by Count Lev Nikolayvich Tolstoy
Arguably the finest work of written art ever produced, Anna Karenina was the masterpiece of Leo Tolstoy. Produced in installments for five years, the full work wasn't seen together until 1878. Anna Karenina is the tragic story of a married aristocrat and her affair with the affluent Count Vronsky. The story starts 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 would agree to leave her husband Karenin, a government official, but she is vulnerable to the pressures of Russian social norms, 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 country landowner who wants to marry 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. The novel explores a diverse range of topics throughout its 754 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. Fairhaven Press is presenting this book in its entirety at the request of those looking for a new paperback version. It should also be noted that Leo Tolstoy spent the later years of his life yearning for his copyright to this book (and others) to be removed so that all would be able to read his works. He saw too much censorship in his life and felt that all work should be available to everyone. It is in this spirit that we proudly offer up this classic work. It is truly the best work of art ever written and should be read by everyone.
Paperback 754 pages
7.4 x 9.7 inches