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Anna Karenina (Russian Language Edition) [Mass Market Paperback]

L.N. Tolstoy
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Bookking International,France; New Ed edition (Dec 1994)
  • Language: Russian
  • ISBN-10: 2877142647
  • ISBN-13: 978-2877142649
  • Product Dimensions: 17.9 x 11.1 x 4.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,474,550 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Count Leo Tolstoy was born in 1828 on the family estate of Yasnaya Polyana, in the Tula province, where he spent most of his early years, together with his several brothers. In 1844 he entered the University of Kazan to read Oriental Languages and later Law, but left before completing a degree. He spent the following years in a round of drinking, gambling and womanizing, until weary of his idle existence he joined an artillery regiment in the Caucasus in 1851.

He took part in the Crimean war and after the defence of Sevastopol wrote The Sevastopol Sketches (1855-6), which established his literary reputation. After leaving the army in 1856 Tolstoy spent some time mixing with the literati in St Petersburg before travelling abroad and then settling at Yasnaya Polyana, where he involved himself in the running of peasant schools and the emancipation of the serfs. His marriage to Sofya Andreyevna Behrs in 1862 marked the beginning of a period of contentment centred around family life; they had thirteen children. Tolstoy managed his vast estates, continued his educational projects, cared for his peasants and wrote both his great novels, War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1877).

During the 1870s he underwent a spiritual crisis, the moral and religious ideas that had always dogged him coming to the fore. A Confession (1879-82) marked an outward change in his life and works; he became an extreme rationalist and moralist, and in a series of pamphlets written after 1880 he rejected church and state, indicted the demands of flesh, and denounced private property. His teachings earned him numerous followers in Russia and abroad, and also led finally to his excommunication by the Russian Holy Synod in 1901. In 1910 at the age of eighty-two he fled from home 'leaving this worldly life in order to live out my last days in peace and solitude'; dying some days later at the station master's house at Astapovo.

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Havent started reading yet! 26 Oct 2012
By Aiten
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Havent started reading yet but book is in good conditions and arrived very early!
Hopefully, I will find it interesting.
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5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No divorce or shared custody in 19th century 9 Mar 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
There are those who feel that people who break the (oppressive) conventions of their time do brave pioneer work. I do not agree with this since these conventions change quickly enough when the social and economic reasons for their existence disappear and not when they have been broken a sufficient number of times.
So I consider that Anna did not do a brave or idealistic thing in living openly with Vronsky. What kind of ideal is it supposed to reflect? Truth? Adultery is still called cheating even by our modern standards and you can't make it right by not lying about it. You are not a moral person if you love somebody but when you take responsibility for your actions and for the way these affect others. This is a terribly moral book: you avoid responsibility at your peril.
Vronsky has the terrible attraction of a narcissist; he is willing to do a lot as long as he retains the power to say yes or no. He is not nice and weak but extremely destructive. Incidentally, Levin let me dow: Hundreds of pages of soul-searching and then he simply takes what he can get: the sublime Kitty purged of her passion for Vronsky. A great book.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All good books are alike 2 Aug 2010
By Patricia Heil - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
What I call a good book is one that when you read it again later, you find things in it you didn't see the first time.

And so I'm re-reading my ancient copy of Anna Karenina in Russian and suddenly got hit in the face by what I think is the real core of the tragedy.

Aleksey Aleksandrovich Karenin was raised properly but without emotion and without the wanderyahr or social season that many of his contemporaries got. He had to plunge directly into work. As a result, he had no education at all in how to behave in women's society and he had no concept of emotional relationships. So after spending some time with Anna Arkadievna Oblonskaya in social situations, he wasn't in love with her and didn't know the meaning of love, but he got maneuvered into marrying her by her aunt without being able to laugh off the claim that he had compromised Anna.

The irony is that when Vronskij did compromise her, Aleksey finds all kinds of reasons not to let her go. First it's because she's his wife and even though she breaks her promise to observe the proprieties, he refuses to consider divorce. Then after Vronskij and Anna go the whole way, after she gives birth to an illegitimate child, after Karenin offers to let Anna continue living in his home and even takes a liking to the baby, after she leaves, after she lives with Vronskij for years, Karenin lets the weeny clairvoyant Landau/Bezzubov tell him to refuse a divorce.

This book at least in part is about three men who think the whole world revolves around them: Karenin the government official; Vronskij the wealthy playboy; and Oblonskij the dissipated wastrel. The women caught in their toils all suffer, even Countess Lidiya Ivanovna who takes physical, mental and moral possession of Karenin, who will never love her no matter how often he takes her advice.

Although the theme of female emancipation is touched on in the novel, it is Kitty Levin who speaks for Tolstoy in rejecting the concept. Konstantin Levin is essentially Tolstoy himself, and Kitty is to some extent Tolstoy's wife, Sofiya, nee Behrs, who wrote in her journals how much she hated Tolstoy's punishment of unfaithful wives in his literature, including the Kreutzer Sonata. She felt it hypocritical given his physical appetites after marriage as well as before, appetites he failed to arouse in her. But the good wife forgives the man's past since he is faithful to her in the present, and the man has a right to all the wife's attentions.

Even the children have no claim on her, as is clear from Kreutzer Sonata. Because of his own jealousy, Tolstoy made Sofiya end her childhood friendship with a very musical man who was a friend of her family, because it took her attention away from him. Then later in his life he abandoned his family, forcing all the financial responsibilities onto Sofiya, and finally actually leaving home, to die at "the last station."

But at least Anna has a name, unlike the wife in Kreutzer Sonata. It's just that none of the men in her life expect her to actually have a life. Karenin can't love her but expects her to be a pattern of wives in high society -- where she meets a number of women who have affairs but at least don't break up the family. Oblonskij sends her to his wife to heal the wounds caused by her _discovery_ of his infidelity -- not by the infidelity, but because Dolly, the pattern wife, never conceived of her husband having an affair or even kissing anybody else. Vronskij says he loves her but he can't understand her love for her son and disses her affection for his horse trainer's family after the father drinks himself into the DTs.

It's all wrapped up in the tragedy of society's expectation that if you have a nice house and clothes and go to parties and do what everybody lays down as the rules, you've achieved the summit of how people should live, regardless of the signs that something is broken. Nobody in Anna's life pays attention to her continuing use of morphine, which I think has to be at the bottom of her increasingly erratic behavior and ultimately her suicide.

Yes, they're all sorry when it's too late, as Anna says to herself at one point. And not one of them is capable of doing anything to avert the tragedy, I think because they believe that in their social circle, _and because Anna is part of their lives_, nothing like that would ever happen to disturb them.

And isn't that what we hear in the news every day? "She was such a nice person!" "We lived next door for years..." Because the person in the news was part of our lives, it's impossible they could be living their own life, and that it could turn out so tragically.

That's what a great novel does. If you pay attention, you'll hear echoes of it in the news involving people who never heard of the book or even the author. That's reality in writing.
7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In his later life, Tolstoy rejected novel-writing ... 3 Nov 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
When Tolstoy turned 50, he took a look at his life and what he had accomplished and didn't like what he saw. The famous author of War and Peace and Anna Karenina thought he had wasted his time on writing trash. He thought his novels had done society a disservice, because they glamorized the frivolous aspects of life and pandered to his readers' superficial wish to be amused. So what did he think was worth his readers' time in his later years? If you respect the mind that wrote Anna Karenina, you ought to read his later works on the meaning of life.
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