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Anna Arkadyevna Karenina, Count Alexei Kirillovich Vronsky, Prince Stepan "Stiva" Arkadyevich Oblonsky, Princess Darya "Dolly" Alexandrovna Oblonskaya, Alexei Alexandrovich Karenin, Konstantin "Kostya" Dmitrievich Levin, Nikolai Dmitrievich Levin
1878, by Leo Tolstoy
The story centers on an extramarital affair between Anna and dashing cavalry officer Count Alexei Kirillovich Vronsky that scandalizes the social circles of Saint Petersburg and forces the young lovers to flee to Italy in a search for happiness, but after they return to Russia, their lives further unravel.
Anna Karenina is commonly thought to explore the themes of hypocrisy, jealousy, faith, fidelity, family, marriage, society, progress, carnal desire and passion, and the agrarian connection to land in contrast to the lifestyles of the city.
Anna Arkadyevna Karenina, Alexei Alexandrovich Karenin, Alexei Kirillovich Vronsky, Konstantin Dmitrich Levin, Ekaterina Alexandrovna Shcherbatskaya (Kitty), Prince Stepan "Stiva" Arkadyevich Oblonsky, Princess Darya "Dolly" Alexandrovna Oblonskaya, Nikolai Dmitrievich Levin/Lyovin, Sergei Ivanovich Koznyshev, Prince Alexander Shcherbatsky, Princess Elizaveta "Betsy" Tverskaya, Countess Lidia (or Lydia) Ivanovna, Sergei "Seryozha" Alexeyich Karenin
Tolstoy's style in Anna Karenina is considered by many critics to be transitional, forming a bridge between the realist and modernist novel. Levin is often considered a semi-autobiographical portrayal of Tolstoy's own beliefs, struggles, and life events. Tolstoy's first name was "Lev," and the Russian surname "Levin" means "of Lev." According to footnotes in the Pevear/Volokhonsky translation, the viewpoints Levin supports throughout the novel in his arguments match Tolstoy's outspoken views on the same issues.
Widely considered to be one of the greatest works of literature ever written, Tolstoy himself called it his first true novel. The novel has been adapted into various media including theatre, opera, film, television, ballet, figure skating, and radio drama.
“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
“If you look for perfection, you'll never be content.”
“Respect was invented to cover the empty place where love should be.”
“Spring is the time of plans and projects.”
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