Anna Karenina (Penguin Classics) by Leo Tolstoy

By Leo Tolstoy

"Anna Karenina" tells of the doomed love affair among the sensuous and rebellious Anna and the speeding officer, count number Vronsky. Tragedy unfolds as Anna rejects her passionless marriage and needs to undergo the hypocrisies of society. Set opposed to an enormous and richly textured canvas of nineteenth-century Russia, the novel's seven significant characters create a dynamic imbalance, taking part in out the contrasts of urban and state lifestyles and all of the diversifications on love and kin happiness. whereas past models have softened the powerful, and infrequently surprising, caliber of Tolstoy's writing, Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky have produced a translation real to his strong voice. This award-winning team's authoritative version additionally comprises an illuminating creation and explanatory notes. attractive, energetic, and eminently readable, this "Anna Karenina" would be the definitive textual content for generations to return. "Pevear and Volokhonsky are immediately scrupulous translators and shiny stylists of English, and their magnificent rendering permits us, as maybe by no means ahead of, to know the palpability of Tolstoy's 'characters, acts, situations.'" (James wooden, "The New Yorker")

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Such events are too much alive to be symbolic, and yet the symbolism of disaster is there and very much a part of the novel’s rich and complex background. Some critics and readers have felt that the seeming division of the novel almost into two different worlds – that of Levin (and later Kitty) in the country, and Anna and her friends in town – weakens and distracts us from the main theme. And yet this division is more apparent than real. They all know each other; they all live in the same world with the rest of the Russian upper class; and at the same time the inner mental life and struggle of Levin, which reflects Tolstoy’s own state of mind at the time he was writing, parallels the emotional drama which engulfs Anna herself.

III After dressing, Stepan Arkadyich sprayed himself with scent, adjusted the cuffs of his shirt, put cigarettes, wallet, matches, a watch with a double chain and seals into his pockets with an accustomed gesture, and, having shaken out his handkerchief, feeling himself clean, fragrant, healthy, and physically cheerful despite his misfortune, went out, springing lightly at each step, to the dining room, where coffee was already waiting for him, and, next to the coffee, letters and papers from the office.

Among family and intimate friends, a diminutive of the first name is normally used, such as Tanya for Tatiana or Kostya for Konstantin, never coupled with the patronymic. Some of Tolstoy’s aristocrats have adopted the fashion of using English or Russified English diminutives – Dolly, Kitty, Betsy, Stiva. With the exception of Karenina, we use only the masculine form of family names. Oblónsky, Prince Stepán Arkádyich (Stiva) Princess Dárya Alexándrovna (Dolly, Dásha, Dáshenka, Dóllenka), his wife, oldest of the three Shcherbatsky sisters Shcherbátsky, Prince Alexander Dmítrievich or Alexandre (French) Princess (‘the old princess’, no first name or patronymic given), his wife Princess Ekaterína Alexándrovna (Katerína, Kitty, Kátia, Kátenka), their third daughter, later wife of Konstantin Levin Karénina, Anna Arkádyevna, née Princess Oblonsky, Stepan Arkadyich’s sister Karénin, Alexéi Alexándrovich, her husband Sergéi Alexéich (Seryózha, Kútik), their son Vrónsky, Count Alexéi Kiríllovich (Alyósha) Countess (no first name and patronymic given), his mother Alexander Kiríllovich, his brother Várya (diminutive of Varvára), née Princess Chirkóv, wife of Alexander Vronsky Lévin, Konstantín Dmítrich (Kóstya) Nikolái Dmítrich (Nikólenka), his brother Kóznyshev, Sergéi Ivánovich, half-brother of Konstantin and Nikolai Levin Lvov, Princess Natálya Alexándrovna (Natalie), née Shcherbatsky, sister of Dolly and Kitty Arsény (no patronym given), her husband Tverskóy, Princess Elizavéta Fyódorovna (Betsy), Vronsky’s first cousin Márya Nikoláevna (Masha, no family name given), companion of Nikolai Levin Agáfya Mikháilovna (no family name given), Levin’s former nurse, now his housekeeper Countess Lydia Ivánovna (no family name given), friend of Karenin Sviyázhsky, Nikolái Ivánovich, friend of Levin, marshal of nobility in Súrov district Katavásov, Fyódor Vassílyevich, friend of Levin Varvára Andréevna (Várenka, no family name given), friend of Kitty Veslóvsky, Vásenka (or Váska, diminutives of Vassíly, no patronymic given), friend of Oblonsky Yáshvin, Captain or Prince (no name or patronymic given), friend of Vronsky Vengeance is mine; I will repay.

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