Dru Watkins

Welcome!  Here is a place to share any excerpts, thoughts, reactions, or secondary sources for Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina.

  • Diane Freeman

    I just finished Part One. (6/26/23)
    I have not really looked at it, but the Chronology section starting page xxxiv is quite interesting.
    I copied out List of Characters pages xlvi-xlix. They have been most helpful to me.
    I note that for a wife, her married name always ends in an "a", e.g., Karenina vs. Karenin for Anna.
    I have a Russian language text book and was reminded that the language grammar reflects masculine, feminine, and neuter (as applicable) for verbs, nouns and adjectives with some exceptions. I thought this when Anna noted that Dolly used the single, personal "you" when she was talking with Stiva, making her believe that Dolly was less angry with Stiva.
    It amazes me that Tolstoy spends so much time and words to describe in detail,
    clothing, hair, little hands, small hands, etc. Levin's blushing red so much seems a bit much but apparently it's his unbelievable shyness around Anna.
    Haven't decided about Vronsky yet.

    • Dru Watkins

      Since you mentioned it, I now notice how often Tolstoy describes Levin's blushing. "Levin suddenly blushed, not as grown-up people blush who hardly notice it themselves, but as boys blush who are aware that their shyness is ridiculous and therefore feel ashamed of it and blush still more, almost to tears (p. 22."). I relate to that a bit. When someone says "you are blushing" I blush more out of shame! He blushes when he meets Stiva's colleagues. He seems to blush around everyone, whether out of discomfort or whether he really likes the person. Perhaps he feels out of place in the city since he is a farmer and spends his time rearing animals and erecting buildings. He also seems to blush when he is holding something in: "When Oblonsky asked Levin his reason for coming to town, Levin had blushed and been angry with himself for blushing, because he could not answer: 'I have come to propose to your sister-in-law,' although he had come solely for that purpose(pg. 25)."

      We get a glimpse of Levin's mindset when he asks about Stiva's job on page 23.

      Hands! Grinevich's long fingers and yellow pointed nails were slightly gruesome. Apparently, yellow nails are a sign of illness.

      Please bring your Russian textbook to the first meeting. Curious about it and whether we can gain any more insights into what the characters are feeling based on which part of their intelocutor's name is mentioned.

    • Rae Longest

      I am listening (as a refresher) to an audio version. it is unabridged, however, so maybe I'm "getting it." Your comments on part one were spot-on, Diane.


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