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'All happy families are alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way'. "Anna Karenina" is a novel of unparalleled richness and complexity, set against the backdrop of Russian high society. Tolstoy charts the course of the doomed love affair between Anna, a beautiful married woman, and Count Vronsky, a wealthy army officer who pursues Anna after becoming infatuated with her at a ball.
Although she initially resists his charms Anna eventually succumbs, falling passionately in love and setting in motion a chain of events that lead to her downfall. In this extraordinary novel, Tolstoy seamlessly weaves together the lives of dozens of characters, while evoking a love so strong that those who experience it are prepared to die for it.
About the Author
Leo Tolstoy was born in central Russia on 9 September 1828. In 1852 he published his first work, the autobiographical Childhood. He served in the army during the Crimean War and his Sevastopol Sketches (1855-6) are based on his experiences. His two most popular masterpieces are War and Peace (1864-69) and Anna Karenina (1875-8). He died in 20 November 1910.
This is a beautifully written story of human passions, obsessions and frailty which shape-shifts each time it is re-read.
Full of sweeping politics, romance and a tragic descent into madness, it has plenty to interest and intrigue even the most critical of readers.
"One of the greatest love stories in world literature" -- Vladimir Nabokov "Tolstoy's historical and human sweep is breathtaking. His vision, humanity and his knowledge that love and pain are at the heart of life is the most important of all the profound truths revealed in this great novel" -- Jonathan Dimbleby "In Anna Karenina, Tolstoy got totally inside the mind of a woman who is prepared to lose everything for the sake of man and who is so much in love that she commits suicide. I don't like her as a woman, but I think it is a brilliant portrait, unequalled in literature" -- Amanda Craig * Independent * "I've read and re-read this novel and every time I find another layer in the story" -- Philippa Gregory "I first read Anna Karenina 20 years ago when travelling across the Peruvian desert on a long bus journey, and it has stayed with me ever since" -- Hugh Thomson * Independent *
Russian author, a master of realistic fiction and one of the world's greatest novelists.
Tolstoy is best known for his two longest works, War and Peace and Anna Karenina, which are commonly regarded as among the finest novels ever written. War and Peace in particular seems virtually to define this form for many readers and critics. Among Tolstoy's shorter works, The Death of Ivan Ilyich is usually classed among the best examples of the novella. Especially during his last three decades Tolstoy also achieved world renown as a moral and religious teacher. His doctrine of nonresistance to evil had an important influence on Gandhi. Although Tolstoy's religious ideas no longer command the respect they once did, interest in his life and personality has, if anything, increased over the years.
Most readers will agree with the assessment of the 19th-century British poet and critic Matthew Arnold that a novel by Tolstoy is not a work of art but a piece of life; the 20th-century Russian author Isaak Babel commented that, if the world could write by itself, it would write like Tolstoy. Critics of diverse schools have agreed that somehow Tolstoy's works seem to elude all artifice. Most have stressed his ability to observe the smallest changes of consciousness and to record the slightest movements of the body. What another novelist would describe as a single act of consciousness, Tolstoy convincingly breaks down into a series of infinitesimally small steps. According to the English writer Virginia Woolf, who took for granted that Tolstoy was “the greatest of all novelists,” these observational powers elicited a kind of fear in readers, who “wish to escape from the gaze which Tolstoy fixes on us.”
Those who visited Tolstoy as an old man also reported feelings of great discomfort when he appeared to understand their unspoken thoughts. It was commonplace to describe him as godlike in his powers and titanic in his struggles to escape the limitations of the human condition. Some viewed Tolstoy as the embodiment of nature and pure vitality, others saw him as the incarnation of the world's conscience, but for almost all who knew him or read his works, he was not just one of the greatest writers who ever lived but a living symbol of the search for life's meaning.
ISBN: 9780099540663 ISBN-10: 0099540665 Series: Vintage Classic Russians Series Audience:
Number Of Pages: 992 Published: 4th February 2010 Publisher: Vintage Publishing Country of Publication: GB Dimensions (cm): 19.8 x 13.1
Weight (kg): 0.67
Edition Number: 1