Üyelik tarihi: Jan 2008
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I/ DESCRIPTION OF THE BOOK
The title of the book is “ Anna Karenina”
The novel was published by Penguin Readers Publishing
The translation of the book was first published in Penguin Classics 1954
( The Whole Edition ) by Rosemary Edmonds
The first simplified edition was published in 1992
This edition was published in 2001
The type of the book is novel.
The author of the book is Count Leo Nikolayevich Tolstoy.
Count Leo Nikolayevich TOLSTOY: Count Leo Tolstoy( born sept.9,1828 and died nov.22,1910) was Russia’s greatest novelist and one of its most influential moral philosophers.He was born near Moscow at Yasnaya Polyanai, or “Clear Glade” the estate where he was to spend most of his life.At the age of nine he became an orphan and thereafter he was brought up by aunts.In 1847 he left the University of Kazan to reform his estate, but he was unprepared for the task and moved to Moscow.Five years later, Tolstoy volunteered for the army in the Caucasus,Crimea; he participated in the defense of Sevastopol and was hailed as a rising literary star for his fictionalized Childhood, Youth and the Sevastopol Sketches,which already contained some of the main features of his mature work--psychological analysis of unprecendented detail, and a unglamorous actions performed by ordinary men.
Tolstoy retired from the army in 1856, traveled in Europe, and returned to his estate, where he founded a school for peasant children that anticipated several modern educational practises.He was married in 1862 and a year later publihed a novel he had begun much earlier, The Cossacks.During this period he wrotethe novels upon which most of his fame rests: War and Peace and Anna Karenina.A deep-seated dissatisfaction with himself and a long-frustrated search for meaning in life, however, led to the crisis Tolstoy described in his Confession and Memoirs of a Madman.In these works he also formulated a doctorine to live by, based on a nonviolence, renunciation of wealth, self-improvement through pyscical work, and nonparticipation in such social institutions as war juries.
The doctorine had an enormous vogue, profoundly influencing Mahatma Gandhi, among others.Yasyana Polyanai became a place of pligrimage, and Tolstoy was revered and emulated throughoutthe world.Constant strife, however, existed between Tolstoy’s wife, Sofia, and his followers; finally, after many scenes, Tolstoy left the estate in October 1910, became ill, and died at nearby Astopovo a few weeks later.
Anna Karenina (1875-77) also weaves together several plots. Anna gives up family and social position to live with her lover, Vronsky, and her brother’s less consuming adulterous passions lead to marital strife.The courtship and rewarding marriage of Levin and Kitty, based on Tolstoy’s own experience, provide a contrast.Although the novel’s scope is smaller than that of War and Peace, and its techniques differ, it also presents an extensive picture of Russia.The novel’s end depicts the crisis the author was undergoing himself.
II/ Presentation of the Book
The story takes place in Russian High Society in St.Petersburg and Moscow. And also the country estates which belongs to Levin and Count Vronsky.
“In the 1870’s, the Russian aristocracy was plagued by financial woes.The liberation of the serfs some years earlier had created an agricultural crisis, as it became extremely diffucult for large landowners to make a profit through farming.The introductionof the railroads caused urban centers such as Moscow and Petersburg (Leningrad) to replace country estates as the centers of the social life, but the expense of the life in the cities, combained with the easy access to bank loans and to the nobility of Western Europe led to ritual imitation throughout Anna Karenina, well-bred Russian men and women speak to one another primarily in French, particularly if they seek privacy from eavesdropping servants.
The 1870s were a time of social change and political upheaval as well.The glimmerings of communism can be seen in characters like Nikola, who accuses his brother of revamping the ideas of the communists in defining his own ideas.The plight of the poverty-stricken peasants was problematic, as was the relationship of Russia to Slavic nations such as Serbia, which languishedunder Turkish rule.Gender and class roles were frequently debated, and greater education for the peasants and for women was often seen as a goal.But as Anna Karenina demonstrates, Society remained at least outwardly old-fashioned despite the liberalism of the time.This was true especially with regard to marital propriety.Divorces were extremely diffucult to obtain, and well-bred women who left their husbands to live with lovers, like Anna, were considered fallen, and lived as outcasts from society.Men enjoyed much greater freedom, both within marriage and outside it.
The story takes places in 19th centuriy nearly about 1870’s.
The main characters are Anna Karenina, Karenin (Anna’s husband), Count Vronsky (Anna’s lover), Oblonsky, Levin, Kitty, Dolly.
Stephan Oblonsky’s wife Dolly had discovered that her husband was having an affair.With her beauty fading and her household a wreck, she had had enough.Stephan fretfully wrote to his sister, Anna Karenina, asking her to come to Moscow and convince Dolly not to leave him.
Later,while working at his job in the entrenched Moscow bureaucracy,Stephan received an unexpected visitor; Levin, an old friend from the university, came to discuss Dolly’s sister Kitty, whom he wanted to marry.After being informed by Oblonsky that he had a rival for Kitty’s affections, a certain Count Vronsky of St. Petersburg, Levin resolved that he would propose to Kitty that very night.
At the same moment, Anna and Count Vronsky were riding together in a train bound for Moscow. Vronsky noticed the charming woman as he made his way to the first-class compartment that he shared with his mother.He had time to take note of “ the suppressed eagerness which played over her face” as their eyes met, and she remained in his mind. However, upon reaching their destination, the two went their seperate ways – Anna to her brother’s home, Vronsky and his mother to a hotel.
Approached by Anna, Dolly at first refused to discuss her husband’s infidelity. “ Everything is lost after what has happened, everything is over !”she raged. But finally she relented to Anna’s plea to keep the family together.
Meanwhile, Levin had arrived early at a dinner party hosted by the parents of Kitty and Dolly, determined to make his desires known to Kitty before the appearance of the rich and handsome Count. But “ That cannot be.......forgive me,” Kitty replied upon hearing his stammering proposal. Crushed by the rejection, Levin escaped from gathering at the first opportunity.
A few days later, at her coming-out ball, Kitty couldn’t help but notice how Anna and Vronsky kept gazing at each other. Vronsky’s face had a look that puzzled her. . . “like the expression of an intelligent dog when it had done wrong” It was clear to Kitty that the two were in love.
Neverthless, with her task her seeing to Stephan and Dolly completed, Anna boarded the next train for St.Petersburg. She thought of her son, Seriozha and her husband Alexei Karenin. “....My life will go on in the old way, all the nice and as usual,” she thought. But she found that she could not easily dismiss Count Vronsky from her mind. And stepping along the way, as Anna stepped out for a breath of air, there he was. “You know that I have come to be where you are; I cannot help it,” confessed the officer. Anna was boyh delighted and flattered by this, but it was simply unthinkable that anything could come of his attraction to her. After all, she was a married woman.
Back in Moscow, Kitty was devastated. Not only had Count Vronsky spurned her, but Levin had also left the city to supervise work on his country estate. Humiliated and distraught, Kitty became so ill with despair that she was soon unable to eat or sleep.Her frantic parents, after finding no restorative medical treatment in Moscow, sent her to Europe to consult various doctors.
Meanwhile, life for Anna in St.Petersburg remained strangely unsettled. The happiness that in Moscow “had fairly flashed from her eyes,( now seemed ) hidden somewhere far away.” To her further disquiet, the love-struck Vronsky took every opportunity to see her.One night she knelt and begged him to leave her in peace; but still he persisted: “I can’t think of you and myself apart. You and I are one to me.” And at that moment Anna “let her eyes rest on him, full of love.”
Soon afterward, Alexei Karenin walked into a party and found his wife with Vronsky; but Anna denied any impropriety. Still, she and Vronsky met night after night, with Karenin seemingly powerless or unwilling to stop them.Anna by now felt “so sinful, so guilty” ; but still she could not curb her passion for the Count.
The following summer, while staving at her husband’s villa outside the city, Anna confronted her lover with an announcement: she was pregnant.Thoughhe understood the gravity of Anna’s position, Vronsky smiled. This was the “turning point he had ben longing for.”
“Leave your husband and make our life one,” he implored. But Anna shook her head.If she left, Alexei would take sole custody of Seriozha and she would not be allowed to see her son. But Anna did promise Vronsky that she would tell her husband the truth about the child she was carrying.
When Anna made her confession, Alexey, instead of showing jealousy or indignation, merely warned his wife aganist “public displays of flirtation.” He sole concern was to preserve his social and business reputation ;a duel or a divorce would only serve to disgrace him. “The family cannot be broken up by a whim, a caprice, or even by the sin of one of the partners in the marriage.”he informed Anna. “......Our life must go on as it has done in the past.”
Anna reacted to his words at first with guilt and shame, but this quickly turned to anger: “He knows that I cannot repent that I breathe, that I love ; he knows that it can lead to nothing but lying and deceit- but he wants to go on torturing me...” Vronsky also was increasingly anxious to begin a new life with Anna, who would not leave her son. And so, “the position was one of misery for all three...”
Kitty had by now returned to Moscow, felling somewhat better. One morning, just after dawn, Levin caught sight of her in a carriage, as it skirted his estate destined for her family’s summer home. The pangs of love, long since buried, welled up in him once more. Months later, taking advantage of a trip to the city, he called again upon Kitty. It was apparent to both that they cared deeply for each other, and, after a proper courtship, they were untied as man and wife. Levin, for years caught up in trying to find out who he was and where he fit in God’s universe, had finally and happily found his place.
But in St.Petersburg, relationships were breaking up. The nearer Anna came to the birth of her child, the more demanding and cold Alexei became. Then Anna survived a deadly fever to give birth to a baby girl. Oddly, the diffuculty of the birth eased the tensions between herself and her husband. At the other extreme, Vronsky saw no end to the barriers seperating him from his lover. Desperate at the prospect of living wiyhout Anna, he unsuccessfully tried shooting himself. Still torn, Anna finally did move in with him, and soon the couple left Russia to live in Italy for a time.
Meanwhile, Kitty and Levin were living on their estate outside of Moscow. Levin felt gartified to be spiritually sustained by a loving wife. Like Anna, Kitty went through a diffucult pregnancy, but it culminated in the birth of a fine little boy. Theirs was an idyllic life.
Upon returning from Italy to St.Petersburg, Vronsky and Anna, found themselves ostracized. Gossip followed them everywhere. The couple argued frequently, and Anna, in a burst of depressions, finally accused Vronsky of being unfaithful. Even after they moved into a newly-inherited estate, Anna felt alone in the world. She revived her habit of taking a little morphine to help her sleep, a legacy from her pregnancy.
Summer turned to winter, and the family relocated again, this time to Moscow. There, the badly strained relationship fared no better. Though Anna pled for Vronsky to love her and give her security, at the same time she increasingly insisted on greater freedom. “This is becoming unbearable !” Vronsky screamed one day. “Why do you try my patience? It has limits.” Anna could only gaze at him “with terror at the undisguised hatred in his whole face.” Vronsky checked himself: “I mean to say.....I must ask what it is you want of me?” “All I want,” she replied, “is that you don’t desert me, as you think of doing....I want love, and there is none....” Vronsky vainly protested; he would never cease to love her. Suddenly, Anna turned on Vronsky, cursing him for the sacrifices she had made to be with him- her marriage, her son, her social position....
Delirious with bitterness, Anna had no place to turn; Vronsky, she was convinced, had found another, and she could nebver return to Alexei.Ambling into the train station, she purchased a ticket. Then, standing on the platform, watching the trains, she said to herself “I will punish him and escape from everyone and from myself.” Mesuring both the speed of the oncoming train and her resolve to end her suffering, she jumped. “.....Something huge and merciless struck her on the head and rolled on her back.....Lord forgive me all !”
Anna KARENINA was dead.
The Character Analysis :
Anna Karenina: Anna is one of the main characters of the novel.She starts an affair with Vronsky and is overcome with guilt,grief at giving up her son and anguish at her position out of society.She and Vronsky fight often about about her jealousy and what she sees as his diminishing love.In the end she does not know what to do and sees no way out for herself.Remembering a man who had been run over by a train earlier in the novel, she chooses the same fate for herself and jumps under one.Anna’s thoughts and actions are one way that the moral issues and the Death theme in the novel are explored.Anna thinks that she had chosen the best way for herself, but after her death, especially Count Vronsky had been demolished and decides to go to the war which is being held between Ottoman’s and Russia in Crimea in order to forget the his sorrow.
Alexis Karenin : Karenin is Anna’s husband and a politician.He does not know how to handle Anna infidelity, and seems more concerned about what Society thinks than about Anna or himself. He is a Christian and in the end only wants to do what is right and what will save Anna, but his goodness makes her feel even worse, and she is not able to accept his generosity.He accepts Anna and Vronsky’s little girl to bring up after Anna’s death.Karenin’s belief system and actions help to define the religious and moral themes of the novel.
Count Vronsky: Vronsky is an officer and at first seems to be courting Kitty.After he meets Anna though, he follows her back to Petersburg to be near her.They start an affair, and after Anna is no longer welcome in Society, she tries to get him to stay with her as much as possible. He does not understand how hard her position is on her, but is devastated after she dies. In the end he has decided to go to war in order to die in helping others.
Vronsky is a handsome, charming man whom everyone is easily falls in love but a diffucult man whom staying with is much more diffucult. They don’t understand their feelings each other so an affair which begins perfect is ended with an awful end for everyone.
Stephen Oblonsky: Oblonsky is Anna’s brother and husband to Dolly.He has affairs and does not repent of them because he is a handsome man and is no longer in love with his wife. He spends much beyond his means and gets the familyin debt. His ideas and opinions follow that of the majority. Through Oblonsky the reader can see some of the differences between life in the city verses the country, and also the theme of the impoverishment of the nobility.
Dolly Oblonskaya: Dolly is Oblonsky’s wife and is devastated by his affairs. She does not see any way out for herself though, as she is still in love with Oblonsky and does not want to hurt her children.She is mainly concerned with her children, and when she finds out that Anna cannot have any more children because the doctor had taken care of that, she is horrified.
Princess Kitty: Kitty is Dolly’s sister. In the begining of the novel she thinks that she is in love with Vronsky and that she will marry him, and so refuses Levin’s proposal.After Vronsky leaves with Anna she feels ashamed and gets ill.When the family goes to a watering-place for her recuperation, she meets Varenka and decides to devote herself to helping others and doing other good. Se later realises that it is better for her to be herself and is quite happy in the end with her life in the country with Levin and their son.
Constantine Levin: Levin lives in the country and believes in hard work. He does not understand men like Oblonsky or their jobs. He thinks much about agriculture and the role of the laborer, and is devastated when Kitty refuses his proposal. Later, after he and Kitty are married, he is preoccupied with his doubt about the existence of God.In the end of the novel he finds meaning in his life though, and is quite satisfied.His struggle to find faith as well as his concern about Death illustrate these themes in the novel.
In Anna Karenina, Tolstoy is Levin. He gives Levin the events of his own life, his own thoughts and ideas. The relationship between Levin and Kitty is mirrored in the relationship between Tolstoy and his wife, Sonya. Tolstoy, like Levin, found great comfort in his wife, with whom he lived very hapilly on his country estate and produced thirteen children in fifteen years. With Levin the author conveys his ideas and political issues which are about socialism communism to reader.
Seriozha Karenin: Seriozha is Anna and Karenin’s son. He does not know what to think about his mother or Vronsky, and is scared of his father. Anna is sorry to have to leave him, s she loves him more than she does her little girl.
Countess Lydia Ivanova: The Countess is a good friend of Karenin’s and after Anna leaves him she falls in love with him and tries to take care of him. She convinces Karenin not to let Anna see Seriozha and convinces him to become even more serious about his Chiristianity.
Anna Karenina introduces the themes of marriage, love and the family life. The novel follows three families; the Oblonsky’s, the Karenin’s, the Levin’s. Oblonsky has many affairs which he does not feel guilty about but which upset Dolly. With Oblonsky’s example, the reader can see that is more acceptable for men to be unfaithful in marriage than women. Oblonsky is respected in Society despite his affairs. For women, however, infidelity is not acceptable, anna is shunned from Society when she openly leaves her husband for Vronsky. She is not happy with Karenin after she meets Vronsky, but it turns out that she is not happy in her relationship with Vronsky either. Vronsky is still accepted in Society, and this makes Anna’s position even harder on her. The third family is made up of Kitty and Levin. Although they have a rough start before and right after their wedding, they seem to be the happiest of the three families.
Moral and religious themes also run through the novel. Karenin is quite concerned with religion when thinking of how best to deal with Anna’s infidelity and the possibility of divorce. This becomes even truer after he gets closer to the Countess Lydia, as she encourages him to become even more serious about his beliefs and moral system. Anna has many moral conficts after she begins her affair with Vronsky, although she tries not to think about them. Karenin’s religiousness and generosity make her feel even worse. Levin is another character through which the religious theme can be followed. He is agnostic in the beginning of the novel and goes through a serious transformation by the end, when he has an epiphany through which he finds faith and the meaning in life, which is to live for God. The theme can also be explored through Varenka, as she is presented as an example of goodness, as she works to help the ill and shows no pride.
The novel also revolves much around Class and Society. We see the importance of Society in how desperate Anna becomes when she is deprived of it. There are also different groups within Society, some considerded higher than others, such as that of Lisa Merkalova and the group that visits Betsy with her. Many of the discussions Levin takes part in revolve around the status and the problems of the lower classes or the peasants. He tries to revolutionize how agriculture is thought of in relation to the laborers, and there are also discussions about educating and helping the peasants and Levin’s obligation as a member of the aristocracy to improve conditions.
Also surrounding Levin and dealing with class is his concern about the impoverishment of the nobility. He believes in the seperation of the classes, and is concerned about the nobility keeping their status and wealth. This can especially be seen in the scenes where Oblonsky and Levin argue about the sale of Dolly’s forest, as Levin thinks that Oblonsky is selling it for too little. He believes that Oblonsky will regret it when he does not have enough money later, and indeed Oblonsky does run into much debt in the novel. He then gets a position that will pay him much for doing little. It seems that there are many such jobs that pay more than necessary and are reserved for people with many friends.
Yet another theme of the novel is that of city versus country living. From the very beginningthe differences between Oblonsky, who lives in Moscow, and Levin, who lives in the country, can be seen. These differences revolve around work, the meaning of work, the meaning of life and marriage. Although one cannot draw conclusions about every character based on where they live (especially since some move from place to place), there are numerous instances of the comparison between city and country living that make it an important theme of the novel.
Death is another theme running throughout the novel. This theme can be explored through the death of Nicholas (Levin’s brother), Levin’s concern about death, the attempted suicide of Vronsky, the suicide of Anna and other events, as well as the character’s reactions to these events.
Comment: I think this is the most perfect novel I’ve ever read. The characters, the winding key, the events, the themes are absolutely excellent. Anna Karenina is a novel which must be read. Although understanding Tolstoy is very diffucult, after reading I am strongly sure that the taste of the novel must be unforgettable.I think this a work of art which should be read again and again. Each reading adds you so many thing that you couldn’t expect.
Leo Tolstoy is considered one of Russia’s gratest nineteenth-century novelists,an homor he shares with Dostoievsky. Tolstoy, however, focuses his novels on the vicissitudes of the upper-classes rather than on Dostoievsky’s underprivileged peasants or criminals.
Tolstoy foresaw the end of the aristocracy in Russian Society.Serfs had already been set free; the working class was beginning to expand in power. Moreover, new mores and morals were being imported from the West, and Society’s upper crust was the first to feel the strain of these changes-a strain running an undercurrent throughout Anna Karenina. The novel reads like a soap opera, with the exhaustive cast of characters continually creating their own problems. Contrast Anna’s tragic quest for love and personal fulfillment with the spiritual odyssey of Levin.Through hard work and the support of an understanding family, his search is rewarded by happiness. Thus,Tolstoy’s gripping masterpiece revolves around the dissimilar paths of these two characters, allowing a forum for the author’s commentary on Russia’s maze-like social system, fraught with unresolved incongruities.
The Ending: I like the ending. I think it is so suitable for this novel. Anyhow we do not say anything which contains any critisis about Anna Karenina and its ending. I think Tolstoy proofed how big and clever he is.
The Title: The title is suitable for the novel. Becausu the novel is surrounding about Anna and Anna is the main character of the novel. I think it is perfect too.
The Cover Picture: I love the cover picture.It shows a scene from Anna and Vronsky’s affair while they are kissing each other warmly and hotly.And it is suitable the novel’s consecpt.
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