Considered “flawless” by Dostoyevsky and “the best ever written” by Faulkner, Leo Tolstoy’s 1877 novel Anna Karenina is one of the most enduring creative works of all time. Its dual protagonists, Anna Karenina and Konstantin Levin, face archetypical relationship and family quandaries: marriage, jealousy, anxiety, society, and parenting. Anna, a married aristocrat, is courted by Count Vronsky and falls out of love with her husband, Karenin. Although she initially rejects him, she soon gives in to his temptation, and becomes pregnant with his child. As their affair deepens, their relationship becomes unbalanced, and Anna’s jealousy and insecurity cripple her mentally. Meanwhile, Levin, a wealthy landowner who chooses the agrarian lifestyle on his estate over the urban life in Moscow, courts and finally wins the hand of Princess “Kitty” in marriage. Their marriage is happy but tumultuous, and Levin must confront the temptation of city life and conflicting emotions about the reality of bringing a child into the world. Revolutionary in its use of omniscient narration, stream of consciousness, and real, contemporary events to contextualize the story, Anna Karenina is, undoubtedly, a masterwork of fiction.
Topics: Russia, Psychological, Romantic, Tragic, Adultery, Suicide, Family, Moral Decay, Lust, Russian Author, Male Author, and 19th Century