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Transcript of Anna Karenina
by Leo Tolstoy
A Comprehensive View of
A Critical Evaluation and
Qualification of its Everlasting Nature
Why is Anna Karenina a Classic?
Genre and Themes
Quick Facts/Plot Summary
Other Major Works
About Lev (Leo)
-Married Sofya Andreyevna Bers in 1862 and had the first of 13 children in 1863
-Experiences great literary success and personal happiness for a decade= his "golden years"
-War and Peace published as "The Year 1805" in 1865 and later completed in 1869
-Anna Karenina written from 1873-1877, mirroring both his personal life and that of a neighboring estate's occupants' lives
-Tolstoy experienced a religious and ethical crisis and grew depressed; ousted from Ortodox Church and watched by secret police
-Gave his wife full copyright priveleges
-Established himself as a moral and religious leader, influencing Mahatma Gandhi.
-Died in Astapovo, Russia on November 9, 1910
-Childhood, Boyhood, Youth (1852-1856)
-Sevastopol Tales (1855)
-Family Happiness (1859)
-The Cossacks (1863)
-War and Peace (1865)
-A Confession (autobio.; 1879)
-The Mediator (1883)
-The Death of Ivan Illyich (1886)
-What I Believe (essay 1886)
-The novel is composed of 8 separate parts, or books.
-These parts range from 19 to 34 chapters in length.
-It alternates from Anna's story to Levin's story.
Dolly (Darya Alexandrovna ) becomes aware of her husband, Stepan Arkadyevich Oblonsky's (Stiva) affair with their governness. Oblonksy's sister Anna Arkadyevna Karenina comes to Moscow to mediate the situation and succeeds. While at the train station, Anna meets Count Alexei Kirillovich Vronsky, who becomes infatuated with her, and a man falls under the train.
Meanwhile, Kitty (Katerina Alexandrovna Shcherbatskaya), Dolly's sister, is being courted by Konstantin Dmitrievich Levin and Vronksy. Kitty rejects Levin's marriage proposal due to Vronsky's appeal. However, Vronsky follows Anna to St. Petersburg, declaring his love for her.
Due to Vronksy's rejection of her and her rejection of her old friend Levin, Kitty falls ill and goes abroad to a German spa where she meets Varenka and Levin's sick brother Nikolai, becoming increasingly pious.
In St. Petersburg, Anna eventually gives in to her emotions towards Vronsky, despite her husband's, Alexei Alexandrovich Karenin's, warnings. She begins to spend time with Betsy, a socialite and Vronsky's cousin, and becomes increasingly frowned upon by society. Anna becomes pregnant with Vronksy's baby and tells her husband about the affair.
Levin spends time on his estate, working with the peasants, which fills him with a sense of self-worth and clarity. When he meets Kitty at a dinner party, he asks for her hand again, becomes engaged, and quickly marries.
Meanwhile, Stepan Karenin will not divorce Anna, Anna gives birth to her daughter, Annie, and Anna and Vronksy travel to Italy to be together.
Upon return to Russia, Anna is rejected by society and tensions develop between Anna and Vronsky. Anna becomes increasingly needy and paranoid of Vronsky losing his love for her.
Kitty becomes pregnant, so she and Levin move to the city, where the city expenses surprise the farmer. Kitty gives birth to a boy, and Levin is indifferent.
After a fight with Vronsky, Anna sends a telegram to Vronksy begging him to come home and apologizing for her actions. She decides to meet him at the train station. While there, she throws herself under the train to rid herself of her burdensome life, experiencing a moment of regret before she dies.
Two months pass. Levin is overcome with gloom and confusion on the issue of religion-- something he has always questioned. His life is transformed after a talk with a peasant who tells him that the purpose of life is to serve God and to fill it with good.
He finally realizes he loves his son.
-Vladimir Nabokov, William Faulkner, and Fyodor Dosteovsky= "best ever written" and "flawless"
-“Anna is too integral for tragedy, and too imbued with reality to survive in any social malforming of reality whatsoever. She dies because Tolstoy could not sustain the suffering it would have cost him to imagine a life she could have borne to go on living.”- Harold Bloom
-"For a work to be good one must love the main, basic idea in it. So in Anna Karenina I love the family idea, in War and Peace I loved the national idea as a result of the war of 1812." - Leo Tolstoy
"The contrast between the marriage of Levin and Kitty.... and the affair of Vronsky and Anna... only serves to intensify our sympathy for her plight. It is a measure of the moral balance Tolstoy preserves in his portrayal of Anna that he persuades his readers to judge her severely, but with compassion."-Ernest Simmons.
"Every twig, every feather sticks to his magnet and what his infallible eye reports of a cough or a trick of the hands his infallible brain refers to something hidden in the character so that we know his people, not only by the way they love and their views on politics and the immortality of the soul, but also by the way they sneeze and choke. Even in a translation we feel we have been on a mountain-top and had a telescope put into our hands. Everything is astonishingly clear and absolutely sharp." - Virginia Woolf
-Levin= Tolstoy: The connection between the fictional character and the author and the insight into Tolstoy's views on life.
-Levin and Anna similarities
-Universal problems, relevance, and timelessness
-Relatable to everyone due to various issues and embodiments
-"One has to make mistakes and correct them,"—Betsy
-born September 9, 1828 in Tula Province, Russia at Yasnaya Polyana
-Mother died in 1830 and a cousin took over caring for the children
-Father died 1837 and Alexandra Osten-Saken became legal guardian
-Educated by German and French tutors; entered Kazan University in 1843, but never received a degree
-Returned to his family's estate where he attempted to become a model farmer, but failed because he spent too much time in Tula and Moscow
-Joined the Army as a junker and then, transferred to Sevastopol in Ukraine in 1854, where he fought in the Crimean War through August 1855
-Returned to Russia as a literary celebrity in St. Petersburg due to his publications and writings during the war
-"All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."
-Infidelity vs. Faithfulness
-Urban vs. Rural; Socialite vs. Country views
-Passion and Desire