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Anna Karenina (Signet Classics) Mass Market Paperback – November 5, 2002


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 960 pages
  • Publisher: Signet Classics (November 5, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451528611
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451528612
  • Product Dimensions: 1.4 x 4.5 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #673,956 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Russian

About the Author

Count Leo Tolstoy was born on September 9, 1828, in Yasnaya Polyana, Russia. Orphaned at nine, he was brought up by an elderly aunt and educated by French tutors until he matriculated at Kazan University in 1844. In 1847, he gave up his studies and, after several aimless years, volunteered for military duty in the army, serving as a junior officer in the Crimean War before retiring in 1857. In 1862, Tolstoy married Sophie Behrs, a marriage that was to become, for him, bitterly unhappy. His diary, started in 1847, was used for self-study and self-criticism; it served as the source from which he drew much of the material that appeared not only in his great novels War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1877), but also in his shorter works. Seeking religious justification for his life, Tolstoy evolved a new Christianity based upon his own interpretation of the Gospels. Yasnaya Polyana became a mecca for his many converts At the age of eighty-two, while away from home, the writer suffered a break down in his health in Astapovo, Riazan, and he died there on November 20, 1910.

David Magarshack was known for his many translations from his native Russian, including works by Dostoyevsky.


More About the Author

Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) wrote two of the great novels of the nineteenth century, War and Peace and Anna Karenina.

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Customer Reviews

Dostoevsky hailed the novel as a great masterpiece.
Mary E. Sibley
It is clear that Tolstoy wants the reader to come away with many messages about the sanctity of marriage, love and family life.
Bentley
The other character really wants to do what is right and good but it's hard to tell what that even is in those changing times.
mike

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By CINDY C. DASHNAW on November 11, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Don't go through life without reading "Anna Karenina." This novel is excellent on so many levels that you can read it again and again, as I have, and still thoroughly enjoy it. Tolstoy skillfully tells two different stories simultaneously, based on the same theme: How does one find true happiness? Anna makes a choice and tries to bravely see it through, trying all the while to persuade herself that she's found happiness, but you can feel the strain build as the novel nears its climax. Levin nearly drives himself insane in his mental tug-of-war over where his place in life should be, but eventually comes full circle. In their journeys, Anna and Levin cross paths, with fascinating results. I can't stress enough that this book is a must-read. Be prepared to be thoughtful, depressed, elated and emotionally drained.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Gordon R Cameron on June 16, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Anna Karenina" is why the novel was invented. It is a colossal achievement that fully exploits the possibilities inherent in the literary form. The purpose of the 19th-century novel was to explore character and to critique society, and Tolstoy here has achieved the quintessence of both aims. The thing about Tolstoy is that you can trust him -- he is utterly honest. He doesn't revise, or simplify, or sugar-coat. He presents the human mind, in its various guises, precisely as it is. Levin, to my mind, rivals Hamlet as the most vivid, fully living character in literature, and he is probably much more self-consistent than the Melancholy Dane. Anna's story, which is more melodramatic and plot-heavy, might strike some as a flaw in comparison to Levin's. And maybe it is a flaw. But one must talk about flaws in "Anna Karenina" as one talks about flaws in Beethoven's 9th Symphony -- blemishes on a masterpiece which, if it errs, errs only in striving further than the art form is supposed to go.
Tolstoy's genius at depicting character and psychology is matched by his ability to construct vivid, memorable setpieces. No one who has read "Anna Karenina" can ever forget the hay-mowing, or Vronksy's horse race, or the heartbreaking scenes of Levin's sickly brother.
Even Dickens, with all his glorious phantasmagoria, never achieved what Tolstoy has done here. Tolstoy caught lightning in a bottle: homo sapiens, captured in 800-odd pages. There are only a handful of comparable achievements in all of Western art.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Cipriano on February 28, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
For the longest time I have been reticent to write a review of Anna for fear of not being able to do the book justice. I still have that fear, but the time has come to at least say that this is my favorite novel of all time. I refer to the Magarshack translation which I have read and now re-read. I can't imagine a more intriguing story... admittedly however, it would help if the reader had an interest in the world that Tolstoy inhabited. There are so many (often lengthy) asides into his thoughts on abstention from worldly riches / social reconstruction etc. Tolstoy gets his character Levin to do reams of his own preaching on these subjects but again, because I find Tolstoy himself to be one of the most interesting characters Russia has ever produced, I don't mind finding him so obviously entrenched in his own story here.
But "Anna" is first and foremost a LOVE story which depicts the fleeting and disastrous effects of tempestous/undisciplined love (Anna and Vronsky) over against the lasting and mutually beneficial results of patient/disciplined love (Levin and Kitty). This book is an important masterpiece without rival in literature. Reading such a book on one's death-bed would not be a waste of time.
When I think of Anna, I am reminded of something that Solzhenitsyn made one of his fictional characters say in his book The First Circle: "In the 17th century there was Rembrandt, and there is Rembrandt today. Just try to improve on him. And yet the technology of the 17th century now seems primitive to us. Or take the technological innovations of the 1870's. For us they're child's play. But that was when Anna Karenina was written. What can you name that's superior?"
Read Anna... and you will be as silent as I am on that one!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Allen Smalling TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 16, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
It's not necessary for me to repeat the high praise heaped upon ANNA KARENINA, which although slow-going in spots is nonetheless highly recommended by practically everyone, a world class read. But an argument is handy among those who would argue the merits of various translators and translations. Below are four of them with four representative passages from the opening paragraphs of this novel:

Constance Garnett (1901, with many revisions by others, many available for sale here, also for free online):
"the wife had discovered that the husband was carrying on an intrigue with a French girl,..."

(Introducing Prince Stephan Arkadyevich):
" -- Stiva, as he was known in the fashionable world -- "

"He turned over his stout, well-cared-for person on the springy sofa,"

Louise and Aylmer Maud (1918), available here as an Oxford World Classic:
"His wife had discovered an intrigue between her husband and the former French governess,..."

" -- Stiva, as he was called by his set in Society[note cap. "S"] -- "

"He turned his plump, well-kept body over on the springy sofa,"

David Magarshak (1961), Signet(Mass Market) Paperback [and this version]:
"The wife had found out that the husband had had an affair with the French governess,..."

"(Stiva, as he was called by his society friends),"

"He turned his plump, well-cared-for body on the springy sofa,..."

Peavar/Volokhonsky, 1991 (Penguin Classic and [same pagination, fancier cover] Oprah's Pick):
"The wife had found out that the husband was having an affair with the former French governess . . .
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