Anna Karinina
by Leo Tolstoy

Story Line
   Anna Karenina meets and enchants Count Vronsky. She is already married, but they enter into an adulterous affair. Tolstoy skillfully develops the natural conclusion of this passion.
   Anna leaves her husband, after a period of clandestine meetings and unfaithfulness. She travels abroad with Vronsky, but they miss their homeland, culture, and society.
   Upon return to Moscow, Anna is ostracized by her peers. She travels deeper and deeper into self-consciousness and self-pity. She degenerates from a lovely charming woman into a virago whose jealousy and insecurity (reasonably developed as due to her isolation and dependence on Vronsky) which pushes away the Count and drive her to seek peace in the only way she can see - suicide.

Strengths
1. The vast range of personalities developed. Each main

 

 

character has more than one trait. I was very impressed Tolstoy's ability to describe, e.g., Levin as this, this, and this and yet not that. All the words are closely related and I see the clean definition of character.
2. Life and death - birth and death are both involved in this story intimately and scenes are used appropriate to the emotion.
   Anna's emotional breakdown at the end was handled most convincingly. There and with Levin, Tolstoy predated the stream-of-consciousness techniques I associate with Joyce.
3. The entire panorama of life's manifold activities is acted in front of the reader. I appreciate the verisimilitude, the feel of meeting full-bodied persons that he was able to achieve.
4. A considerable number of extended metaphors (a paragraph or so in length) pepper the novel. They are utilized, not as brilliant bon mots, but as simple relationships that slowly, somewhat may illuminate the dense reality that we all must grapple with.
5. I most appreciate the brilliant conversation of comedies of manner and there was one scene in Anna that especially

 

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Copyright 2005
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