By Gary Saul Morson

In this invigorating new evaluation of Anna Karenina, Gary Saul Morson overturns conventional interpretations of the vintage novel and indicates why readers have misunderstood Tolstoy’s characters and intentions. Morson argues that Tolstoy’s rules are way more radical than has been concept: his masterpiece demanding situations deeply held conceptions of romantic love, the method of social reform, modernization, and the character of fine and evil. via investigating the moral, philosophical, and social concerns with which Tolstoy grappled, Morson reveals in Anna Karenina strong connections with the worries of this present day. He proposes that Tolstoy’s attempt to work out the area extra properly can deeply tell our personal look for knowledge within the current day.


The e-book bargains extraordinary analyses of Anna, Karenin, Dolly, Levin, and different characters, with a very sophisticated portrait of Anna’s extremism and self-deception. Morson probes Tolstoy’s vital insights (evil is usually the results of negligence; goodness derives from small, daily deeds) and completes the amount with an impossible to resist, unique record of 1 Hundred and Sixty-Three Tolstoyan Conclusions.


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Over time, and in different moods, each person is sure to understand his own ideas variously. "Those who make a practice of comparing human actions are never so perplexed as when they try to see them as a whole and in the same light.... we change like that animal which takes the color of the place you set it on. . We float between different states of mind" (Montaigne, 239-40). Tolstoy and the Realist Novel of Ideas Hostility to oversimplifying theories characterizes the realist novel in general.

Neither thinker regarded his key ideas as allowing for reliable prediction. Textbooks reflect how their followers saved them from these embarrassing lapses by making them fit the dominant model that seemed so much more scientific. The fact that thinkers have recently become aware that Darwin, Smith, Clausewitz, and others contradict the textbooks invoking them suggests that the age of God substitutes may be ebbing. We may at last be ready to move beyond God and the world as each is described by the dominant theological tradition and its heirs.

But Levin s experiences do not tend in the same direction. He has no idea how to characterize "the peasants," with whom he lives and works, any more than he can generalize about people as a whole. As a result, Levin "was readily convicted of contradicting himself. In Sergey Ivanovichs eyes his younger brother was a splendid fellow . . with a mind which, though fairly quick, was too much influenced by the impressions of the moment, and consequently filled with contradictions" (252-53). We sense Tolstoys palpable irony: Levin cares about what is really there, which is never simple, constantly varies and changes, and so does not lend itself to generalization.

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Anna Karenina in our time by Gary Saul Morson
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