Anna Karenina in our time by Gary Saul Morson

By Gary Saul Morson

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


The e-book deals incredible 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 very important insights (evil is frequently the results of negligence; goodness derives from small, daily deeds) and completes the quantity with an impossible to resist, unique record of 1 Hundred and Sixty-Three Tolstoyan Conclusions.


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Example text

If we are to avoid the horrors of the twentieth century, we may need to think differently. Perhaps Tolstoys insights with their inspiring prescience will help us. They may also help people to live their individual lives more fully and with greater self-awareness. Even where they are overstated, mistaken, or simply perverse they may initiate a dialogue in which something vital may be said. So iconoclastic is Anna Karenina that some of its challenges to common opinion have not even been noticed. When a belief is too iconoclastic, it may remain invisible.

Prosaic novels often express their own values by subjecting these antithetical genres to scrutiny. In Trollope and Jane Austen, characters who cite romantic lyrics often do so to deceive themselves or others. As War and Peace begins, Prince 29 Tolstoy and the Twenty-first Century Andrei tries to live the life of an epic hero in a novelistic world. He is, so to speak, a genre expatriate from the epic, and must learn novelistic lessons. Imagining that she is a romantic heroine, Anna Karenina is a genre expatriate from romance in the world of the prosaic novel.

To argue this way is not just to exaggerate Darwins ideas but to get them exactly wrong. Darwin above all wanted to demonstrate that species resulted from a historical process, and optimality or perfect design easily testifies to creation by a single intelligence at a single moment. The proof of a long process of historical evolution lies in the fact that organisms are /^perfectly designed, as anything responding to contingent events and unforeseeable circumstances would be. Animals possess organs and other anatomical features that do not contribute to, or perhaps even impede, survival.

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