Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

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Synopsis

This edition, the famous Constance Garnett translation, has been revised throughout by Leonard J. Kent and Nina Berberova.

"Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."  So begins Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy's great modern novel of an adulterous affair set against the backdrop of Moscow and St. Petersburg high society in the later half of the nineteenth century.  A sophisticated woman who is respectably married to a government bureaucrat, Anna begins a passionate, all-consuming involvement with a rich army officer.  Refusing to conduct a discreet affair, she scandalizes society by abandoning both her husband and her young son for Count Vronsky--with tragic consequences.  Running parallel is the story of the courtship and marriage of Konstantin Levin (the melancholy nobleman who is Tolstoy's stand-in) and Princess Kitty Shcherbatsky.  

Levin's spiritual searching and growth reflect the religious ideals that at the time Tolstoy was evolving for himself.  Taken together, the two plots embroider a vast canvas that ultimately encompasses all levels of Russian society.  "Now and then Tolstoy's novel writes its own self, is produced by its matter, but its subject," noted Vladimir Nabokov.  "Anna Karenina is one of the greatest love stories in world literature."  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."  


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Leo Tolstoy

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Count Leo Tolstoy was born on September 9, 1828, in Yasnaya Polyana, Russia. Orphaned at nine, he was brought up by an elderly aunt and educated by French tutors until he matriculated at Kazan University in 1844. In 1847, he gave up his studies and, after several aimless years, volunteered for military duty in the army, serving as a junior officer in the Crimean War before retiring in 1857. In 1862, Tolstoy married Sophie Behrs, a marriage that was to become, for him, bitterly unhappy. His diary, started in 1847, was used for self-study and self-criticism; it served as the source from which he drew much of the material that appeared not only in his great novels War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1877), but also in his shorter works. Seeking religious justification for his life, Tolstoy evolved a new Christianity based upon his own interpretation of the Gospels. Yasnaya Polyana became a mecca for his many converts At the age of eighty-two, while away from home, the writer suffered a break down in his health in Astapovo, Riazan, and he died there on November 20, 1910.
 
Published March 28, 2012 by Modern Library. 1008 pages
Genres: History, Romance, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Anna Karenina

The Seattle Times

(Joint custody was not an option.) Vronsky also can’t fathom Anna’s inbred concern for her crumbling social status.

Feb 13 2013 | Read Full Review of Anna Karenina

Project MUSE

In an age where the classic literary masterpieces have lost their cache, who would have thought that a book series based in the classics of Western literature would be a publishing mega-success?

| Read Full Review of Anna Karenina

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