25 internautes sur 26 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
CINDY C. DASHNAW
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Don't go through life without reading "Anna Karenina." This novel is excellent on so many levels that you can read it again and again, as I have, and still thoroughly enjoy it. Tolstoy skillfully tells two different stories simultaneously, based on the same theme: How does one find true happiness? Anna makes a choice and tries to bravely see it through, trying all the while to persuade herself that she's found happiness, but you can feel the strain build as the novel nears its climax. Levin nearly drives himself insane in his mental tug-of-war over where his place in life should be, but eventually comes full circle. In their journeys, Anna and Levin cross paths, with fascinating results. I can't stress enough that this book is a must-read. Be prepared to be thoughtful, depressed, elated and emotionally drained.
24 internautes sur 27 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Gordon R Cameron
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"Anna Karenina" is why the novel was invented. It is a colossal achievement that fully exploits the possibilities inherent in the literary form. The purpose of the 19th-century novel was to explore character and to critique society, and Tolstoy here has achieved the quintessence of both aims. The thing about Tolstoy is that you can trust him -- he is utterly honest. He doesn't revise, or simplify, or sugar-coat. He presents the human mind, in its various guises, precisely as it is. Levin, to my mind, rivals Hamlet as the most vivid, fully living character in literature, and he is probably much more self-consistent than the Melancholy Dane. Anna's story, which is more melodramatic and plot-heavy, might strike some as a flaw in comparison to Levin's. And maybe it is a flaw. But one must talk about flaws in "Anna Karenina" as one talks about flaws in Beethoven's 9th Symphony -- blemishes on a masterpiece which, if it errs, errs only in striving further than the art form is supposed to go.
Tolstoy's genius at depicting character and psychology is matched by his ability to construct vivid, memorable setpieces. No one who has read "Anna Karenina" can ever forget the hay-mowing, or Vronksy's horse race, or the heartbreaking scenes of Levin's sickly brother.
Even Dickens, with all his glorious phantasmagoria, never achieved what Tolstoy has done here. Tolstoy caught lightning in a bottle: homo sapiens, captured in 800-odd pages. There are only a handful of comparable achievements in all of Western art.
12 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
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For the longest time I have been reticent to write a review of Anna for fear of not being able to do the book justice. I still have that fear, but the time has come to at least say that this is my favorite novel of all time. I refer to the Magarshack translation which I have read and now re-read. I can't imagine a more intriguing story... admittedly however, it would help if the reader had an interest in the world that Tolstoy inhabited. There are so many (often lengthy) asides into his thoughts on abstention from worldly riches / social reconstruction etc. Tolstoy gets his character Levin to do reams of his own preaching on these subjects but again, because I find Tolstoy himself to be one of the most interesting characters Russia has ever produced, I don't mind finding him so obviously entrenched in his own story here.
But "Anna" is first and foremost a LOVE story which depicts the fleeting and disastrous effects of tempestous/undisciplined love (Anna and Vronsky) over against the lasting and mutually beneficial results of patient/disciplined love (Levin and Kitty). This book is an important masterpiece without rival in literature. Reading such a book on one's death-bed would not be a waste of time.
When I think of Anna, I am reminded of something that Solzhenitsyn made one of his fictional characters say in his book The First Circle: "In the 17th century there was Rembrandt, and there is Rembrandt today. Just try to improve on him. And yet the technology of the 17th century now seems primitive to us. Or take the technological innovations of the 1870's. For us they're child's play. But that was when Anna Karenina was written. What can you name that's superior?"
Read Anna... and you will be as silent as I am on that one!
11 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
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It's not necessary for me to repeat the high praise heaped upon ANNA KARENINA, which although slow-going in spots is nonetheless highly recommended by practically everyone, a world class read. But an argument is handy among those who would argue the merits of various translators and translations. Below are four of them with four representative passages from the opening paragraphs of this novel:
Constance Garnett (1901, with many revisions by others, many available for sale here, also for free online):
"the wife had discovered that the husband was carrying on an intrigue with a French girl,..."
(Introducing Prince Stephan Arkadyevich):
" -- Stiva, as he was known in the fashionable world -- "
"He turned over his stout, well-cared-for person on the springy sofa,"
Louise and Aylmer Maud (1918), available here as an Oxford World Classic:
"His wife had discovered an intrigue between her husband and the former French governess,..."
" -- Stiva, as he was called by his set in Society[note cap. "S"] -- "
"He turned his plump, well-kept body over on the springy sofa,"
David Magarshak (1961), Signet(Mass Market) Paperback [and this version]:
"The wife had found out that the husband had had an affair with the French governess,..."
"(Stiva, as he was called by his society friends),"
"He turned his plump, well-cared-for body on the springy sofa,..."
Peavar/Volokhonsky, 1991 (Penguin Classic and [same pagination, fancier cover] Oprah's Pick):
"The wife had found out that the husband was having an affair with the former French governess . . . "
" -- Stiva, as he was called in society -- "
"He rolled his full, well-tended body over the springs of the sofa,..."
The first thing to say is that these four quotations have a great deal more in common with each other than not. Nonetheless, there are differences: note that only two of the four mention that the object of Stiva's affection was a former employee. Despite several layers of revision, Garnett's translation, nearly a century old, at times slips into archaism: note the reference to high society as the "fashionable world," a term for which modern readers could be excused for construing something along the lines of couture, high fashion in clothing. Both the Garnett and the Maude version maintain the euphemism "intrigue" for "love-affair," while the two more recent translations keep to the more contemporary and less euphemistic "affair." In the Magarshack translation (1961), the use of the pluperfect in "the husband had had an affair" is technically correct, even today, but the P&V version with its "was having" just rolls by better to me.
Overall, though, of the four my personal favorite is the 1961 Magarshak translation, also the cheapest (but smallest in trim size). If I had to conduct a group discussion of ANNA KARENINA, though, I would almost cetainly gravitate to the much-better-distributed Peaver/Volokshonky edition because the differences or any presumed demerits, to me, are not as significant as granting the easiest accessibility to a group of individual readers. I could probably muddle through the archaisms in the Maude version -- it is the most reworked and in many respects the most solid, despite its age -- but I know I would have problems with the Constance Garrett.
The important thing to remember is that ANNA KARENINA is a book that demands to be read, and the reader who takes the time to read it fully will be well rewarded in vivid characterization, deft plotting, romance, social insight, and history, despite how one feels about the (sometimes exasperating) agrarian-political theorizing of Tolstoy's stand-in, Levin.
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
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There are two stories in this novel, which are connected at the beginning but become pretty much completely separate in the end. There's the title story of Anna, who runs off with a good-looking army officer leaving behind her stolid politician husband and young son. Then there's the highly autobiographical story of the quiet, unconfident Levin, who's quite happy to live a peaceful life in the countryside (and gets regarded as a fool as a result), except when he ventures into society (quote unquote) to try and woo the woman he loves, who sadly has eyes only for the man Anna fixes her attention on.
I have to confess that I found Levin's story a lot more interesting than Anna's. I sympathised a lot with his lack of confidence and search for purpose in life, and ended up rushing the bits about Anna to read about him.
However, both are well-excecuted, Tolstoy's piercing insights into human nature creeping in. Levin's behaviour in particular was eminently understandable and recognisable.
I have a hard time deciding whether I enjoyed War and Peace or this more - certainly the character of Levin surpasses the ones in War and Peace. Read them both, that's my advice.