Tag Archives: Leo Tolstoy

Novel Readings 2012

2012 seems to have been a particularly rich and rewarding reading year – also, a particularly maddening and occasionally stultifying one. I suppose what I’m saying is that it was a reading year like any other one! As always, some books stand out, though sometimes as much for the challenge and gratification I found in […]

“And such is the meaning of all existence!” Levin and Anna Karenina

If Anna represents the futility of material striving–of seeking lasting happiness through pursuing her own immediate needs–perhaps Levin represents spiritual striving. At any rate, that’s the best I’ve come up with so far as I ponder the relationship between the two major plots of Anna Karenina. In Levin’s epiphanic musings towards the end of the […]

“I want to love and to live”: More Anna Karenina

I finished Anna Karenina yesterday–or, I should say, I finished Anna Karenina for the first time: it’s so large and complicated, and also so alien, so unfamiliar, to me that I hardly feel I’ve really read it yet. It was an odd, engrossing, and somewhat frustrating experience working my way through it. Despite its sprawl […]

More Anna Karenina: What About Love?

Well, that was abrupt. Here I thought that this novel told a great love story, and instead we seem to have stumbled into a love affair with no good reason. Not that Anna and Vronsky don’t have their reasons, but we hardly know what they are or why we should care when all of a sudden […]

Getting Started with Anna Karenina

When I posted about Madame Bovary a few months ago, I remarked on the oddity of reading a very famous book for the first time–it is, I said, “intensely familiar and yet strange at the same time. . . it is no longer an idea of something but the thing itself.” My posts on Madame Bovary show […]

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