Cover page of the first volume of Anna Karenina. Moscow, 1878.
|Original title||Анна Каренина|
|Translator||Constance Garnett (initial)|
|Publisher||The Russian Messenger|
|Media type||Print (serial)|
Anna Karenina (Russian: «Анна Каренина»; Russian pronunciation: [ˈanːə kɐˈrʲenʲɪnə]) is a novel by the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, published in serial installments from 1873 to 1877 in the periodical The Russian Messenger. Tolstoy clashed with editor Mikhail Katkov over political issues that arose in the final installment (Tolstoy's unpopular views of volunteers going to Serbia); therefore, the novel's first complete appearance was in book form.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky declared it to be "flawless as a work of art". His opinion was shared by Vladimir Nabokov, who especially admired "the flawless magic of Tolstoy's style", and by William Faulkner, who described the novel as "the best ever written". The novel is currently enjoying popularity, as demonstrated by a recent poll of 125 contemporary authors by J. Peder Zane, published in 2007 in "The Top Ten" in Time, which declared that Anna Karenina is the "greatest novel ever written".
- 1 Main characters
- 2 Plot introduction
- 3 Plot summary
- 4 Style
- 5 Major themes
- 6 Trivia
- 7 Historical context
- 8 Translations into English
- 9 Adaptations
- 10 Anna Karenina in literature
- 11 References
- 12 Further reading
- 13 External links
- Anna Arkadyevna Karenina (Анна Аркадьевна Каренина): Stepan Oblonsky's sister, Karenin's wife and Vronsky's lover.
- Count Alexei Kirillovich Vronsky (Aлекceй Kиpиллoвич Bpoнcкий): Lover of Anna, a cavalry officer
- Prince Stepan "Stiva" Arkadyevich Oblonsky (Cтeпaн "Cтивa" Aркaдьевич Oблoнский): a civil servant and Anna's brother, a man about town, 34. His nickname is a Russianized form of "Steve".
- Princess Darya "Dolly" Alexandrovna Oblonskaya (Дарья "Дoлли" Aлeксaндрoвна Oблoнскaя): Stepan's wife, 33
- Count Alexei Alexandrovich Karenin: a senior statesman and Anna's husband, twenty years her senior.
- Konstantin "Kostya" Dmitrievich Levin: Kitty's suitor, old friend of Stiva, a landowner, 32.
- Nikolai Dmitrievich Levin: Konstantin's elder brother, an impoverished alcoholic.
- Sergius Ivanovich Koznyshev: Konstantin's half-brother, a celebrated writer, 40.
- Princess Ekaterina "Kitty" Alexandrovna Shcherbatskaya: Dolly's younger sister and later Levin's wife, 18.
- Princess Elizaveta "Betsy": Anna's wealthy, morally loose society friend and Vronsky's cousin
- Countess Lidia Ivanovna: Leader of a high society circle that includes Karenin, and shuns Princess Betsy and her circle. She maintains an interest in the mystical and spiritual
- Countess Vronskaya: Vronsky's mother
- Sergei "Seryozha" Alexeyich Karenin: Anna and Karenin's son
- Anna "Annie": Anna and Vronsky's daughter
- Varenka: a young orphaned girl, semi-adopted by an ailing Russian noblewoman, whom Kitty befriends while abroad
Anna Karenina is the tragedy of married aristocrat and socialite Anna Karenina and her affair with the affluent Count Vronsky. The story starts when she arrives in the midst of a family broken up by her brother's unbridled womanizing — something that prefigures her own later situation, though she would experience less tolerance by others.
A bachelor, Vronsky is eager to marry her if she would agree to leave her husband Karenin, a government official, but she is vulnerable to the pressures of Russian social norms, her own insecurities, and Karenin's indecision. Although Vronsky and Anna go to Italy, where they can be together, they have trouble making friends. Back in Russia, she is shunned, becoming further isolated and anxious, while Vronsky pursues his social life. Despite Vronsky's reassurances, she grows increasingly possessive and paranoid about his imagined infidelity, fearing loss of control.
A parallel story within the novel is that of Konstantin Levin, a country landowner who desires to marry Kitty, sister to Dolly and sister-in-law to Anna's brother Oblonsky. Konstantin has to propose twice before Kitty accepts. The novel details Konstantin's difficulties managing his estate, his eventual marriage, and his personal issues, until the birth of his first child.
The novel explores a diverse range of topics throughout its approximately thousand pages. Some of these topics include an evaluation of the feudal system that existed in Russia at the time; politics, in not only the Russian government but also at the level of the individual characters and families; and religion and morality.
The novel begins with one of its most oft-quoted lines:
|“||Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.||”|
The novel opens with a scene introducing Prince Stepan Arkadyevich Oblonsky ("Stiva"), a Moscow aristocrat and civil servant who has been unfaithful to his wife Darya Alexandrovna ("Dolly"). Dolly has discovered his affair with the family's governess, and the household and family are in turmoil. Stiva's affair and his reaction to his wife's distress show an amorous personality that he cannot seem to suppress. In the midst of the turmoil, Stiva informs the household that his married sister, Anna Arkadyevna Karenina, is coming to visit from Saint Petersburg.
Meanwhile, Stiva's childhood friend, Konstantin Dmitrievich Levin ("Kostya"), arrives in Moscow with the aim of proposing to Dolly's youngest sister, Princess Katerina Alexandrovna Shcherbatskaya ("Kitty"). Levin is a passionate, restless, but shy aristocratic landowner who, unlike his Moscow friends, chooses to live in the country on his large estate. He discovers that Kitty is also being pursued by Count Alexei Kirillovich Vronsky, an army officer.
Whilst at the railway station to meet Anna, Stiva bumps into Vronsky who is there to meet his mother, the Countess Vronskaya. Anna and Vronskaya have traveled and talked together in the same carriage. As the family members are reunited, and Vronsky sees Anna for the first time, a railway worker accidentally falls in front of a train and is killed. Anna interprets this as an "evil omen." Vronsky, however, is infatuated with her. Anna is uneasy about leaving her young son, Sergei ("Seryozha"), alone for the first time.
At the Oblonsky home, Anna talks openly and emotionally to Dolly about Stiva's affair and convinces her that Stiva still loves her despite the infidelity. Dolly is moved by Anna's speeches and decides to forgive Stiva.
Kitty, who comes to visit Dolly and Anna, is just eighteen. In her first season as a debutante, she is expected to make an excellent match with a man of her social standing. Vronsky has been paying her considerable attention, and she expects to dance with him at a ball that evening. Kitty is very struck by Anna's beauty and personality and becomes infatuated with her just as Vronsky is. When Levin proposes to Kitty at her home, she clumsily turns him down, believing she is in love with Vronsky and that he will propose to her, and encouraged to do so by her mother who believes Vronsky would be a better match (in contrast to Kitty's father, who favors Levin).
At the big ball Kitty expects to hear something definitive from Vronsky, but he dances with Anna, choosing her as a partner over a shocked and heartbroken Kitty. Kitty realises that Vronsky has fallen in love with Anna and has no intention of marrying her despite his overt flirtations. Vronsky has regarded his interactions with Kitty merely as a source of amusement and assumes that Kitty has acted for the same reasons. Anna, shaken by her emotional and physical response to Vronsky, returns at once to Saint Petersburg. Vronsky travels on the same train. During the overnight journey, the two meet and Vronsky confesses his love. Anna refuses him, although she is deeply affected by his attentions to her.
Levin, crushed by Kitty's refusal, returns to his estate, abandoning any hope of marriage. Anna returns to her husband Alexei Alexandrovich Karenin, a senior government official, and her son Seryozha in Saint Petersburg. On seeing her husband for the first time since her encounter with Vronsky, Anna realises that she finds him unattractive, though she tells herself he is a good man.
The Shcherbatskys consult doctors over Kitty's health, which has been failing since Vronsky's rejection. A specialist advises that Kitty should go abroad to a health spa to recover. Dolly speaks to Kitty and understands she is suffering because of Vronsky and Levin, whom she cares for and had hurt in vain. Kitty, humiliated by Vronsky and tormented by her rejection of Levin, upsets her sister by referring to Stiva's infidelity, saying she could never love a man who betrayed her. Meanwhile, Stiva visits Levin on his country estate while selling a nearby plot of land.
In Saint Petersburg, Anna begins to spend more time in the inner circle of Princess Betsy, a fashionable socialite and Vronsky's cousin. Vronsky continues to pursue Anna. Although she initially tries to reject him, she eventually succumbs to his attentions. Karenin reminds his wife of the impropriety of paying too much attention to Vronsky in public, which is becoming the subject of gossip. He is concerned about the couple's public image, although he believes that Anna is above suspicion.
Vronsky, a keen horseman, takes part in a steeplechase event, during which he rides his mare Frou-Frou too hard—his irresponsibility causing her to fall and break her back. Anna is unable to hide her distress during the accident. Before this, Anna had told Vronsky that she is pregnant with his child. Karenin is also present at the races and remarks to Anna that her behaviour is improper. Anna, in a state of extreme distress and emotion, confesses her affair to her husband. Karenin asks her to break it off to avoid further gossip, believing that their marriage will be preserved.
Kitty and her mother travel to a German spa to recover from her ill health. There, they meet the wheelchair-bound Pietist Madame Stahl and the saintly Varenka, her adopted daughter. Influenced by Varenka, Kitty becomes extremely pious, but becomes disillusioned by her father's criticism when she learns Mme Stahl is faking her illness. She then returns to Moscow.
Levin continues working on his estate, a setting closely tied to his spiritual thoughts and struggles. He wrestles with the idea of falseness, wondering how he should go about ridding himself of it, and criticising what he feels is falseness in others. He develops ideas relating to agriculture, and the unique relationship between the agricultural labourer and his native land and culture. He comes to believe that the agricultural reforms of Europe will not work in Russia because of the unique culture and personality of the Russian peasant.
When Levin visits Dolly, she attempts to understand what happened between him and Kitty and to explain Kitty's behaviour. Levin is very agitated by Dolly's talk about Kitty, and he begins to feel distant from Dolly as he perceives her loving behaviour towards her children as false. Levin resolves to forget Kitty and contemplates the possibility of marriage to a peasant woman. However, a chance sighting of Kitty in her carriage makes Levin realise he still loves her. Meanwhile, in Saint Petersburg, Karenin refuses to separate from Anna, insisting that their relationship will continue. He threatens to take away Seryozha if she persists in her affair with Vronsky.
When Anna and Vronsky continue seeing each other, Karenin consults with a lawyer about obtaining a divorce. During the time period, a divorce in Russia could only be requested by the innocent party in an affair and required either that the guilty party confessed—which would ruin Anna's position in society and bar her from re-marrying—or that the guilty party be discovered in the act of adultery. Karenin forces Anna to hand over some of Vronsky's love letters, which the lawyer deems insufficient as proof of the affair. Stiva and Dolly argue against Karenin's drive for a divorce.
Karenin changes his plans after hearing that Anna is dying after the difficult birth of her daughter, Annie. At her bedside, Karenin forgives Vronsky. However, Vronsky, embarrassed by Karenin's magnanimity, unsuccessfully attempts suicide by shooting himself. As Anna recovers, she finds that she cannot bear living with Karenin despite his forgiveness and his attachment to Annie. When she hears that Vronsky is about to leave for a military posting in Tashkent, she becomes desperate. Anna and Vronsky reunite and elope to Europe, leaving Seryozha and Karenin's offer of divorce.
Meanwhile, Stiva acts as a matchmaker with Levin: he arranges a meeting between him and Kitty, which results in their reconciliation and betrothal.
Levin and Kitty marry and start their new life on his country estate. Although the couple are happy, they undergo a bitter and stressful first three months of marriage. Levin feels dissatisfied at the amount of time Kitty wants to spend with him and dwells on his ability to be as productive as he was as a bachelor. When the marriage starts to improve, Levin learns that his brother, Nikolai, is dying of consumption. Kitty offers to accompany Levin on his journey to see Nikolai and proves herself a great help in nursing Nikolai. Seeing his wife take charge of the situation in an infinitely more capable manner than if he were without her, Levin's love for Kitty grows. Kitty eventually learns that she is pregnant.
In Europe, Vronsky and Anna struggle to find friends who will accept them. Whilst Anna is happy to be finally alone with Vronsky, he feels suffocated. They cannot socialize with Russians of their own class and find it difficult to amuse themselves. Vronsky, who believed that being with Anna was the key to his happiness, finds himself increasingly bored and unsatisfied. He takes up painting and makes an attempt to patronize an émigré Russian artist of genius. However, Vronsky cannot see that his own art lacks talent and passion, and that his conversation about art is extremely pretentious. Increasingly restless, Anna and Vronsky decide to return to Russia.
In Saint Petersburg, Anna and Vronsky stay in one of the best hotels, but take separate suites. It becomes clear that whilst Vronsky is still able to move freely in Russian society, Anna is barred from it. Even her old friend, Princess Betsy, who has had affairs herself, evades her company. Anna starts to become anxious that Vronsky no longer loves her. Meanwhile, Karenin is comforted by Countess Lidia Ivanovna, an enthusiast of religious and mystic ideas fashionable with the upper classes. She advises him to keep Seryozha away from Anna and to tell him his mother is dead. However, Seryozha refuses to believe that this is true. Anna visits Seryozha uninvited on his ninth birthday but is discovered by Karenin.
Anna, desperate to regain at least some of her former position in society, attends a show at the theatre at which all of Saint Petersburg's high society are present. Vronsky begs her not to go, but he is unable to bring himself to explain to her why she cannot attend. At the theatre, Anna is openly snubbed by her former friends, one of whom makes a deliberate scene and leaves the theatre. Anna is devastated. Unable to find a place for themselves in Saint Petersburg, Anna and Vronsky leave for Vronsky's own country estate.
Dolly, her mother the Princess Scherbatskaya, and Dolly's children spend the summer with Levin and Kitty. The Levins' life is simple and unaffected, although Levin is uneasy at the "invasion" of so many Scherbatskys. He becomes extremely jealous when one of the visitors, Veslovsky, flirts openly with the pregnant Kitty. Levin tries to overcome his feelings, but eventually succumbs to them and makes Veslovsky leave his house in an embarrassing scene. Veslovsky immediately goes to stay with Anna and Vronsky at their nearby estate.
When Dolly visits Anna, she is struck by the difference between the Levins' aristocratic-yet-simple home life and Vronsky's overtly luxurious and lavish country estate. She is also unable to keep pace with Anna's fashionable dresses or Vronsky's extravagant spending on a hospital he is building. In addition, all is not quite well with Anna and Vronsky. Dolly notices Anna's anxious behaviour and her uncomfortable flirtations with Veslovsky. Vronsky makes an emotional request to Dolly, asking her to convince Anna to divorce Karenin so that the two might marry and live normally.
Anna has become intensely jealous of Vronsky and cannot bear it when he leaves her even for short excursions. When Vronsky leaves for several days of provincial elections, Anna becomes convinced that she must marry him in order to prevent him from leaving her. After Anna writes to Karenin, she and Vronsky leave the countryside for Moscow.
While visiting Moscow for Kitty's confinement, Levin quickly gets used to the city's fast-paced, expensive and frivolous society life. He accompanies Stiva to a gentleman's club, where the two meet Vronsky. Levin and Stiva pay a visit to Anna, who is occupying her empty days by being a patroness to an orphaned English girl. Levin is initially uneasy about the visit, but Anna easily puts him under her spell. When he admits to Kitty that he has visited Anna, she accuses him of falling in love with her. The couple are later reconciled, realising that Moscow society life has had a negative, corrupting effect on Levin.
Anna cannot understand why she can attract a man like Levin, who has a young and beautiful new wife, but cannot attract Vronsky as she did once. Her relationship with Vronsky is under increasing strain, as he can move freely in Russian society while she remains excluded. Her increasing bitterness, boredom, and jealousy cause the couple to argue. Anna uses morphine to help her sleep, a habit she had begun while living with Vronsky at his country estate. She has become dependent on it. Meanwhile, after a long and difficult labour, Kitty gives birth to a son, Dmitri, nicknamed "Mitya." Levin is both horrified and profoundly moved by the sight of the tiny, helpless baby.
Stiva visits Karenin to seek his commendation for a new post. During the visit Stiva asks Karenin to grant Anna a divorce (which would require him to confess to a non-existent affair), but Karenin's decisions are now governed by a French "clairvoyant" recommended by Lidia Ivanovna. The clairvoyant apparently had a vision in his sleep during Stiva's visit and gives Karenin a cryptic message which is interpreted that Karenin must decline the request for divorce.
Anna becomes increasingly jealous and irrational towards Vronsky, whom she suspects of having love affairs with other women. She is also convinced that he will give in to his mother's plans to marry him off to a rich society woman. They have a bitter row and Anna believes the relationship is over. She starts to think of suicide as an escape from her torments. In her mental and emotional confusion, she sends a telegram to Vronsky asking him to come home to her, and then pays a visit to Dolly and Kitty. Anna's confusion and vengeful anger overcome her, and in a parallel to the railway worker's accidental death in part 1, she commits suicide by throwing herself under the carriage of a passing train.
Levin's brother's latest book is ignored by readers and critics and he joins the new pan-Slavic movement. Stiva gets the post he desired so much, and Karenin takes custody of Vronsky's and Anna's baby Annie. A group of Russian volunteers, including the suicidal Vronsky, depart from Russia to fight in the Orthodox Serbian revolt that has broken out against the Turks. Meanwhile, a lightning storm occurs at Levin's estate while his wife and newborn son are outdoors, and in his fear for their safety, Levin realizes that he does indeed love his son as much he loves Kitty. Kitty's family is concerned that a man as altruistic as her husband does not consider himself to be a Christian, but after speaking at length to a peasant, Levin has a true change of heart, concluding that he does believe in the Christian principles taught to him in childhood and no longer questions his faith. He realizes that one must decide for oneself what is acceptable concerning one's own faith and beliefs. He chooses not to tell Kitty of the change that he has undergone, and is initially displeased that his return to his faith does not bring with it a complete transformation to righteousness. However, at the end of the story, Levin arrives at the conclusion that despite his newly accepted beliefs, he is human and will go on making mistakes. His life can now be meaningfully and truthfully oriented toward righteousness.
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Tolstoy's style in Anna Karenina is considered by many critics to be transitional, forming a bridge between the realist and modernist novel. The novel is narrated from a third-person-omniscient perspective, shifting the narrator's attention to several major characters, though most frequently focusing on the opposing lifestyles and attitudes of its central protagonists of Anna and Levin. As such, each of the novel's eight sections contains internal variations in tone: it assumes a relaxed voice when following Stepan Oblonsky's thoughts and actions and a much more tense voice when describing Levin's social encounters. Much of the novel's seventh section depicts Anna's thoughts fluidly, following each one of her ruminations and free associations with its immediate successor. This groundbreaking use of stream-of-consciousness would be utilised by such later authors as James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and William Faulkner.
Also of significance is Tolstoy's use of real events in his narrative, to lend greater verisimilitude to the fictional events of his narrative. Characters debate significant sociopolitical issues affecting Russia in the latter half of the nineteenth century, such as the place and role of the Russian peasant in society, education reform, and women's rights. Tolstoy's depiction of the characters in these debates, and of their arguments, allows him to communicate his own political beliefs. Characters often attend similar social functions to those which Tolstoy attended, and he includes in these passages his own observations of the ideologies, behaviors, and ideas running through contemporary Russia through the thoughts of Levin. The broad array of situations and ideas depicted in Anna Karenina allows Tolstoy to present a treatise on his era's Russia, and, by virtue of its very breadth and depth, all of human society. This stylistic technique, as well as the novel's use of perspective, greatly contributes to the thematic structure of Anna Karenina.
Anna Karenina is commonly thought to explore the themes of hypocrisy, jealousy, faith, fidelity, family, marriage, society, progress, carnal desire and passion, and the agrarian connection to land in contrast to the lifestyles of the city. Translator Rosemary Edmonds wrote that Tolstoy does not explicitly moralise in the book, but instead allows his themes to emerge naturally from the "vast panorama of Russian life." She also says one of the novel's key messages is that "no one may build their happiness on another's pain." 
Levin is often considered a semi-autobiographical portrayal of Tolstoy's own beliefs, struggles, and life events. Tolstoy's first name is "Lev," and the Russian surname "Levin" means "of Lev." According to footnotes in the Pevear/Volokhonsky translation, the viewpoints Levin supports throughout the novel in his arguments match Tolstoy's outspoken views on the same issues. Moreover, according to W. Gareth Jones, Levin proposed to Kitty in the same way as Tolstoy to Sophia Behrs. Additionally, Levin's request that his fiancée read his diary as a way of disclosing his faults and previous sexual encounters parallels Tolstoy's own requests to his fiancée Sophia Behrs.
The suburban railway station of Obiralovka where Anna committed suicide is now known as the town of Zheleznodorozhny, Moscow Oblast.
The events in the novel take place against the backdrop of rapid transformations as a result of the liberal reforms initiated by Emperor Alexander II of Russia, principal among these the Emancipation reform of 1861, followed by legal reform, including jury trials; military reform, the introduction of elected local government (Zemstvo), the fast development of railroads, banks, industry, telegraph, the rise of new business elites and the decline of the old landed aristocracy, a freer press, the awakening of public opinion, the Pan-Slavism movement, the woman question, etc. These contemporary developments are hotly debated by the characters in the novel.
Translations into English
- Anna Karénina, Translated by Nathan Haskell Dole (Thomas Y. Crowell & Co., New York, 1886)
- Anna Karenin, Translated by Constance Garnett. (1901) Still widely reprinted. Revised by Leonard J. Kent and Nina Berberova (New York: Random House, 1965). Revised version reprinted by Modern Library.
- Anna Karenina, Translated by Louise and Aylmer Maude (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1918)
- Anna Karenin, Translated by Rosemary Edmonds (Penguin Classics, Harmondsworth, Middlesex, 1954)
- Anna Karenina, Translated by Joel Carmichael (Bantam Books, New York, 1960)
- Anna Karenina, Translated by David Magarshack (A Signet Classic, New American Library, New York and Scarborough, Ontario, 1961)
- Anna Karénina, Translated by Margaret Wettlin (Progress Publishers, 1978)
- Anna Karenina, Translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky (Allen Lane/Penguin, London, 2000)
- Anna Karenina, Translated by Kyril Zinovieff and Jenny Hughes (Oneworld Classics 2008) ISBN 978-1-84749-059-9
- Anna Karenina, Translated by Rosamund Bartlett (Oxford University Press)
- Anna Karenina, Translated by Marian Schwartz (Yale University Press)
Comparisons of translations
Writing in the year 2000, academic Zoja Pavlovskis-Petit compares the different translations of Anna Karenina on the market. Commenting on Garnett's revised translation she says: "The revision (1965) ... by Kent & Berberova (the latter no mean stylist herself) succeeds in 'correcting errors ... tightening the prose, converting Briticisms, and casting light on areas Mrs Garnett did not explore'. Their edition shows an excellent understanding of the details of Tolstoi's world (for instance, the fact that the elaborate coiffure Kitty wears to the ball is not her own hair–a detail that eludes most other translators), and at the same time they use English imaginatively (Kitty's shoes 'delighted her feet' rather than 'seemed to make her feet lighter'–Maude; a paraphrase). ... the purist will be pleased to see Kent & Berberova give all the Russian names in full, as used by the author; any reader will be grateful for the footnotes that elucidate anything not immediately accessible to someone not well acquainted with imperial Russia. This emended Garnett should probably be a reader's first choice."
She further comments on the Maudes' translation: "the revised Garnett and the Magarshack versions do better justice to the original, but still, the World's Classics edition (1995) ... offers a very full List of Characters ... and good notes based on the Maudes'." On Edmonds's translation she states: "[it] has the advantage of solid scholarship ... Yet she lacks a true sensitivity for the language ... [leading] to [her] missing many a subtlety." On Carmichael's version she comments: "this is a–rather breezily–readable translation ... but there are errors and misunderstandings, as well as clumsiness." On Magarshack's translation she comments: "[it] offers natural, simple, and direct English prose that is appropriate to Tolstoi's Russian. There is occasional awkwardness ... and imprecision ... but Magarshack understands the text ... and even when unable to translate an idiom closely he renders its real meaning ... This is a good translation." On Wettlin's Soviet version she writes: "steady but uninspired, and sounds like English prose written by a Russian who knows the language but is not completely at home in it. The advantage is that Wettlin misses hardly any cultural detail."
In In Quest Of Tolstoy (2008), Hughes McLean devotes a full chapter ("Which English Anna?") comparing different translations of Anna Karenina. His conclusion, after comparing seven translations, is that "the PV [Pevear and Volokhonsky] translation, while perfectly adequate, is in my view not consistently or unequivocally superior to others in the market." He states his recommendations in the last two pages of the survey: "None of the existing translations is actively bad ... One's choice ... must therefore be based on nuances, subtleties, and refinements." He eliminates the Maudes for "disturbing errors" and "did not find either the Margashack or Carmichael ever superior to the others, and the lack of notes is a drawback." On Edmonds's version he states: "her version has no notes at all and all too frequently errs in the direction of making Tolstoy's 'robust awkwardness' conform to the translator's notion of good English style."
McLean's recommendations are the Kent–Berberova revision of Garnett's translation and the Pevear and Volokhonsky version. "I consider the GKB [Garnett–Kent–Berberova] a very good version, even though it is based on an out-of-date Russian text. Kent and Berberova did a much more thorough and careful revision of Garnett's translation than Gibian did of the Maude one, and they have supplied fairly full notes, conveniently printed at the bottom of the page." McLean takes Pevear and Volokhonsky to task for not using the best critical text (the "Zaidenshnur–Zhdanov text") and offering flawed notes without consulting C. J. Turner's A Karenina Companion (1993), although he calls their version "certainly a good translation."
Anna Karenin vs. Anna Karenina
The title has been translated as both Anna Karenin and Anna Karenina. The first instance "naturalizes" the Russian name into English, whereas the second is a direct transliteration of the actual Russian name. Vladimir Nabokov explains: "In Russian, a surname ending in a consonant acquires a final 'a' (except for the cases of such names that cannot be declined and except adjectives like OblonskAYA) when designating a woman; but only when the reference is to a female stage performer should English feminise a Russian surname (following a French custom: la Pavlova, 'the Pavlova'). Ivanov's and Karenin's wives are Mrs Ivanov and Mrs Karenin in England and the US—not 'Mrs Ivanova' or 'Mrs Karenina'."
Nabokov favours the first convention—removing the Russian 'a' to naturalize the name into English—but subsequent translators mostly allow Anna's actual Russian name to stand. Larissa Volokhonsky, herself a Russian, prefers the second option. Other translators, like Constance Garnett and Rosemary Edmonds, both non-Russians, prefer the first.
- 1911: Anna Karenine (1911 film), a Russian adaptation directed by Maurice André Maître.
- 1914: Anna Karenina (1914 film), a Russian adaptation directed by Vladimir Gardin
- 1915: Anna Karenina (1915 film), an American version starring Danish actress Betty Nansen
- 1927: Love (1927 film), an American version, starring Greta Garbo and directed by Edmund Goulding. This version featured significant changes from the novel and had two different endings, with a happy one for American audiences
- 1935: Anna Karenina (1935 film), starring Greta Garbo and Fredric March and directed by Clarence Brown
- 1948: Anna Karenina (1948 film) starring Vivien Leigh, Ralph Richardson and directed by Julien Duvivier
- 1953: Anna Karenina (1953 film), a Russian version directed by Tatyana Lukashevich
- 1960: Nahr al-Hob (River of Love), an Egyptian movie directed by Ezzel Dine Zulficar
- 1967: Anna Karenina (1967 film), a Russian version directed by Alexander Zarkhi
- 1977: Anna Karenina, a 1977 ten-episode BBC series, directed by Basil Coleman and starred Nicola Pagett, Eric Porter and Stuart Wilson.
- 1976/1979: Anna Karenina (1976 film), film of the Bolshoi Ballet production, directed by Margarita Pilikhina, first released in Finland in 1976. U.S. release in 1979[unreliable source?][unreliable source?]
- 1985: Anna Karenina (1985 film), a TV Movie starring Jacqueline Bisset and Christopher Reeve, directed by Simon Langton
- 1997: Anna Karenina (1997 film), the first American version filmed entirely in Russia, directed by Bernard Rose and starring Sophie Marceau and Sean Bean
- 2000: Anna Karenina (2000 TV mini-series), a British version by David Blair and starring Helen McCrory and Kevin McKidd
- 2012: Anna Karenina (2012 film), a British version by Joe Wright from a screenplay by Tom Stoppard, starring Keira Knightley and Jude Law
Anna Karenina in literature
- The novel is referenced in Vladimir Nabokov's Ada or Ardor: A Family Chronicle.
- Repeated reference is made explicitly to Leo Tolstoy and Anna Karenina in Muriel Barbery's Elegance of the Hedgehog.
- Anna Karenina is also mentioned in R. L. Stine's Goosebumps series Don't Go To Sleep, in which the lead character has trouble pronouncing Kitty's name.
- Mikhail Bulgakov makes reference to the Oblonsky household and Tolstoy in The Master and Margarita.
- In Jasper Fforde's novel Lost in a Good Book, a recurring joke is two unnamed "crowd-scene" characters from Anna Karenina discussing its plot.
- In the short-story "Sleep" by Haruki Murakami, the main character, an insomniac housewife, spends much time reading through and considering Anna Karenina. Furthermore, in the short story "Super-Frog Saves Tokyo," by the same author, the character of Frog references Anna Karenina when discussing how to beat Worm.
- Martin Amis's character Lev, in the novel House of Meetings, compares the protagonist with Anna Karenina's Vronsky.
- In the novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Anna Karenina is compared with the novel-like beauty of life, and Tereza arrives at Tomas's apartment with a copy of the book under her arm. In addition, Tereza and Tomas have a pet dog named Karenin, after Anna's husband.
- Anna Karenina plays a central role in Nilo Cruz's Pulitzer Prize-winning play Anna in the Tropics (2002), set in 1929, as a new lector, Juan Julian, reads the text as background for cigar rollers in the Ybor City section of Tampa, FL. As he reads the story of adultery, the workers' passions are inflamed, and end in tragedy like Anna's.
- In The Slippery Slope, the 10th book in A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket, the Baudelaire orphans, Violet and Klaus, and the third Quagmire triplet, Quigley, need to use the central theme of Anna Karenina as the final password to open the Vernacularly Fastened Door leading to the V.F.D. Headquarters. Klaus remembered how his mother had read it to him one summer when he was young as a summer reading book. Klaus summarized the theme with these words: "The central theme of Anna Karenina is that a rural life of moral simplicity, despite its monotony, is the preferable personal narrative to a daring life of impulsive passion, which only leads to tragedy." Esme Squalor, who had abandoned her mild-mannered husband in favor of running away with an immoral count, later said she once was supposed to read the book over the summer, but she decided it would never help her in her life and threw it in the fireplace.
- Guns, Germs, and Steel (by Jared Diamond) has a chapter (#9) on the domestication of large mammals, titled "Zebras, Unhappy Marriages, and the Anna Karenina Principle." This chapter begins with a variation on the quote above, "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."
- in Nicholas Sparks's book The Last Song, the main character, Ronnie, reads Anna Karenina and other Tolstoy books throughout the story.
- in Anton Chekhov's The Duel, there are two references. In Chapter II: "And he remembered that when Anna Karenin got tired of her husband, what she disliked most of all was his ears, and thought: 'How true it is, how true!'" In Chapter XII: "It's not for nothing they whistle. The fact that girls strangle their illegitimate children and go to prison for it, and that Anna Karenin flung herself under the train ..."
- in Allison Bechdel's graphic-novel Fun Home. Tolstoy's book is featured on the first page and is the first of many books mentioned throughout the narrative. Bechdel suggestively depicts father Bruce Bechdel reading the novel.
- In Cynthia Voigt's book A Solitary Blue, Voigt quotes Anna Karenina's opening line: Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
- In Emily Perkin's short story, "Circles," the book is referenced heavily and parallels are drawn between Anna Karenina's emotional loss of Vronsky and a teenaged girl's loss of a family member.
- In Howard Jacobson's novel Coming from Behind Anna Karenina is the main topic of competitive discussion among rivals for the Disraeli Fellowship at Cambridge University, a rivalry won in a backhanded sort of way by the protagonist, Sefton Goldberg.
- Nabokov, Vladimir (1980). Lectures on Russian Literature. New York: Harvest. p. 137 (note). ISBN 0-15-649591-0.
- Tolstoy, Leo. Anna Karenina. Penguin Publishing. ISBN 978-0-14-044917-4. Faulkner's opinion is used as an advert on the inside cover.
- Grossman, Lev (January 15, 2007). "The 10 Greatest Books of All Time". Time.
- Mandelker, Amy (1996). Framing Anna Karenina : Tolstoy, the woman question, and the Victorian novel. Columbus: Ohio State University Press. p. 241. ISBN 0-8142-0613-1.
- Study Guides & Essay Editing | GradeSaver
- Tolstoy Anna Karneni, Penguin, 1954, ISBN 0-14-044041-0, see introduction by Rosemary Edmonds
- Feuer, Kathryn B. Tolstoy and the Genesis of War and Peace, Cornell University Press, 1996, ISBN 0-8014-1902-6
- Trachtenberg, Jeffrey (Sept. 8, 2013). "How Many Times Can a Tale Be Told?". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2013-09-09.
- Pavlovskis-Petit, Zoja. Entry: Lev Tolstoi, Anna Karenina. Classe, Olive (ed.). Encyclopedia of Literary Translation into English, 2000. London, Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, pp. 1405–1406.
- McLean, Hughes. In Quest Of Tolstoy, Academic Studies Press, 2008, pp. 53–70.
- McLean, Hughes. In Quest Of Tolstoy, Academic Studies Press, 2008, pp. 54–55.
- McLean, Hughes. In Quest Of Tolstoy, Academic Studies Press, 2008, p 69.
- McLean, Hughes. In Quest Of Tolstoy, Academic Studies Press, 2008, p 70.
- McLean, Hughes. In Quest Of Tolstoy, Academic Studies Press, 2008, p 71.
- Makoveeva, Irina (2001). "Cinematic Adaptations of Anna Karenina" (pdf). Studies in Slavic Cultures (2). Retrieved August 16, 2013.
- "Anna Karenina (1911)". IMDB.
- "Poster for Anna Karenine (1911)" (jpg). Retrieved 16 August 2013. "used to show spelling of the title"
- "Amazon.com: Anna Karenina (VHS): Maya Plisetskaya, Alexander Godunov, Yuri Vladimirov, Nina Sorokina, Aleksandr Sedov, M. Sedova, Vladimir Tikhonov, Margarita Pilikhina, Vladimir Papyan, Boris Lvov-Anokhin, Leo Tolstoy: Movies & TV:". Amazon. Retrieved 2012-12-26.
- "Anna Karenina (1976)". IMDb. Retrieved 2012-12-26.
- Anna Karenina at the Internet Movie Database
Biographical and literary criticism
- Bakhtin, Mikhail, The Dialogic Imagination, ed. Michael Holquist, trans. Caryl Emerson and Michael Holquist (University of Texas Press, Austin, 1981)
- Bayley, John, Tolstoy and the Novel (Chatto and Windus, London, 1966)
- Berlin, Isaiah, The Hedgehog and the Fox: An Essay on Tolstoy's View of History (Simon & Schuster, New York, 1966; Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London, 1967)
- Eikhenbaum, Boris, Tolstoi in the Seventies, trans. Albert Kaspin (Ardis, Ann Arbor, 1982)
- Evans, Mary, Anna Karenina (Routledge, London and New York, 1989)
- Gifford, Henry, Tolstoy (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1982)
- Gifford, Henry (ed) Leo Tolstoy (Penguin Critical Anthologies, Harmondsworth, 1971)
- Leavis, F. R., Anna Karenina and Other Essays (Chatto and Windus, London, 1967)
- Mandelker, Amy, Framing 'Anna Karenina': Tolstoy, the Woman Question, and the Victorian Novel (Ohio State University Press, Columbus, 1993)
- Morson, Gary Saul, Anna Karenina in our time: seeing more wisely (Yale University Press 2007) read parts at Google Books
- Nabokov, Vladimir, Lectures on Russian Literature (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London and Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, New York, 1981)
- Orwin, Donna Tussing, Tolstoy's Art and Thought, 1847–1880 (Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1993)
- Speirs, Logan, Tolstoy and Chekhov (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1971)
- Strakhov, Nikolai, N., "Levin and Social Chaos", in Gibian, ed., (W. W. Norton & Company, New York, 2005).
- Steiner, George, Tolstoy or Dostoevsky: An Essay in Contrast (Faber and Faber, London, 1959)
- Thorlby, Anthony, Anna Karenina (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge and New York, 1987)
- Tolstoy, Leo, Correspondence, 2. vols., selected, ed. and trans. by R. F. Christian (Athlone Press, London and Scribner, New York, 1978)
- Tolstoy, Leo, Diaries, ed. and trans. by R. F. Christian (Athlone Press, London and Scribner, New York, 1985)
- Tolstoy, Sophia A., The Diaries of Sophia Tolstoy, ed. O. A. Golinenko, trans. Cathy Porter (Random House, New York, 1985)
- Trainini, Marco, Vendetta, tienimi compagnia. Due vendicatori in «Middlemarch» di George Eliot e «Anna Karenina» di Lev Tolstoj, Milano, Arcipelago Edizioni, 2012, ISBN 88-7695-475-9.
- Turner, C. J. G., A Karenina Companion (Wilfrid Laurier University Press, Waterloo, 1993)
- Wasiolek, Edward, Critical Essays on Tolstoy (G. K. Hall, Boston, 1986)
- Wasiolek, Edward, Tolstoy's Major Fiction (University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1978)
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Anna Karenina in English
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Anna Karenina in Russian
- «Анна Каренина» at LitPortal.ru
- Full Russian text of Anna Karenina at Alexey Komarov's Internet Library
- Anna Karenina at the Internet Book List