202
    Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (roby72, kjuliff)
    kjuliff: adulatory, bored wife
  2. 163
    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. 100
    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
    Whose Fault? by Sofja Tolstaja (Monika_L)
  13. 21
    The Maias by José Maria de Eça de Queiroz (Anonymous user)
  14. 11
    A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth (uri-starkey)
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Showing 1-5 of 545 (next | show all)
What a beautiful book, I’ve a had a wonderful time reading it. (Actually, listening to it.) I guess I need to read more Tolstoy! What a great understanding of personality, psychology, etc. Also a lot of humor mixed in with sadness, struggle, etc.

Enjoyed Maggie Gyllenhaal’s reading - a little flat, subtle, not terribly dramatic, not very distinct voices or anything — but I think that let the writing and story really show through. ( )
  steve02476 | Jan 3, 2023 |
Among the strangest classics, Anna Karenina follows a rare, even unique format, that modern publishers would balk at on first glance. Shows what they know. ( )
  NathanRH | Dec 4, 2022 |
So I finally got to the end of Anna Karenina. My reading speed is no reflection on the book - work's super busy and of course Christmas silly season is upon us when many an evening is spent glued to my laptop looking for gifts. And I'm back to the gym after Covid, so that burns up a few evenings a week as well. All in all, I've not had much available reading time each day.

As so many people have already read this classic I'll stick to my thoughts rather than a review of the plot.

Whilst it's a fairly lengthy tome, for the most part I was fully engrossed in it (and the pages where a glazed a little were less than double figures). So what was the draw? Characterisation is the big one that stood out, particularly the character contrasts between the two main couples in the novel. Tolstoy does a good job of humanising his characters, revealing their many layers as the novel develops. On many pages I was finding Anna entirely self-satisfying and not overly likeable, yet as the book progresses we see her frailties and no doubt genuine love - to the point of obsession - of Vronsky. As a reader we're torn between thoughts of 'well, you made your bed so you'd better lie in it' and sympathy for someone who in a loveless marriage who simply is dazzled by love. Vronsky similarly feels like a selfish playboy at the beginning of the novel, but his genuine love for Anna by the end is clear.

Levin's relationship with Kitty is an interesting parallel, a chalk and cheese pair compared to the fiery romance between Anna and Vronsky. Still waters run deep with Levin, whose thoughts are consumed with self-questioning and desire to work towards the greater good. A totally different man to Vronsky, but who of the two is the most noble in the end?

The second big draw for me in this novel was the setting of Imperial Russia. I knew little of the lifestyle of the nobility in this period in Russian history, and this backdrop was fascinating, from 'society' in Moscow and St. Petersburg to Levin's country dwelling and interaction with the muzhiks post the abolition of serfdom. Tolstoy's descriptions were incredibly vivid, from the dust on the face of travellers who had come the last leg of their journey by carriage to the epic train journeys regularly taken as the society characters moved between their own houses and those of family and acquaintances they went to stay with.

If I have one criticism it's that the last 50 pages felt a little flat in comparison with the rest of the novel. Tolstoy tries to bring the novel to a moral finale, but somehow it felt a bit contrived and rushed along to the conclusion he wanted to get to. But it's a small criticism in a work that was a rich tapestry and hugely enjoyable.

4.5 stars - a wonderful epic that deserves rereading. ( )
  AlisonY | Dec 3, 2022 |
A sweeping panoramic view of late 19th-century Russia and the strict confines of noble women. I was surprised to see that Levin was more like Anna than any other character, and the novel was really about both of them: both aspired to a life of happiness, but only Levin achieved it. Though Anna is indeed a tragic character, she was unlikable at times, but maybe she wouldn't have been if she had lived in modern times. ( )
  crabbyabbe | Nov 6, 2022 |
A monstrously-long work, tolstoy's book gives a detailed glimpse into Moscow's and St petersburg's upper middle class's and landowning class's life. It's full of hypocrisy.

2000 modern library paperback edition
Kitty, the youngest of the Sherbatsky family, has fallen in love with Count Vronsky. She thinks he will marry her, but Vronsky is a Playboy.
"Kitty danced in the first pair, and luckily for her she did not have to talk, because Korsunsky ran about directing the dancers. Vronsky and Anna sat almost opposite her. She saw them with her farsighted eyes, and saw them too, close by, when they met in couples and the more she saw them, the more convinced was she that her unhappiness was complete. She saw that they felt themselves alone in the crowded room. and Vronsky's face, always so firm and independent, held that look that had struck her, of bewilderment and humble submissiveness, like the expression of an intelligent dog when it has done wrong."

VRonsky follows Anna, a married woman, to St Petersburg. When she leaves the train, her husband is there to meet her.
"... An unpleasant sensation gripped at her heart when she met his obstinate and weary glance, as though she had expected to see him different. She was especially struck by the feeling of dissatisfaction with herself that she experienced on meeting him. That feeling was an intimate, familiar feeling, like a consciousness of hypocrisy, which she experienced in her relations with her husband. but Hitherto she had not taken note of the feeling, now she was clearly and painfully aware of it.
'yes, as you see, your tender spouse, as devoted as the first year after marriage, burned with impatience to see you,' he said in his deliberate high-pitched voice and in that tone which he almost always took with her, a tone of jeering at anyone who should say in Earnest what he said.
'is seryozha well?' She asked.
'and is this all the reward,' said he, 'for my ardor? He's well, very well...' "

She begins a love affair with Vronsky. But what a bummer, in those days they had no birth control.
" 'I can see something has happened. Do you suppose I can be at peace, knowing you have a trouble I am not sharing? tell me, for God's sake,' he repeated imploringly.
'yes, I won't be able to forgive him if he does not realize the full gravity of it. Better not tell; why put him to the test?' she thought, still staring at him in the same way, and feeling that the hand that held the leaf was trembling more and more.
'for God's sake!' he repeated,Taking her hand.
'shall I tell you?'
'yes, yes, yes...'
'I'm pregnant,' she said, softly and deliberately. The leaf in her hands shook more violently, but she did not take her eyes off him, watching for his reaction. he turned white, would have said something, but stopped; he dropped her hand and his head sank on his breast. 'yes, he realizes the full seriousness of it,' she thought, and gratefully she pressed his hand."

Vronsky is a despicable character, and this is no less seen in the way he treats his beautiful racehorse.
"... It was only from feeling himself near the ground and from the peculiar smoothness of his motion that Vronsky knew how greatly the mare had quickened her pace. She flew over the ditch as though not noticing it. she flew over it like a bird; but at the same instant Vronsky, to his horror, felt that he had failed to keep up with the mare's pace, that he had, he did not know how, made a fearful, unpardonable mistake, in recovering his seat in the saddle. all at once his position had shifted and he knew something awful had happened. He could not yet make out what had happened, when the white legs of a chestnut horse flashed by close to him, and Makhotin passed at a swift gallop. Vronsky was touching the ground with one foot, and his mare was sinking on that foot. he just had time to free his leg when she fell on one side, gasping painfully, and making vain efforts to rise with her delicate, soaking neck she fluttered on the ground at his feet like a shot bird. the clumsy movement made by Vronsky had broken her back. But that he found out only much later. at that moment he knew only that MakHotin had flown swiftly by, while he stood staggering alone on the muddy, motionless ground, and Frou-Frou lay gasping before him, bending her neck back and gazing at him with her exquisite eyes. still unable to realize what had happened, Vronsky tugged at his mare's reins. Again she struggled all over like a fish, and her shoulders setting the saddle heaving, she rose on her front legs, but unable to lift her back, she quivered all over and again fell on her side. with a face hideous with passion, his lower jaw trembling and his cheeks white, Vronsky kicked her with his heel in the stomach and again began tugging at the rein. she did not stir, but thrusting her nose into the ground, she simply gazed at her master with her speaking eyes."

on the way back from the races, Anna can't stand the suspense anymore, and confesses to her husband her affair with Vronsky.
"Anna sighed and bowed her head.
'though indeed I fail to comprehend how, with the independence you show,' he went on, getting heated, 'telling your husband of your infidelity and apparently seeing nothing reprehensible in it, you should consider it reprehensible to perform a wife's duties to her husband.'
'Alexei alexandrovich! What is it you want of me?'
'I want you not to meet that man here, and to conduct yourself so that neither the world nor the servants can reproach you... Not to see him. That's not much, I think. and in return you will enjoy all the privileges of a faithful wife without fulfilling her duties. That's all I have to say to you. now it's time for me to go. I'm not dining at home.' He got up and moved toward the door."

The foreign prince:
"he had been in spain, and there had indulged in serenades and had made friends with a Spanish girl who played the mandolin. in Switzerland he had killed a chamois. in England he had galloped in a red coat over Hedges and killed 200 pheasants for a bet. In turkey he had got into a harem; in India he had hunted on an elephant, and now in Russia he wished to taste all the typically Russian forms of pleasure.
Vronsky, who was, as it were, chief Master of ceremonies, was at great pains to arrange all the Russian amusements suggested by various persons to the prince: races, and Russian pancakes, and bear hunts, and troikas, and gypsies, and drinking feasts with the Russian accompaniment of broken crockery. And the prince, with surprising ease, fell in with the Russian spirit, smashed trays full of crockery, sat with a gypsy girl on his knee, and seemed to be asking – what more, and does the whole Russian Spirit consist in just this?"

They gave opium to mothers giving birth in Russia in the 19th century. ( )
  burritapal | Oct 23, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 545 (next | show all)
De nieuwe vertaling van Anna Karenina leest als een trein, dankzij allerlei knappe vondsten van vertaler Hans Boland.

» Add other authors (224 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tolstoy, Leoprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Carmichael, JoelTranslatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gibian, GeorgeEditormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Arout, Gabrielsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Barrett, AngelaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bayley, JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carmichael, JoelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dole, Nathan HaskellTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dunmore, HelenIntroductionsecondary 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
Jones, W. GarethIntroductionsecondary 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
Nin, AndreuTranslatorsecondary 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)]
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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.
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A famous legend surrounding the creation of "Anna Karenina" tells us that Tolstoy began writing a cautionary tale about adultery and ended up 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. Translated by Louise and Aylmer Maude

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Book description
Considered by some to be the greatest novel ever written, “Anna Karenina” is Tolstoy’s classic tale of love and adultery set against the backdrop of high society in Moscow and Saint Petersburg. A rich and complex masterpiece, the novel charts the disastrous course of a love affair between Anna, a beautiful married woman, and Count Vronsky, a wealthy army officer. Tolstoy seamlessly weaves together the lives of dozens of characters, and in doing so captures a breathtaking tapestry of late-nineteenth-century Russian society. As Matthew Arnold wrote in his celebrated essay on Tolstoy, “We are not to take Anna Karenina as a work of art; we are to take it as a piece of life.”
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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Penguin Australia

4 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0451528611, 0140449175, 0141194324, 0141391898

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