Publication of this exacting new translation of Tolstoy's great Anna signifies a literary event of the first magnitude Tolstoy produced many drafts of Anna Karenina. Crafting and recrafting each sentence with careful intent, he was anything but casual in his use of language. His project, translator Marian Schwartz observes, "was to bend language to his will, as an instrument of his aesthetic and moral convictions." In her magnificent new translation, Schwartz embraces Tolstoy's unusual style-she is the first English ...
Publication of this exacting new translation of Tolstoy's great Anna signifies a literary event of the first magnitude Tolstoy produced many drafts of Anna Karenina. Crafting and recrafting each sentence with careful intent, he was anything but casual in his use of language. His project, translator Marian Schwartz observes, "was to bend language to his will, as an instrument of his aesthetic and moral convictions." In her magnificent new translation, Schwartz embraces Tolstoy's unusual style-she is the first English language translator ever to do so. Previous translations have departed from Tolstoy's original, "correcting" supposed mistakes and infelicities. But Schwartz uses repetition where Tolstoy does, wields a judicious cliche when he does, and strips down descriptive passages as he does, re-creating his style in English with imagination and skill. Tolstoy's romantic Anna, long-suffering Karenin, dashing Vronsky, and dozens of their family members, friends, and neighbors are among the most vivid characters in world literature. In the thought-provoking Introduction to this volume, Gary Saul Morson provides unusual insights into these characters, exploring what they reveal about Tolstoy's radical conclusions on romantic love, intellectual dishonesty, the nature of happiness, the course of true evil, and more. For readers at every stage-from students first encountering Anna to literary professionals revisiting the novel-this volume will stand as the English reader's clear first choice.
A strange beauty of a book. If this describes Russia and her people, they are quite as much a mystery as before the book was opened. The descriptions of the countryside will make you feel the icy wind, the motives of the players-you will wonder if some people could ever be so self-centered. A little hard to relate to the material luxuries of nobility.
Dec 16, 2010
I love this book. This book is an absolute classic and everyone should read it!
Aug 26, 2010
For the masses
It's very long (good lord, Tolstoy, calling you long-winded would be the understatement of the year) and there are many Russian names that sound alike and can be confusing, but this book is excellent. Remember that Tolstoy wrote for the masses, not the elite, and you'll gain a wealth of knowledge about Russian life during Tolstoy's day.
Sep 10, 2009
This might have been a great book
I was not able to read it since it was in the written in the Russian language. It is probably always best to read authors in their own language, but since I did not have time to learn Russian, I was not able to read it and placed it in the recycle bin.
Aug 22, 2007
An Essential Tragedy
Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina is a masterpiece that is both compelling and accessible despite its daunting length. The theme of adultery and its disastrous consequences, including Anna's resultant self-loathing, still has currency. Most novelists are content to do one thing well, but Tolstoy's mastery and novelistic skills are manifold: his intimate knowledge of characters, their interaction with society, his rendering of physical action. The horse racing and hunting scenes are thrilling. One almost believes that the word "omniscience" needed to be coined in order to describe Tolstoy's commanding, godlike narrative perspective.
Of course most remarkable is Tolstoy's creation of the title character, who with Flaubert's Madame Bovary, is a fully developed, credible female character. In fact Tolstoy's characters have that full dimensionality, what E.M. Forster referred to as "roundness," that is so satisfying to the reader, even observing the bemusement of children in the face of Anna and Count Vronsky's affair. The farmer Levin's marriage to Kitty, his preoccupations with land reform and God, serve as a kind of moral counterpoint to Anna's adultery, and signal the peasant discontent that would overturn the stability of pre-revolutionary, Czarist Russia in the next century.
Preceding Anna's suicide, her nervous breakdown prefigures modernist interiority to an uncanny degree. In the end, however, it is Anna's essential tragedy that raises Tolstoy's novel to its deserved classic status.
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