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Widely considered one of the best novels ever written, Anna Karenina is the tragic story of the aristocratic Anna’s doomed affair with the wealthy Count Vronsky. Reflecting Russian morals of the time, as well as Tolstoy’s personal feelings on infidelity, Anna Karenina explores themes of passion and fidelity, the impact that social norms have on personal choice, and the ramifications of choosing a life outside of that deemed acceptable by society.
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865 pages, Kindle Edition
First published January 1, 1878
"But I'm glad you will see me as I am. The chief thing I shouldn't like would be for people to imagine I want to prove anything. I don't want to prove anything; I merely want to live, to do no one harm but myself. I have the right to do that, haven't I?"On one hand, there's little new about the story of a forbidden, passionate, overwhelming affair resulting in societal scorn and the double standards towards a man and a woman involved in the same act. Few readers will be surprised that it is Anna who gets the blame for the affair, that it is Anna who is considered "fallen" and undesirable in the society, that it is Anna who is dependent on men in whichever relationship she is in because by societal norms of that time a woman was little else but a companion to her man. There is nothing new about the sad contrasts between the opportunities available to men and to women of that time - and the strong sense of superiority that men feel in this patriarchial world. No, there is nothing else in that, tragic as it may be.
"Anything, only not divorce!" answered Darya Alexandrovna.
"But what is anything?"
"No, it is awful! She will be no one's wife, she will be lost!"
"And he tried to think of her as she was when he met her the first time, at a railway station too, mysterious, exquisite, loving, seeking and giving happiness, and not cruelly revengeful as he remembered her on that last moment."A calm and poised lady slowly and terrifyingly descends into fickle moods and depression and almost maniacal liveliness in between, tormented by her feeling of (imagined) abandonment and little self-worth and false passions which are little else but futile attempts to fill the void, the never-ending emptiness... This is what Tolstoy is a master at describing, and this is what was grabbing my heart and squeezing the joy out of it in anticipation of inevitable tragedy to come.
"In her eyes the whole of him, with all his habits, ideas, desires, with all his spiritual and physical temperament, was one thing—love for women, and that love, she felt, ought to be entirely concentrated on her alone. That love was less; consequently, as she reasoned, he must have transferred part of his love to other women or to another woman—and she was jealous. She was jealous not of any particular woman but of the decrease of his love. Not having got an object for her jealousy, she was on the lookout for it. At the slightest hint she transferred her jealousy from one object to another."
"Vronsky, meanwhile, in spite of the complete realization of what he had so long desired, was not perfectly happy. He soon felt that the realization of his desires gave him no more than a grain of sand out of the mountain of happiness he had expected. It showed him the mistake men make in picturing to themselves happiness as the realization of their desires. "
"He considered a revolution in economic conditions nonsense. But he always felt the injustice of his own abundance in comparison with the poverty of the peasants, and now he determined that so as to feel quite in the right, though he had worked hard and lived by no means luxuriously before, he would now work still harder, and would allow himself even less luxury."I have to say - I understood his ideas more this time, but I could not really feel for the efforts of the devoted and kind landowner striving to understand the soul of Russian peasants. Maybe it's because I mentally kept fast-forwarding mere 50 years, to the Socialist Revolution of 1917 that would leave most definitely Levin and Kitty and their children dead, or less likely, in exile; the revolution which, as Tolstoy almost predicted, focused on the workers and despised the loved by Count Leo peasants, the revolution that despised the love for owning land and working it that Tolstoy felt was at the center of the Russian soul. But it is still incredibly interesting to think about and to analyze because even a century and a half later there's still enough truth and foresight in Tolstoy's musings, after all. Even if I disagree with so many of his views, they are still thought-provoking, no doubts about it.
"If he had been asked whether he liked or didn't like the peasants, Konstantin Levin would have been absolutely at a loss what to reply. He liked and did not like the peasants, just as he liked and did not like men in general. Of course, being a good-hearted man, he liked men rather than he disliked them, and so too with the peasants. But like or dislike "the people" as something apart he could not, not only because he lived with "the people," and all his interests were bound up with theirs, but also because he regarded himself as a part of "the people," did not see any special qualities or failings distinguishing himself and "the people," and could not contrast himself with them."========================
جميع العائلات السعيدة متشابهة. لكن العائلات غير السعيدة تختلف في أسباب بؤسها.هكذا بدأت الرواية
يقولون إن النساء يحببن فى الرجال حتى رذائلهم.. وأنا أكره فيه فضائله!. لا أستطيع أن أعيش معه! لكن ماذا أفعل .. لقد كنت شقية.. وكنت أعتقد أن الإنسان لا يمكن أن يكون أكثر شقاء مما كنت. لكن الحالة الفظيعة التى أجتازها الآن تفوق كل ما تصورت. أتصدق إني أكرهه برغم علمي بأنه رجل طيب ! بل رجل رائع! وإني لا أساوي أصبعاً من أصابعه؟.. إنى أكرهه بسبب كرمه....عن أمراض المجتمع الإقطاعى يتحدث تولستوى ليصدم المجتمع الغربى كله في مبادئه و يضع أمامه ماديته في صورة لا يمكن إلا بغضها و التقزز منها بل و التبرؤ من واقع يعيشونه يوميا و لذلك جعلك تتعاطف مع بطلة القصة التي كانت ضحية نفسها و جمالها قبل أن تكون ضحية المجتمع و قيمه
في ال��حظة التى إلتفت إليها. إستراحت على وجهه عيناها الغبراوان. اللتان زادتها سواداً كثافة أهدابهما. وإبتسامة خفيفة ترف على شفتيها الحمراوين. إن طبيعتها تطفح بشئ يظهر –برغم إرادتها – فى بريق عينيها وفي إبتسامتها...رغم كل ما كانت فيه آنا من النعيم و ما يقطع بلا شك أنها تعيش سعيدة حيث الزوج الرائع ذو النفوذ و الذرية الصالحة و العيش الرغيد و الجمال الفتان إلا أنها كانت تعيسة و بائسة و في الوقت نفسه كانت صادقة مع نفسها و زوجها بل و حتى مع العشيق