Anna Karenina Group Read 2013- Part 2
Afegeix-te a LibraryThing per participar.
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"Note. Every Russian has three names: first name, patronymic, last name. The root of the middle name is that of the father, plus a suffix meaning "son of" or "daughter of." Thus Anna's middle name is "Arkadyevna," while that of her brother is "Arkadyevitch." Russians call each other by the Christian name and patronymic, rarely by surname. For the sake of clarity, however, English translators use the characters' family names wherever possible."
Anna Arkadyevna Karenina- High society heroine whose love affair keynotes the novel.
Alexey Alexandrovitch Karenin- Anna's deceived husband. He is a frigid, lonely man with an influential government position in St. Petersburg.
Sergei Alexeyitch Karenin (Seriozha)- Anna's son whom she is forced to leave for her lover's sake.
Count Alexey Kirillovitch Vronsky- Anna's lover, an honorable, rich, handsome aide-de-camp with a promising army career which he gives up in order to live with Anna.
Konstantin Dmitrich Levin (Kostya)- Autobiographical hero of novel.
Princess Katerina Alexandrovna Shtcherbatsky (Kitty)- The eighteen year old debutante who becomes Levin's wife.
Prince Stepan Arkadyevitch Oblonsky (Stiva)- Anna's brother who is a pleasure-loving socialite.
Princess Darya Alexandrovna Oblonsky (Dolly)- Stiva's long-suffering wife and Kitty's older sister.
Nicolai Dmitrich Levin- Levin's profligate brother who dies of tuberculosis.
Sergei Ivanitch Koznyshev- Levin's elder half-brother who is a famous writer and intellectual.
On the other hand, the Anna/Vronsky/Alexei triangle just seems to get worse & worse. Each of the three seems to feel that the problems are everyone else’s fault, and they can only see from their own points of view. Especially touching was Anna’s meeting with her son, and yet at the same time her insistence on going to the theater almost seemed mad. I almost dread reading more about these 3; it seems it can't come to a good end. And isn't that Countess Lydia Ivanovna a pain in the neck?
I'm about halfway through Book 6. I loved the hunting segment with Levin, (my favorite parts of the book always seem to include him) and the fat German Count.
I finished the book, and wrote some somewhat snarky comments about Anna and Vronsky on the book page for the Maude translation, http://www.librarything.com/work/2340/details/93188996. It would have been fine with me if the parts with Anna, Karenin and Vronsky were surgically removed from the book.
kac522- I did not care for the election parts either. Talk about slowing the narrative to a crawl. Unfortunately, there are a few moments like this in the book. Philosophy, labor practices and religion...just not that fascinating to this 21st Century Man.
I only have 50 pages left. Hooray. Book 8 is the shortest, at less than a 100 pages.
Was pointed to this rather good review: http://www.cclapcenter.com/2010/10/the_cclap_100_anna_karenina_by.html and thought some of you might be interested. Beware, it DOES contain spoilers if you haven't finished the book.
I'm still in the middle of Part 5, and I just ran across this great quote describing Alexei Alexandrovich: "All women, simply as women, were frightening and repulsive to him." I don't have much sympathy for Anna, but this does help me understand her lack of fidelity a bit!
I'd add to his,"if you want, skip the sections on the economic benefits of the feudal system" the one Mark and others are mentioning above - skip (or skim) the election parts. Yawn. I kept waiting for something interesting to happen.
I've only just begun...to read...Anna Karenina...hmmhmm...lalalalalala....(sing to the tune of "We've only just begun" by the Carpenters) Some of us here are old enough to remember the Carpenters aren't we? Anyway, What I Like About Anna Karenina...What I like about Anna Karenina is that it has the sense of an old classic about it I know...that's because it is one! I know). When I read a classic I don't want a modern feel to the words. I enjoy the unfamiliarity of the phrasing and the way that questions are put or statements made. I am glad this translation retains that quality. (Constance Garnett) I don't know if this quality is something particular to Russian novels or novels written in the 1800's and early and middle 1900's. Maybe a little of both. The modern novel, too, is a wonderful thing, there is such freedom and leeway for the author to take any tack he/she wishes. But, while there is less restraint, I wonder if that very limitation is what gave the early novelists their flair for stating the obvious and creating books that most often made important social and political statements.
In AK, as in many classics, descriptive passages are long and wordy, especially when a character is being described. These descriptions seemed to me to be the device used to move the plot along.Personality, physical descriptions, flaws and attributes are carefully rendered and serve to qualify the action. For instance, to know Stepan, Levin and Darya, is to know what goes on in the beginning of the novel. Stepan's infidelity determines what is happening in his home, and Darya is certainly a product of the time she lives in, so the reader can anticipate what may come next, action wise. Levin's description foreshadows what is certain to come in the chapters concerning him and Kitty. "But Levin was in love, and so it seemed to him that Kitty was so perfect in every respect that she was a creature far above everything earthly, and that he was a creature so low and so earthly that it could not even be conceived that other people and she herself could regard him as worthy of her." So we know that Levin is going to pursue Kitty and that Kitty may not be ready for this sort of romantic pursuit. Until I read a description of Anna, I won't know the part she will play in the novel. I hope I have not spoiled any parts for readers who may just be starting the book, but I don't think so. Good Reading!
I'm glad I participated but I can now say that it was not my cup of tea.
I'm reading along in Part 5, trying to re-immerse myself in this novel, and the several chapters dealing with the death of Levin's brother are quite interesting. Levin's experience of his brother's death, and the excruciating detail with which Tolstoy describes the brother's last few days (I mean, how exciting can you make a slow death by consumption?), appear to be an exploration of religious faith, death, and the dance one might do with the former in the face of the latter. It's actually a pretty interesting exploration of agnosticism. Tolstoy would have been an interesting dinner companion.
I really do want to complete this novel.
SPOILER ALERT - This is for nittnut
Read ahead, it's alright, Kitty and Levin will be fine :)
My review is here -http://www.librarything.com/topic/147106#3905612- if you really want to read it.
I'm within 50 pages of completion. Levin is waxing existential......
I liked it a bit better than you did, I think, Karen, but I won't be running out to read more Tolstoy. I know he's a classic. I don't care.
I found Anna's paranoia near the end really painful, and when Tolstoy followed that up by Levin's handwringing, I just wanted to finish it. I enjoyed War and Peace more in 2011, I think, but I had more time to enjoy it. I'll definitely be reading more Tolstoy but not right now!
No review from me, just onto the next book - it is going to be escapist crime for the next wee while!
I already knew how Anna's story ended, but I thought Tolstoy's depiction of her state of mind - her unhappiness, agitation, jealousy, disordered thinking etc, was very good. I felt sorry for her, and then even worse for Vronsky. It surprised me how little reaction was shown by the other primary characters to what happened to her.
Thanks for organising the group read, I'm not sure I would have stuck with it to the end otherwise, and I'm glad I did.
Knightley - http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/12659
Stoppard & Wright - http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/12658
Re. the book: I've been reading it off and on since late last year. Not finished yet but I just stumbled on these 2 threads here and may just get enough motivation from the rest of you here to finish the book finally.
Anyway, I wanted to weigh in with my feelings about the recent movie. I actually had to watch it twice and the second time I re-wound a lot. What a great movie! The way it was filmed was so original. It seemed to be so subtle that at first I didn't even realize how the scenes were framed within the stage setting. When Anna is putting her son to bed the scene is set within a frame so it appears to be a painting, allowing already beautiful furniture and bedclothes, draperies to be stunning. There are recurring themes within the movie as within the novel, the train,, of course being the most evident. The train station seems tremendous, cavernous, yet upon closer examination it is also part of the set. Part of the magic of the set design is the way it encompassed the scene in its entirety, never short-changing the viewer with painted on pieces and yet was clearly created with economy (not in the monetary sense) I was simply astounded by the artistry shown in the set design, costumes and make-up.