#LoveBeautiful: Anna Karenina

We are delighted to start a new week presenting our founder’s home country.

Mother Russia

The following week will have the motto: From Russia with Love.

We hope you will enjoy our culture trip.

We would like to start with one of the classical literature and present you:

Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina is a novel by the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, published in serial installments from 1875 to 1877 in the periodical The Russian Messenger.

Widely regarded as a pinnacle in realist fiction, Anna Karenina recounts St. Petersburg aristocrat Anna Karenina’s life story at the backdrop of the late-19th-century feudal Russian society. Having considered War and Peace, not a novel, Tolstoy considered Anna Karenina his first true novel. Fyodor Dostoyevsky declared it “flawless as a work of art.” His opinion was shared by Vladimir Nabokov, who especially admired “the flawless magic of Tolstoy’s style,” and by William Faulkner, who described the novel as “the best ever written.” The novel remains popular, as demonstrated by a 2007 poll of 125 contemporary authors in Time, which declared that Anna Karenina is the “greatest book ever written.”

Plot introduction

Anna Karenina is the tragic story of a married aristocrat/socialite and her affair with the affluent Count Vronsky. The story opens when she arrives in the midst of a family broken up by her brother’s unbridled womanizing—something that prefigures her own later situation, though she would experience less tolerance by others.

A bachelor, Vronsky is eager to marry her if she will agree to leave her husband Karenin, a senior government official, but she is vulnerable to the pressures of Russian social norms, the moral laws of the Russian Orthodox Church, her own insecurities, and Karenin’s indecision. Although Vronsky and Anna go to Italy, where they can be together, they have trouble making friends. Back in Russia, she is shunned, becoming further isolated and anxious, while Vronsky pursues his social life. Despite Vronsky’s reassurances, she grows increasingly possessive and paranoid about his imagined infidelity, fearing loss of control.

A parallel story within the novel is that of Konstantin Levin, a wealthy country landowner who wants to marry Princess Kitty, sister to Dolly and sister-in-law to Anna’s brother Oblonsky. Konstantin has to propose twice before Kitty accepts. The novel details Konstantin’s difficulties managing his estate, his eventual marriage, and his personal issues, until the birth of his first child.

design idea Karenina.jpgThe novel explores a diverse range of topics throughout its approximately thousand pages. Some of these topics include an evaluation of the feudal system that existed in Russia at the time—politics, not only in the Russian government but also at the level of the individual characters and families, religion, morality, gender and social class.

Plot summary

The novel is divided into eight parts. Its epigraph is Vengeance is mine, I will repay, from Romans 12:19, which in turn quotes from Deuteronomy 32:35.

The novel begins with one of its most often-quoted lines:

“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

reference (Nabokov, Vladimir (1980). Lectures on Russian Literature. New York: Harvest. p. 137 (note). ISBN 0-15-649591-0.)

Anna Karenina by Tolstoy is a beautiful read. It’s Russian, therefore slow, dreadfully so at points. But the end is amazing, it’s vivid, fast-paced, and heartbreaking. Absolutely worth reading. The recent movie was great as well, the costumes were impeccable.

Not every story has necessary a happy end but even a tragedy keeps us awake and believes in true feelings.

Screen Shot 2016-07-25 at 8.23.58 PM

Risk LOVE and follow #LoveStoryPpl using today’s hashtag #LoveBeautiful

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