Time for Tolstoy

10 Sep

What’s the next book on the WEM novel list?

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Yes, I know we just read Crime and Punishment.  Do you need some convincing to read another Russian novel?… or to read along with us for the first time?

A new movie version of Anna Karenina is being released this fall.  Want to see a preview?  Send the kids to the other room.  Anna Karenina and Madame Bovary have some things in common.

For Crime and Punishment our setting was St. Petersburg, but we were among the poor of Russia.  For Anna Karenina we’ll be in St. Petersburg for a time, but in this novel we’re reading about high society.

You’ve already mastered Russian names, so why not read Tolstoy’s classic?!  It is considered one of the greatest novels of the nineteenth century (1877).

Here are the details.  SWB recommends the edition shown here.  The free kindle version is translated by Constance Garnett, but it doesn’t appear to be the revised version.

Whether you find a tattered copy on your home bookshelf or order a crisp new edition online, get ready because Anna Karenina is up next!


Posted by on September 10, 2012 in Anna Karenina, The Blog


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16 responses to “Time for Tolstoy

  1. Norma carey

    September 10, 2012 at 9:15 am

    At least the names are not so confusing!

    • Christine

      September 11, 2012 at 10:10 pm

      That’s encouraging!

  2. Ruth Lopez

    September 10, 2012 at 10:42 am

    Yay! I’m excited to finally begin a book with the group! This should be fun. The movie trailer for AK seems really theatrical.

    I look forward to reading your final thoughts on C&P.

  3. Elizabeth Johnson

    September 11, 2012 at 9:12 am

    Thanks for sharing the recommended translation. I splurged and spent the 99 cents for it 🙂

    Also… I finally finished C&P last night!!!! Woohoo!! And yes, the latter chapters were much more interesting than the middle part.

    • Jeannette

      September 11, 2012 at 7:01 pm

      Woo Hoo! You are fast, Elizabeth!

    • Christine

      September 11, 2012 at 10:13 pm

      Congrats! I’m just waiting for someone to ask me what I’ve been reading lately. I want to casually say, “You know, a little of this. A little of that. Oh, and I did read Crime and Punishment.”

  4. Gina Monge

    September 11, 2012 at 9:41 am

    Just starting AK today…how does everyone feel about introductions in literature? I usually like to read the introduction after I’m done with the novel–I find that introductions can color my reading in ways that I don’t like. I’d prefer to have my own ideas and opinions about the story/characters while I’m reading, and compare those with the ideas in the introduction afterwards. Although I did learn a new word while skimming the introduction! 🙂
    Prurient: Having or encouraging an excessive interest in sexual matters (this was in reference to Flaubert).
    I’m not sure how often I will have cause to use this word!

    • Ruth Lopez

      September 11, 2012 at 11:51 am

      Hi, Gina, The Well-Educated Mind suggests that readers skip the intro unless it is written by the author. However, it is very tempting to read it before reading the novel.

    • Jeannette

      September 11, 2012 at 7:03 pm

      Wait…your introduction to AK referenced Flaubert? Now I’m curious. I skipped my introduction, but I think you’d better share. We’re always looking for connections between books. I suppose I’d better not work prurient into my daily conversations. 🙂

    • Christina Joy

      September 13, 2012 at 2:21 pm

      Ooh! Thank you for taking care of a sticky Classic Word of the Day so I don’t have to!

  5. Gina Monge

    September 11, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    Thanks Ruth, I didn’t even realize that! I’ll have to review that part of The Well-Educated Mind again before I get too far into the novel.

    • Christine

      September 11, 2012 at 10:19 pm

      The basics are: 1. don’t read anything intro-wise unless it was written by the author. (I have cheated on this before.) 2. keep a list of characters ( I completely forgot to do this for Gulliver’s Travels.) 3. quickly journal each chapter. (This I try to do since it helps me when I go back to answer the WEM questions.)

      Some of our blog friends follow the WEM suggestions and some of our friends read for pure enjoyment (Yes, I know! C & P for the fun of it!).

  6. Gina Monge

    September 12, 2012 at 9:40 am

    Hi Jeannette! I’m reading the recommended edition on my Kindle – the part of the intro that discusses Flaubert is when Mona Simpson is covering some of the reviews of AK at the time –
    “As the reviews of Tolstoy’s time point out – several of them expressing gratitude that Tolstoy was not as prurient as Flaubert – the seduction happens between chapters.”
    So it was really more of a passing reference to Flaubert. Another part of the introduction contains Flaubert’s opinion of Tolstoy: “Flaubert just exclaims, ‘What an artist and what a psychologist!'”
    Just thought these references were interesting in the context of this group!

  7. Jeannette

    September 21, 2012 at 7:32 am

    Thanks for sharing, Gina. Very interesting. Love the “between the chapters” seduction.


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