Talk:Anna Karenina

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Story Spoiler[edit]

Can someone erase the sentence that says Kitty becomes Levins wife. I don't think we are supposed to include plot spoilers here unless clearly indicated, such as chapter summaries. The character list should definitely not include them. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:12, 5 May 2011 (UTC)


Am I right in thinking that the inspiration for Anna Karenina came from a brief newspaper article -- or am I confusing it with a passage in A la Recherche du Temps Perdu, wherre Proust comments on how simply things can be summarized? -- Tarquin 18:31 Dec 20, 2002 (UTC)

This is correct. The article that Tolstoy read was a description of a railway suicide. This motif appears twice in the novel: firstly the suicide of an unnamed women on the occasion of Anna and Vronsky's first meeting, secondly Anna's suicide at the end of the penultimate part. This should go in the article. Similarly, the article on War and Peace could benefit from a description of its genesis in Tolstoy's original interest in writing a novel of the Decembrist Uprising (which article is also wanted). -- Alan Peakall 09:56 Jan 2, 2003 (UTC)
Yes, that's the story about Anna Karenina, but I'll bet Tolstoy had also read Madame Bovary for inspiration. Ortolan88 15:23, 2 January 2003 (UTC)

Ortolan88, I don't get it. How is Molly Bloom's Soliloquy related to Anna Karenina? -- Mpt 07:14, 3 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Oprah's Thesis?[edit]

Hmmm. Wikipedia isn't exactly a place to promote an interpretation or thesis, so I'm not sure the new rewrites should stand. Surely this reader got the idea after the last Oprah installment on TV? Mandel 06:38, Dec 9, 2004 (UTC)

I don't watch Oprah![edit]

Well, I'm not really trying to "promote" my own interpretation, but a synopsis doesn't really tell you much, and there's no one unassailable interpretation, so that's why I felt mine would be as good as any. I don't pretend that my reading is the any more valid than anyone else's, so if others care to expand the interpretation section, no one's stopping them.

But I liked Anna Karenina before Oprah made it cool -- I was a Russian language and lit major in college, and have read this book several times, one of those times in Russian, which is a great way to fill up time normally spent having a life. :-)

--dablaze 02:15, Mar 22, 2005 (UTC)

The idea is interesting of course, but it defies one of wikipedia's rules. See Wikipedia:No_original_research and Wikipedia:Wikipedia is not a soapbox #4. Mandel 20:31, Apr 18, 2005 (UTC)
Well, perhaps I shouldn't have been so flowery in places, but this isn't my original research. It's actually a pretty common interpretation of the book; I'd be surprised if something similar weren't in the Cliffs Notes. I think any Russian lit scholar -- especially a Tolstoy scholar -- would agree, even if they took issue with one or two minor points. Maybe Google some interpretations, or check out a Cliffs Notes? –dablaze 02:48, Apr 21, 2005 (UTC)
Maybe you should prune and change the wording in places to make it sound less an interpretation than some commonly held points on the novel? Mandel 18:13, Apr 22, 2005 (UTC)
OK, followed your suggestion. How's it look to you now? –dablaze 14:28, Apr 23, 2005 (UTC)
Much better. Thank you. Mandel 17:33, Apr 23, 2005 (UTC)

It would be nice to have a summary at the top of the article that does not go into so much detail as to spoil the novel for naive readers. To find out what the novel was about, I had to read the rather long-winded eight-part summary, complete with fractured grammar. Too long, and poorly written. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:45, 20 July 2007 (UTC)

Russian diminutives in synopsis; note on transliteration[edit]

Someone recently changed the names Kitty and Dolly to "Katya" and "Dasha." While these are both correct in general, they are not correct in the context of AK. English was a fashionable language among the upper classes (though not as much as French), and these English names (along with Betsy and Annie) appear phonetically spelled out in the original Russian text as Кити, Долли, Бетси, and Ани.

I never quite knew why these characters had such diminutives, but I'm guessing it was one of Tolstoy's jabs at aristocratic affectations. In any case, if anyone would like to check out the original, here's a link to the original Russian text.

Also, I strongly feel that the Russian letter Щ should be transliterated as "shch", and not as "shtch", as a previous contributor had done. (Actually, I feel it should just be transliterated as "sh," since it's easier for us, and it's pretty much how most Russians pronounce it anyway, but I guess that's not linguistically accurate...)

Wikipedia also recommends the "shch" transliteration (see Transliteration of Russian into English), as it's the standard in the U.N., RF, blah blah blah. And frankly, I've never seen "shtch" before. I'm not a native speaker, but I've been studying and speaking Russian for over 15 years (including time spent living in the FSU), and this is a new one to me. "Shch" is jarring enough in English, and even though I understand the logic behind it, "shtch" is just too much!

--dablaze 16:59, Mar 25, 2005 (UTC)

Aha, now I see why Dasha and Katya were abbreviated to Dolly and Kitty. I thought it was just someone being lazy and using anglicised versions. Olga Raskolnikova 13:32, 26 March 2005 (UTC)
I checked Wikipedia's article in ANNA KARENINA in several languages: French, German, Italian. They all use the English nicknames "Kitty" and "Dolly" for Ekaterina and Darya, presumably reflecting how the novel is translated in those languages. So I guess that even in Russian, Tolstoy had the English nicknames in mind. A previous poster said this was "one of Tolstoy's jabs at aristocratic affectations"; yet the novel treats the Sherbatskis sympathetically, not as pompous aristocrats. (talk) 04:00, 22 September 2013 (UTC)

Contemporary Parallel Characters[edit]

As having only read Anna Karenina and not the Lemoney Snicket' series, I admit I am bit confused on why Violet Baudelaire is listed as a contemporary parallel character. ScottM 02:45, 18 October 2005 (UTC)

THEN READ IT!! okay it's is talked about a lot in the 9th book and because a major plot point Joeyjojo 05:34, 27 March 2006 (UTC)


I'd like to nominate this article at WP:V0.5N, since it is a major literary work, but unfortunately it lacks sources ("further reading" is assumed not to be source material for the article). Would some of the major contributors to this article be able to put in their sources as a references and/or notes section, preferably with inline refs? Please nominate when you think it's OK, and also consider WP:GAN. I'd also like to see War and Peace in, but that seems to need a lot of work. Thanks, Walkerma 05:05, 6 June 2006 (UTC)


I noticed something in the plot synopsis that didn't align with what I've read. Specifically:

"They plan to return to the country, but in a jealous rage Anna leaves early,"

This isn't quite true. She doesn't leave early for the country as this implies. She goes looking for Vronsky to "tell him all" (get in the last word before she goes off on her own somewhere else... anywhere else... the first city out on the rail line).

They do plan to return to the country, but Vronsky has left to visit his mother before their departure. After receiving a cold reply to her telegram requesting him to return immediately, Anna sets out to find Vronsky herself.

So Anna goes to find him and winds up in Obiralovka, which is where she gets off the train, asks around about Vronsky and runs into her messenger, Mikhail, whom she'd sent out to the Countess Vronsky's earlier (prior to sending the telegram). Mikhail hands her the note which contains the same message as the telegram. I wasn't entirely sure where she was until the Countess Vronsky herself explains to Sergyei Ivanovitch in a later chapter,

"My son was with me at my country place. A note was brought him. He answered immediately. We did not know she was at the station."

It is at this point that she then kills herself.

So she's not leaving early for their country estate. She's leaving him altogether. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:54, 13 August 2006 (UTC)

Anna VS Katia[edit]

I heard from the latest translation of the Anna Karerina (Puffin Classics) that the character Anna Karerina is depicted as Tolstoy in his later life (especially his marriage)- the railway station where Anna kills herself predicts that Tolstoy would die similarly. Is is true? I don't understand, but I think it does make sense as Anna's relationship with Vronsky fails and weakens after a while.... likewise with Tolstoy with his wife Sofia.

Also, do people think that Ekaterina (Katia, Kitty) is an opposite figure of Anna, because not only because of her happy ending with Kostya Levin, but her personality is different to Anna. For example, when Anna comes to say goodbye to Katia and Dasha for the last time in Part Seven, Katia says "The same as always and just as attractive. Such a handsome woman! But there's something pathetic about her!".

Katia loves and despises Anna, whilst Anna tries to humble herself in front of Katia. Also, Katia, although having suffered rejection from Vronsky, she recovered very well, but Anna does not recover and kills herself.

Perhaps Katia has a more hardened soul, or perhaps Anna did not have a very supportive environment as she was despised by the whole society itself??

Heyjo0205 18:24, 24 October 2006 (UTC)Heyjo

Relationship diagram?[edit]

I think this article would benefit from a charater relationship diagram, similar to that of the Pride and Prejudice article. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 22:27, 5 May 2007 (UTC). - Try this relationship diagram (WARNING: spoiler alert!) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:45, 17 May 2011 (UTC)

Amusing trivia[edit]

In my 1995 Wordsworth Classics edition the opening sentence reads: "All families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way". Nice going! What's next? "Call Ishmael?"

Kind regards Roger Duprat

P.S. Sorry for my lack of HTML-skill, hope I won't mess up this page too bad. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:08, 3 June 2007 (UTC)

You know that the book was written in Russian, right? There are different ways to translate sentences from one language to another. --JayHenry 20:15, 3 June 2007 (UTC)
Russian!?! What are you talking about!? Seriously though, one of the most famous literary openings is rendered meaningless, that's hardly a matter of finicky linguistics. /R.D. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:08, 4 June 2007 (UTC)
I'd say the Wordsworth edition is missing one word. The opening sentence in Russian is: "Все счастливые семьи похожи друг на друга, каждая несчастливая семья несчастлива по-своему", which literally translates as: "All happy families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way". I've highlighted the missing words. Errabee 12:20, 6 June 2007 (UTC)
My point exactly. They missed a critical word in the very first sentence. Without 'happy' the sentence is oxymoronic. Ah, forget about it! If you can't see that this is amusing, explanations probably won't help. /Roger Duprat —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:03, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
For the record, I was amused. --RSLxii 22:25, 28 February 2011 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:LeoTolstoy AnnaKarenina.jpg[edit]

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Image:LeoTolstoy AnnaKarenina.jpg is being used on this article. I notice the image page specifies that the image is being used under fair use but there is no explanation or rationale as to why its use in this Wikipedia article constitutes fair use. In addition to the boilerplate fair use template, you must also write out on the image description page a specific explanation or rationale for why using this image in each article is consistent with fair use.

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If there is other other fair use media, consider checking that you have specified the fair use rationale on the other images used on this page. Note that any fair use images uploaded after 4 May, 2006, and lacking such an explanation will be deleted one week after they have been uploaded, as described on criteria for speedy deletion. If you have any questions please ask them at the Media copyright questions page. Thank you.BetacommandBot 04:13, 6 June 2007 (UTC)

I've provided a fair use rationale for this image. Errabee 12:12, 6 June 2007 (UTC)

Stream of consciousness?[edit]

I would like someone to cite the claim that Anna's Part VII monologue is "stream of consciousness." I don't have the book on me at the moment, but there's a long jump between simply recording a character's interior thoughts (which was done by most omniscient narrators previous, including Tolstoy himself in War and Peace), and a real, textured stream-of-consciousness that attempts to recreate the entirety of a person's inner self without the sense of narratorial smoothening, as in the work of Joyce, Woolf, or even late James. Tolstoy's work is much closer to the traditional mind-reading of narrators in the style of Turgenev, Dickens, or Eliot. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:32, 2 August 2008 (UTC)

I suggest the Oxford World's classic hardback introduction. Actually if you ignore the quotation marks, you'll see more clearly how close that section is to stream of consciousness technique used by, say, Joyce and Woolf. (talk) 12:55, 9 December 2008 (UTC)

Tchaikovsky's Anna Karenina!![edit]

Quote: Anna Karenina a ballet composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

Comment: Tchaikovsky never wrote any such work. Maybe others took music by Tchaikovsky and used it for an Anna Karenina ballet. That should be made clear. -- JackofOz (talk) 02:20, 21 November 2008 (UTC)

OK, I've tracked it down and written an article. Anna Karenina (2005 ballet) was created in 2005, and drew on various excerpts from Tchaikovsky's works. It could not have been the same work as appeared in The Turning Point, which was made in the 1970s. -- JackofOz (talk) 23:43, 21 November 2008 (UTC)

Translation Error[edit]

"une femme comme il faut" in French does not at all mean "a married woman". It's far more complex than that, but unfortunately, I can think of no way of rendering the exact meaning in English. The locution "comme il faut", used in French as an invariable adjective, is very common. It has a sarcastic tone to it. Too bad there really seems to be no equivalent in English, at least none that I know. But definitely, "married" is not at all correct. You could go to a restaurant "bien comme il faut", dressed "comme il faut", speak "comme il faut", be a man "comme il faut", and own a house "comme il faut". In the context used by Tolstoy, the "femme comme il faut" need not be married. But she's an aristocrat, distinguished, proper. She is most likely rich, eloquent, and educated. She's almost surely a devout. However, "comme il faut" reveals a deep hidden darker side. Something uncanny, inappropriate, "unconfessable". Maybe a peculiar taste for lust, dirty pleasures, alcohol, drugs, etc... Maybe some awful secret. In any case, when someone says "c'est une femme (bien) comme il faut", you immediately know that below the shiny surface lies a much darker side. There's a clear sense of hypocrisy, duplicity, and falseness. This is why "comme il faut" is always used sarcastically. I definitely wouldn't want people to refer to me as "un homme bien comme il faut". For example, that US church minister Ted Haggard was a man "comme il faut" : devout, polite, well-dressed, eloquent, etc... during the day, yet sexually depraved, having sex with male prostitutes and using drugs at night. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:48, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

The equivalent in English that comes to me is "respectable". --Jerome Potts (talk) 15:37, 29 April 2011 (UTC)
I am a french native speaker and I have to disagree a bit about the "hidden/dark connotation" part of your comment. Although I see your point, that this kind of praise might be perceived as suspicious, I think the span of the expression is larger, and, given a speaker who would see no trouble in appraising a conformist behavior, it could be used litteraly. Furthermore, the "sarcastic" use of the sentence could be directed not towards the person's "hidden secret", but on his/her sense of being "as one should be" (a litteral equivalent in english, although the uses don't always overlap), their self-righteousness so to speak, or even towards the kind of morals or society which would approve that kind of person. In my experience, "comme il faut" refers mostly to a "bourgeois" or "snob" point of view, enacted critically by the one using the expression. But maybe it was different in Tolstoy's times. --EricGG 20:23, 23 May 2013

Plot Synopsis Part 8[edit]

The last sentence has an unclear antecedent. Who's grave is in East Serbia? I'm pretty sure it's not Levin's. Noclock (talk) 01:46, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

Incomplete Characters list[edit]

Someone should correct the list of characters that appear in the novel.I'm no expert,but I know that some are missing,like countess Nordston(i think).I can't make the changes because my english is very poor and i'm reading a non-english book translation. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:48, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

Trivia section[edit]

I'm under the impression that trivia sections are discouraged by Wikipedia. If that's the case, I would argue for the deletion of the trivia section on this page as whilst it's "cute" that the Gilmore Girls etc make a joke about the book, it's hardly relevant, it's not encyclopedic and the entire section is just a list of tedious American pop culture references that have no real bearing on the novel at all. Adochka (talk) 15:12, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

Spoilers early?[edit]

Could we perhaps move major spoilers, like Anna's "violet suicide", into plot synopsis? Having just started the book, and here only to glean a little context, that was, well, somewhat disappointing. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Rufwork (talkcontribs) 01:39, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

Sloppy summary[edit]

The summary paragraph "A few months later, Levin learns that his brother Nikolai is dying of consumption. Levin wants to go to him, and is initially angry and put out that Kitty wishes to accompany him. Levin feels that Kitty, whom he has placed on a pedestal, should not come down to earth and should not mix with people from a lower class." makes no sense. Number 1, Nikolai is the same class as his brother. Number 2, Levin and Kitty deal with "lower class" serfs all the time. What actually upsets the puritanical Levin is that Nikolai has a mistress and Levin doesn't want Kitty to meet her (Incidentally, Tolstoy implies that he thinks Levin is being unreasonable at this point) CharlesTheBold (talk) 17:36, 11 December 2009 (UTC)

Future updates[edit]

I'm a bit of an Anna Karenina enthusiast and have taken a college course on the novel. I am a relative "newbie" and have just gotten more into the Wikipedia style guide. I'm very interested in fixing up this article and will be tackling it in the near future. HstryQT (talk) 20:30, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

Publication History[edit]

The intro text alludes to a spat between Tolstoy and the editor of The Russion Messenger over the final installment of Anna Karenina. Does anyone know more detail? I'd love to see a "publication history" section to this article, but I'm not the person to write it.--Rsl12 (talk) 12:28, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

Why do we care so much about what Nabokov thought?[edit]

Early on in the article, particularly in the Karenin/Karenina debate, there seems to be undue weight given to the opinion of Vladimir Nabokov as if he is the ultimate authority on Anna Karenina. I'm not sure why his opinion is given such deference. The first time I read it I wondered, 'what does he have to do with Anna Karenina?'. Can it be reworded? EttaLove (talk) 01:26, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

Nabokov was a respected college professor and published (posthumously) a famous book on Russian literature (Lectures on Russian Literature). In it he states his views on some of the most famous books in Russian literature. However, your point is taken and the section is rephrased. (talk) 11:41, 23 June 2010 (UTC)
Nabokov is just wrong. Neither surname (Karenina or Karenin) is default in Russian. First one is female, but second one is definitely male. No one is gender-neutral. Why we can consider male being default??? To remove gender from the surname, we should remove ending at all, and make Karen from both Karenina and Karenin and also make Nabok from Nabokov, because "ov" means definitely male in Russian. I am native russian. Dims (talk) 23:13, 15 January 2013 (UTC)


While the detailed plot explanation is excellent, this article could also greatly benefit from a short (one paragraph) summary of the novel's events, for those readers who simply want to get some idea as to what the book is about. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:45, 7 October 2010 (UTC)

Agreed, this article desperately needs a synopsis! If I wanted to read that much text, I would actually read the book. (talk) 03:06, 26 May 2011 (UTC)

It needs to be trimmed back considerably. Anyone who posts here can start doing it. TK (talk) 11:33, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
what I think the op wants & I wanted too, when I went to the article, was a Plot introduction that gives a paragraph to say what the novel is about. A book that long deserves the rest as the Plot section & that's what usually happens. Something like what I've added, if that's okay. Manytexts (talk) 08:19, 4 October 2011 (UTC)

Karenin or Karenina?[edit]

The article says Constance Garnett prefers removing the Russian 'a' to naturalize the name into English. But Project Gutenberg's copy of Garnett's translation does not drop the 'a'. Is the article wrong, or is Project Gutenberg altering her translation? Anthonyhcole (talk) 16:26, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

Wrong. They only use Karenina in the title. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 11:52, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
Russian feminine surnames end with "a" or "aya". It depends. See also Eastern Slavic naming customs. Regards.--GoPTCN 21:09, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
Ending "-in" means male, "-ina" means female. It is wrong to think that "a" means female, while no "a" means nothing. Gender is explicit in both cases. In other cases change may be more complex: "shklovsk-iy" - male, "shklovsk-aya" - female. Here you can't remove something to turn female into male. To remove gender, you should remove entire ending -- Karenin->Karen, Nabokov->Nabok etc. Dims (talk) 23:19, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

Long plot section[edit]

Why do I have to read a novel just to find what the book is about? Please could there be a proper plot summary (2-3 sentences) as well as the 8 sections given here? --User:Nibinaear 21:08, 2 July 2011

Done :) Manytexts (talk) 08:58, 4 October 2011 (UTC)

Thanks :) Nibinaear (talk) 21:04, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

Portrait of Baroness Ikskul[edit]

What is this illustration for? The text reads "... She is portrayed in her younger years as Anna Karenina". Does it imply that some portrait of Karenina was painted with use of the baroness as a model? I doubt it. At least, it needs for reliable sources. --Vladimir Ivanov (talk) 12:55, 11 March 2012 (UTC)

This seems like an error[edit]

In the second paragraph of the Part 5 summary, we read: "Kitty later proves herself a great help in nursing Nikolai. Levin and Marya Nikolaevena are paralyzed by their own grief, initially not knowing what to do with Levin." Should that last "Levin" be "Nikolai"? I know we're enjoined to be bold but I'm not going to make this change without having read the book. JamesMLane t c 05:36, 8 July 2012 (UTC)

Karenin and Karenina[edit]


the book is universally known as "Anna Karenina", and whether other translators titled it "Anna Karenin" is irrelevant. They may have a clear bias, so it is better to stay to the original title. Nabokov was a dissident, and at that time possibly had a negative image of Russia, explaining why he does not like the original title.--Tomcat (7) 11:59, 24 December 2012 (UTC)

I think it is pretty relevant for people to know that if they find a book called Anna Karenin it's the same one as Anna Karenina. Imputing motives to the Nabokov simply for mentioning that there are different translations doesn't seem very useful or relevant. The translator who changed the title was Rosemary Edmonds a very well known and respected translator (also the 1917 translation by Constance Garnett use's this title), but the title is mentioned as such by hundreds of other people as you can see if you make a google search. It is not uncommon or malicious that translators adapt titles and names of characters to the language into which they translate. ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 14:41, 24 December 2012 (UTC)

1911 film[edit]

An editor had added a note to the film section "The 1911 version of the film (directed by Maurice André Maître/ Pathe) survives within the Desmet Collection at EYE Filmmuseum, Netherlands." No citation was given and a search of the web site for Maurice André Maître or Maurice Maître did not find this.

However, I did find this page on the European Film Gateway ( site. as I'm not sure if the direct URL is stable here's what the page has

Date created: 01.01.1911
Keywords: EFG1914
Provider: EYE Film Instituut Nederland
Rights: Contact EYE Film Institute Netherlands for more information (
Original format: 1170 X 800 mm
Document type: Poster

Here is a link to the post image. It has "Русскія Счены" across the top and "Anna Karenine" on the bottom. I've updated the line about the 1911 film to use the spelling shown on the poster. I don't recognize "Русскія Счены" and wonder if there are typos and that if someone meant "Pусский Сцена" (Russian Scene)? I also checked the video catalog at the European Film Gateway but they did not have anything for this film. --Marc Kupper|talk 02:39, 14 July 2013 (UTC)

Name of Sergius/Sergey Ivanovich Koznyshev[edit]

Why is the first name of Сергей Иванович Кознышев transliterated into Sergius here? As far as I'm aware, Сергей should be Sergey (or Sergei). Note, however that I only checked a few chapters of the Russian text, which brings me to my next question: Is he ever referred to as Sergius in one of the French/English speaking parts? Or is Sergius used by a certain translation? The one I read was by Constance Garnett, precisely the version on Project Gutenberg, which uses Sergey. Thank you in advance if anyone can clear this up. Dewclouds (talk) 07:53, 22 July 2013 (UTC)