Anna Karenina

From ArticleWorld

Anna Karenina written by Leo Tolstoy was considered to be the pinnacle of realist fiction. The novel first appeared as a serial in the periodical “Russian Messenger” in 1877, but conflicts arouse over the final installment of “Anna Karenina” between Tolstoy and the editor. As a result, the completed work appeared for the first time in book form.


Although, declared to be a flawless as a work of art by Fyodor Dostoevsky, most Russian critics panned “Anna Karenina” on its first publication. Eventually, Dostoevsky’s opinion was second by Vladimir Nabokov, who especially admired Tolstoy’s style and the continued metaphor of the moving train-from the kids playing with a toy train in the first chapter, to Anna’s nightmare dream in later ones, to the novels tragic, and prophesized ending.


Anna Karenina is a novel divided into eight parts.

  1. Prince Stepan Arkadyevitch Oblonsky (“Stiva”) has been unfaithful to his wife Darya Alexandrovna (“Dolly”). Anna Karenina, Stepan married sister, arrives from St. Petersburg to help Stiva persuade Dolly not to leave him. Arriving also in Moscow is Stiva’s childhood friend, Konstanin Dmitrievich Levin there to offer his hand to Dolly sister, Katerina Alexandrovan Shcherbatsky (“Kitty), who is waiting for a proposal from Count Alexei Kirillovich Vronsky. Anna and Vronsky meet at a ball and are instantly attracted to each other. At the end of the part 1. Anna has returned to her husband, Alexis Alexandrovich Karenin, and son Seriozha in Petersburg.
  1. Anna yields to her feelings for Vronsky and becomes pregnant with his child. Kitty travels to a resort at a German Spring after learning that Vronsky is in love with Anna.
  2. Levin realizes he is still loves Kitty. Karenina refuses to separate from Anna.
  3. Karenina seeks a divorce from Anna. Anna almost dies in childbirth giving birth to Vronsky daughter. Anna survives and leaves with Vronsky for Europe without attaining a divorce from Karenin. Levin and Kitty reconcile and become engaged.
  4. Levin and Kitty marry. Levin brother Nikolai is dying, and while taking care of him Kitty realizes she is pregnant. Vronsky and Anna struggle in Europe, but eventually return to Russia. Karenina is now is being influenced by Countess Lidia Ivanovna, a believer of religious and mystic ideas. She tells Karenina to keep Seriozha away from Anna. Anna visits Seriozha (her son) unannounced on his birthday, not knowing he has been told she is dead. Karenina finds out about Anna visit, and Anna and Vronsky leave for the country.
  5. Anna resume her efforts to seeks a divorce from Karenina. Dolly visits Anna.
  6. Kitty gives birth to a son. Stiva asks Karenina for a job and to grant Anna a divorce. Anna’s constant jealousy drives Vronsky further from away. In Moscow, Anna and Vronsky plan to return to the country but Anna leaves early and commits suicide by throwing herself under a train.
  7. The story continues after Anna’s death. Stiva gets the job he wanted. Karenin takes custody of Annie, Anna and Vronsky’s child. Vronsky leaves to help in the Serbian revolt that has broken out against the Turks. Levin develops a faith in the Christian God.

Thematic overview

Anna Karenina tragedy is her inability to be completely honest with herself about what she wants. Consequently, not being able to make a decision she destroyed herself. In the face of a society that applauds deception, and dishonesty, Anna is torn between societal rules, and her own desires.

Tolstoy’s was seen as a writer who had great dislike and disdain for his peers, and for human weaknesses in general. Several of Tolstoy’s characters in Anna Karenina conveys his feelings for the religious hyprocrisy and insincerity. Also, in Anna Karenina Tolstoy is trying to contrast the purity of country living, to the corruption and moral decay of urban society. The most prominent themes Tolstoy deals with in the novel are the relationship between love and honesty. By all accounts, Levin was a stand in for Tolstoy. Tolstoy had his wife read from his journals, and in the novel Levin had his fiancé read from his.

Many of the novels themes can be found in Confessions. The confession public domain version is on (