Anna Karenina

Hardcover | April 28, 1992

byLeo Tolstoy

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A famous legend surrounding the creation of Anna Karenina tells us that Tolstoy began writing a cautionary tale about adultery and ended up falling in love with his magnificent heroine. It is rare to find a reader of the book who doesn’t experience the same kind of emotional upheaval. Anna Karenina is filled with major and minor characters who exist in their own right and fully embody their mid-nineteenth-century Russian milieu, but it still belongs entirely to the woman whose name it bears, whose portrait is one of the truest ever made by a writer. Translated by Louise and Aylmer Maude.

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From Our Editors

A famous legend surrounding the creation of Anna Karenina tells us that Tolstoy began writing a cautionary tale about adultery and ended up by falling in love with his magnificent heroine. It is rare to find a reader of the book who doesn't experience the same kind of emotional upheaval: Anna Karenina is filled with major and minor cha...

From the Publisher

A famous legend surrounding the creation of Anna Karenina tells us that Tolstoy began writing a cautionary tale about adultery and ended up falling in love with his magnificent heroine. It is rare to find a reader of the book who doesn’t experience the same kind of emotional upheaval. Anna Karenina is filled with major and minor charac...

From the Jacket

A famous legend surrounding the creation of Anna Karenina tells us that Tolstoy began writing a cautionary tale about adultery and ended up by falling in love with his magnificent heroine. It is rare to find a reader of the book who doesn't experience the same kind of emotional upheaval: Anna Karenina is filled with major and minor cha...

Count Leo Tolstoy (1828–1910) was born in central Russia. After serving in the Crimean War, he retired to his estate and devoted himself to writing, farming, and raising his large family. His novels and outspoken social polemics brought him world fame.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:1024 pages, 8.28 × 5.27 × 1.81 inPublished:April 28, 1992Publisher:Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0679410007

ISBN - 13:9780679410003

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Customer Reviews of Anna Karenina

Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from As only the great Russian authors can do This book is dark and beautiful. The story is long and can be difficult to get into but once you do you will see the stark beauty of Anna and Russia.
Date published: 2016-11-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Classic! Without spoiling anything, this book is probably the best book I've ever read.
Date published: 2016-11-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Russian classic #plumreview An epic novel that richly portrays so many characters with the dual main narratives (Of course the titular Anna Karenina, but with equal weight given to Konstantin Levin).
Date published: 2016-11-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it What a story! This is one classic that isn't over-rated, unlike War and Peace. The only part I didn't like was the lecture/essay at the end of the book. Anna's brother was my favorite character. Better than Madame Bovary or Jane Austen any day.
Date published: 2016-11-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredible Very beautiful book. When I first read this book I honestly couldn,t put it down. Anna has that thing inside every women.
Date published: 2015-02-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! Epic. This book is known as one of the greatest novels in the history of literature and rightly so. I was expecting to hate it. I was expecting to trudge through it. Boy was I wrong! This book was a total page turner aside from a few more uneventful sections. I was expecting to take months to read this, but finished Anna Karenina in 2 weeks.
Date published: 2014-01-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fantastic Translation! This particular translation of Anna Karenina is astounding. Fresh and modern without imposing it's own voice. Definitely my favorite version.
Date published: 2012-09-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Contributes to a GREAT cause too! Classic book. RED line of books helps fight AIDS and HIV in Africa... to learn more here's a link: http://samaritanmag.com/dracula-little-women-anna-karenina-part-new-red-products-indigo-books
Date published: 2010-11-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Had it's Moments When I decided to take the plunge and read Anna Karenina I was expecting a challenge. And a challenge I got. I found it took me a while to get into it. Once I did I was able to imagine myself there in 19th century Russia. While I agree Tolstoy did an amazing job, and deserves much praise. I think a lot of people will find it difficult to read. Each character is called by more than one name. While the list at the beginning of the book was very helpfull. At somepoints I would still find myself wondering "who was who". There was also a lot of political talk I had a hard time keeping up with. This book is definitly not an easy read. So overall I would only recommend this book to a select few. I really did enjoy the first 600pgs. But the last 200pgs really dragged on for me.
Date published: 2009-10-21
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Beautiful, Difficult, and Moving J. Peder Zane’s “The Top Ten” is a compilation of 125 individual lists, each from a celebrated writer picking their top ten books of all time. What does this have to do with Tolstoy? Anna Karenina ranked number one on the definitive list. The question is: is it deserving? You’ll have to read it to form your own opinion. The Pevear/ Volokhonsky translation is beautiful and refreshing, and vividly recreates Tolstoy’s text. The story itself is both personal and distant, allowing the reader to engage with the lives of characters while painting a broad landscape of 19th century Russia. In this way, Anna Karenina appeals to a wide audience. It is no doubt epic in scale, literally and figuratively; definitely a triumph. The characters are beautifully flawed, and so human that I sometimes forgot Levin, Anna, and Vronsky were fictional. I dreamt of trains. I found myself sketching ladies on train platforms. I kept thinking “God is so cruel” before checking myself: in this case, god is Tolstoy. I was wholly moved. It was a story to be immersed in, and has all the elements of a literary masterpiece, but does it deserve its position of number one? In my opinion: yes. But would I recommend it to a friend for a guaranteed enjoyable read? No. Its brilliance, for me, was witnessed in brief moments through a shifting fog; I could sense it, but could hardly grasp the entire meaning of what I saw. Much of the historical information went completely over my head. Anna Karenina is not for everyone. However, it is definitely a must read for anyone willing and wanting to come in contact with a type of literary genius which can’t be found in contemporary works.
Date published: 2009-09-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Anna Will Stay With You Forever Anna Karenina is the story of two different members of Russian society in the late 19th century. Anna is the privileged wife of a high government official, a cold and unaffectionate man. She is resigned to being in a loveless marriage and finds joy in her young son, Sergei. One night at the train station, she meets a dashing army officer named Count Alexei Vronsky. The two quickly begin a scandalous affair. Anna is given a choice by her husband - end the affair and stay with her son or leave and never see her son again. The choice Anna makes and its consequences are tragic and highlight the double standard applied to adulterers. Society gave permission for men to have affairs but a woman who had an affair was labeled a harlot and risked never being allowed into "polite" society again, especially if she left her husband. The second character is a rather dull land owner named Konstantin Dmitrievich Levin. He is in love with Kitty, who is in love with Vronsky at the beginning of the novel. After Vronsky leaves her for Anna, Kitty begins to notice Levin’s many noble qualities. Tolstoy uses this character to share his views on the Russian peasantry, society, and economy. These speeches can be rather long and tiring, especially if you don't know (or care about) Russian history. Although Levin is noble in his beliefs, his personality is void of any colour. Don’t let Levin scare you away from this novel. Anna Karenina deserves to be on your must-read list. Anna is one of the most compelling characters in literature, and she will stay with you for a long time. Her story, told masterfully by Tolstoy, is deeply moving in its description of a woman trapped by a society full of double-standards for its female members.
Date published: 2008-10-12
Rated 2 out of 5 by from I couldn't get into this one Normally I like the Oprah book club selections, but this one was a challenge to finish. The list at the front of the book of all the various names each character went by was used frequently. I don't recommend this one unless you have a personal interest in Russian history.
Date published: 2008-08-13
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Difficult read This was definitely the hardest book I have ever read. Although I found the plot very interesting, I was completely lost in all the Russian politics in the book. I actually had to put the book down for a few months before going back to finish it and I have never done that with any book before. Still a good story though, and I liked the various stories that were all connected in some way.
Date published: 2008-01-04
Rated 3 out of 5 by from It's okay I wanted to read this book because I have heard a great deal about it. Anyway, in the beginning it was really interesting up to the part where Anna meets Count Vronsky...and then it just dies out. It just goes TOO much in detail that it gets annoying but I guess some people like that kind of stuff and it's written through every character's point of view, even a dog's! It's okay...it's not as great as I thought it would be. It also focuses on a lot of Russian politics and other issues that were going on around the time the author had written this book so it focuses on a lot on his political views... I wish though that it mainly or only focused on Anna and Vronsky's lives vs the lives of other characters in this novel.
Date published: 2007-06-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great book, bad edition I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a great read. It is complex and long but if you just get into it and plug through the slow stuff it will get good. The only thing I would tell and person considering this book is to NOT GET THIS EDITION. It was spelling error after grammatical error. Sometimes it got so bad that I had a hard time understanding what was being said and plus saying on the front cover that it is the best love story of all time is so false. Leo Tolstoy is not telling us a love story but rather asking us what love is.
Date published: 2006-09-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brilliant Having received this book as a gift I was a skeptic, due to its size, of ever getting around to read it. Having never explored much Literature by Russian authors before, I figured Anna Karenina was an excellent place to start. The different stories in the novel parallel one another tied together by common themes and elements, but apart from each other, hold their own, captivating the reader making them want to read on. Tolstoy's characters have unique personalities, and although the names make it slightly confusing, the story is irresistable and the read cannot help but continue. The ups and downs of the different personalities such as Levin or Anna, even Alexi Alexandrovich who is described as awkward and seemingly opposite to the passionate and energetic Anna Karenina make them come alive/ The reader cannot help but feel as they feel through the heartache, fear, and joy. Just when you think when a situation seemed doomed, unable to repair, such as the relationship between Levin and Kitty, and Vronsky (in the beginning), it turns into something completely different. The different elements entwined with the fictional story of the characters: politics, history, economic conditions, and generally the opinion of Russian citizens of the time of both upper and lower classes, adds another layer to the text. If you have the time and patience, and a love for great lituerature, Tolstoy's Anna Karenina is an excellent choice.
Date published: 2006-06-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful Forever Let me begin my review by stating that I do not acclaim myself, an avid reader, I am just a teenager who happened to watch an episode of Gilmore Girls, which made me interested in this book. After picking up this book, it was daughting in sheer volume alone, but once when you start reading the world that Tolstoy creates is like no other. His characters and their stories keep you going through the entire book. It takes place and is written in 1800's Russia, and the world which Anna Karenina lives in, is so beautiful and rich in words that it creates a sense of emotion in the reader that allows for it to be read forever.
Date published: 2006-05-30
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Bad This book was worse than poor . Tolstoy is suposed to be a great writer so i was looking forward to reading this book. I read a lot and faster than the average person but this book is boring and doesn't flow well. It took me a month to get throught 611pages and i couldn't even finish! It was the first book i disliked so much i couldn't finish in 10 years and I pride myself for being able to get through even 6 pahges of that horrible book.
Date published: 2005-09-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Spiritual Read This book has such a spiritual flow to it. Anna is looking for love and true happiness as most of us are and she can't find it because instead of seeking God who IS love she turns to temporary earthly comfort and passion. Grass always looks greener on the other side. Levin's life relates so closely to Anna, he is also desperately looking for a life worth living, but through hardship and self examination he finds what he is looking for.
Date published: 2005-08-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from anna karenina Definatley a good summer bach read. i can't believe this was written in the 1800s by a man! I've heard of soaps with less plot turns and cheating spouses. It took me a total of three years to read it, and I have been known to read a 300-400 page book in 1sitting (at the most a day) heavy reading to be sure. and not exactly srawberry shortcake but a good read one the less.
Date published: 2005-07-26
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Overrated Completing this book was a goal for myself. I am an avid reader but I felt like getting through this book was a chore. There plot line took a very long time to get to. The character of Anna Karenina was not the most interesting part of the book...I was more interested in the plot lines surrounding the other characters. Once you get to about the last 100 pages of the book...you get a real shocker....and it's not a good one. I just felt like this book lacked a plot and was a serious bore to try and get through....I will not recommend this book
Date published: 2005-05-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A true classic Anna Karenina is one of the most interesting books I have read in a while. When I first started, I must admit I was a little intimidated by the size and number of pages of this novel. But by the first page, I was suddenly captivated and enthralled into the story of high society Russian families. At the beginning of the novel, the reader sees Anna, an amazingly beautiful woman with a happy and fulfilled life. As the novel continues, the breakdown of her life is chronicled and the reader can't help but become enthralled and captivated by the storyline. Tolstoy captures so many different emotions in this novel: happy, sad, fulfilled, confused, depressed... And by the end of Anna Karenina everything seems to fall into place. Therefore, Anna Karenina is one novel that readers everywhere should pick up. It is without a doubt a true classic.
Date published: 2004-12-25

Extra Content

Read from the Book

I Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. Everything at the Oblonskys’ was topsy-turvy. Oblonsky’s wife had found out that he had been having an affair with the French governess who used to live with them, and told him she could no longer stay under the same roof with him. This was the third day things had been this way, and not only the married couple themselves, but the family and the whole household were painfully aware of it. Everyone in the house felt that there was no sense in their living together, and that people who had casually dropped into any inn would have more connection with each other than they, the Oblonsky family and household. Oblonsky’s wife refused to leave her rooms; he himself hadn’t been home for three days. The children were running around the house as though lost; the English governess had had a quarrel with the housekeeper and written to a friend of hers asking her to look out for a new job for her; the day before the cook had picked dinnertime to go out; the kitchen maid and coachman had given notice.   The third day after the quarrel Prince Stephen Arkadyevich Oblonsky—Stiva, as he was called in society—woke up at his usual time, that is, eight in the morning, not in his wife’s bedroom but in his own study, on the leather-covered sofa. He twisted his plump, well-kept body on the springy sofa as though he wanted to plunge into a long sleep again; he hugged the pillow on the other side and pressed his cheek against it; then he suddenly jumped up, sat down on the sofa, and opened his eyes.   Now, what was that again? he thought, recalling a dream. What was it? Of course! Alabin was giving a dinner in Darmstadt, no, not in Darmstadt—somewhere in America. But that’s where Darmstadt was, in America. So Alabin was giving a dinner, on glass tables—and the tables were singing “Il mio tesoro,” though not “Il mio tesoro” but something better, and then there were some little decanters around and they were really women, he remembered.   Oblonsky’s eyes sparkled merrily; he smiled to himself as he sat there thinking: Yes, it was great fun, all right. There were a lot of other good things too, but you can’t put them into words, or catch hold of them at all when you’re awake.   He noticed a streak of light that had slipped in at the side of one of the blinds; he cheerfully stretched his legs off the sofa and felt about with his feet for the bronze kid slippers his wife had embroidered for his last year’s birthday present; out of a nine-year-old habit he stretched out his arm without getting up toward where his dressing gown hung in the bedroom. It was just then that he suddenly recalled why he wasn’t sleeping in his wife’s bedroom, but in his study; the smile vanished from his face and he frowned.   “Oh, oh, oh!” he groaned, remembering everything that had happened. And again all the details of the quarrel with his wife, his impossible position and, most painful of all, his own guilt sprang to his mind.   No, she’ll never forgive me! She can’t forgive me. And the most terrible thing about it is that it’s all my own fault, I’m to blame, though I’m not really to blame either. That’s the whole tragedy of it, he thought. “Oh dear, oh dear,” he muttered in despair, recalling the most painful points of the quarrel.   What had been most disagreeable of all was the first moment when, on coming back cheerful and satisfied from the theater with a huge pear for his wife in his hand, he had not, to his surprise, found her in the drawing room or in his study, but finally saw her in her bedroom holding the unlucky note that had revealed everything.   There was his Dolly, whom he thought of as constantly harried and simple-mindedly bustling about, sitting motionless with the note in her hand, looking at him with an expression of horror, despair, and fury.   “What is this? This?” she asked, indicating the note.   As he remembered this Oblonsky was tormented, as often happens, not so much by the event itself as by his response to his wife’s question.   What happened then was what happens to people who are caught at something shameful. He couldn’t manage to put on the right expression for his situation with respect to his wife now that his guilt was exposed. Instead of acting offended, making denials or excuses, asking forgiveness, or even remaining indifferent—anything would have been better than what he did do!— his face quite involuntarily (a reflex of the brain, he thought; he was fond of physiology) suddenly took on its usual goodhearted and therefore silly smile.   It was this silly smile that he couldn’t forgive himself. When she saw it Dolly shuddered as though in physical pain, burst out with her characteristic violence in a torrent of bitter words and rushed out of the room. Since then she had refused to see him.   That stupid smile is to blame for everything, Oblonsky thought. But what can I do? What is there to do? he said to himself in despair, without finding an answer.       II   Oblonsky was honest with himself. He could not deceive himself by telling himself that he repented of his conduct. He could not feel repentant that he, a handsome, amorous man of thirty-four, was not in love with his wife, the mother of five living and two dead children, who was only a year younger than he. He only regretted that he hadn’t been able to conceal things from her better. But he felt the full gravity of his position and was sorry for his wife, their children, and himself. He might have been able to hide his misconduct from his wife better if he had expected the news to have such an effect on her. He had never thought the matter over clearly, but had vaguely imagined that she had long since guessed he was unfaithful to her and was shutting her eyes to it. He even thought that a completely undistinguished woman like her, worn out, aging, already plain, just a simple goodhearted mother of a family, ought to have been indulgent, out of a feeling of fairness. What had happened was just the opposite.   Terrible, just terrible! Oblonsky kept saying to himself, without finding any solution. And how well everything was going until now! What a splendid life we had! She was contented and happy with the children, I never bothered her in the least, and left her to do as she pleased with the children and the house. Of course, it’s not so good that she was a governess right here in the house. That was bad! There’s something banal and vulgar in making love to your own governess. But what a governess! (He vividly recalled Mlle. Roland’s teasing black eyes and her smile.) But as long as she was here in the house I never allowed myself to do a thing. And the worst of it all is that she’s already... The whole thing had to happen just for spite! Oh, dear! But what on earth can I do?   There was no answer to this beside the usual answer life gives to the most complicated and insoluble problems, which is: you must live according to the needs of the day, that is, forget yourself. He couldn’t forget himself in sleep, at least not until nighttime; he could not yet return to the music being sung by the little decanter women, so he had to look for forgetfulness in the dream of living.   Well, we’ll see, Oblonsky said to himself; he got up, put on his gray dressing gown with the blue silk lining, knotted the girdle, and taking a deep breath of air into his broad chest, went over to the window with his usual robust stride, turning out his feet, which carried his full body so lightly; he raised the blind and rang loudly.   The bell was answered immediately by his old friend and valet, Matthew, who came in with his clothes, boots, and a telegram. He was followed by the barber with the shaving things.   “Any papers from the office?” Oblonsky asked, taking the telegram and sitting down in front of the mirror.   “On the table,” Matthew answered, with a questioning, sympathetic look at his master, and after a moment added with a sly smile: “They’ve sent someone from the livery stables.”   Oblonsky said nothing, merely gazing at Matthew in the mirror; it was plain from the glance they exchanged that they understood each other very well. Oblonsky’s look seemed to say: “Why tell me that? As though you didn’t know!”   Matthew put his hands into the pockets of his jacket, put out his foot, and looked at his master in silence, with a slight, good-humored smile.   “I ordered him to come back next Sunday, and till then not to bother either you or himself for no reason,” he said, evidently getting off a prepared sentence.   Oblonsky saw Matthew was joking to draw attention to himself. He tore open the telegram and read it, guessing at the words, misspelt as usual, and his face brightened.   “Matthew, my sister Anna will be here tomorrow,” he said, momentarily stopping the barber’s shiny plump hand that was clearing a rosy path between the long curly whiskers.   “Thank God!” said Matthew, showing that he understood just as well as his master the meaning of the visit, that is, that Oblonsky’s beloved sister Anna might bring about a reconciliation between husband and wife. “Alone, or with her husband?” he asked.   Oblonsky couldn’t answer, since the barber was busy on his upper lip, and raised one finger. Matthew nodded into the mirror.   “Alone. Should one of the upstairs rooms be got ready?”   “Ask Princess Oblonsky.”   “Princess Oblonsky?” repeated Matthew doubtfully.   “Yes, tell her. Here, take the telegram with you and tell me what she says.”   Oh, you want to sound her out, was how Matthew understood this, but all he said was: “Yes, sir.”   Oblonsky had already washed, and his hair was brushed; he was about to get dressed when Matthew, walking slowly in his creaking boots, came back into the room holding the telegram. The barber had already gone.   “Princess Oblonsky has instructed me to say that she is going away. Let him do as he likes, that is, you, sir,” he said, laughing with his eyes only; putting his hands in his pockets and his head to one side, he gazed at his master.   Oblonsky was silent, then a kind and somewhat pathetic smile appeared on his handsome face.   “Ah, Matthew, well?” he said, shaking his head.   “Don’t worry, sir, it will all turn out all right,” said Matthew.   “All right?”   “Exactly, sir.”   “D’you think so? But who’s that?” asked Oblonsky, hearing the rustle of a woman’s dress outside the door.   “It’s me, sir,” said a firm, agreeable female voice, and Matrona, the children’s nurse, thrust her stern, pock-marked face into the doorway.   “Well, what is it, Matrona?” asked Oblonsky, going over to her.   Though Oblonsky was completely at fault with respect to his wife and felt this himself, almost everyone in the house, even the nurse, who was Princess Oblonsky’s best friend, was on his side.   “Well, what?” he said dejectedly.   “You must go to her, sir, and admit your guilt once again. Perhaps God will help! She’s in terrible torment; for that matter everything in the house is at sixes and sevens. You must take pity on the children, sir. Admit you were wrong, sir—what else can you do? If you put your hand in the fire—”   “But you know she won’t see me—”   “Do your own part. God is merciful, sir. Pray to God—pray, sir!”   “Very well then, you can go now,” said Oblonsky, suddenly blushing. “And now I must get dressed,” he said, turning to Matthew and energetically throwing off his dressing gown.   Matthew was already holding out, like a horse’s collar, the shirt he had got ready; he blew an invisible speck off it and with obvious satisfaction enveloped his master’s well-cared-for body in it.

From Our Editors

A famous legend surrounding the creation of Anna Karenina tells us that Tolstoy began writing a cautionary tale about adultery and ended up by falling in love with his magnificent heroine. It is rare to find a reader of the book who doesn't experience the same kind of emotional upheaval: Anna Karenina is filled with major and minor characters who exist in their own right and fully embody their mid-nineteenth-century Russian milieu, but it still belongs entirely to the woman whose name it bears, whose portrait is one of the truest ever made by a writer.

Editorial Reviews

“In a novel as good and as spacious as Tolstoy’s all things are possible. It must contain, as it does, the muddle and unpredictability of life, its refusal to supply endings or neat situations. And indeed this is where the greatness of the novel will be found to lie. Of all authors Tolstoy is the one whose art most contradicts his own views, and yet the one whose true personality is most revealed in his art. And what is Anna’s 'true personality'? It remains to the end not an enigma, but a factor and a phenomenon that is infinitely variable, like life itself.” –from the Introduction by John Bayley