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today 6/2/16 on aobibliosphere™ [aobibliospotlight™: A Boy Made of Blocks by Keith Stuart]

Saturday, July 14, 2012

read along: Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (Parts III & IV)

this is the second post for the read along of Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina which is hosted by Stephanie over at Five Alarm Book Reviews. for the first post click HERE.
advisory: spoiler alert!
general information: Anna Karenina by Leo Nikoleyevich Tolstoy; translated by Constance Garnett
source: Project Gutenberg/Manybooks.net/Amazon
coverage: Part III (chapters 1-32) and Part IV (chapters 1-23)
who's who: below are some of the book's major and minor characters who make their appearance in Parts III and/or IV:
  • Anna Arkadyevna Karenina - Stiva Oblonsky's sister, Alexei Karenin's wife and Vronsky's lover
  • Count Alexei Kirillovich Vronsky - Anna's lover
  • Prince Stepan "Stiva" Arkadyevich Oblonsky - Anna's brother
  • Princess Darya "Dolly" Alexandrovna Oblonskaya - Stiva's wife
  • Count Alexei Alexandrovich Karenin - Anna's husband who is twenty years her senior
  • Konstantin "Kostya" Dmitrievich Levin - Kitty's suitor and Stiva's friend
  • Sergei Ivanovitch Koznishev - Levin's half-brother
  • Nikolai Dmitrievich Levin - Kostya's elder brother and an alcoholic
  • Marya Philimonovna - Dolly's old nurse
  • Ivan Parmenov and wife - peasants
  • Stremov - one of the most influential people in Petersburg, Liza Merkalova's elderly admirer, Karenin's political enemy
  • Liza Merkalova - a guest at Betsy's croquet party who is fascinated with Anna
  • Prince Mishka Kaluzhsky, Sappho Shtoltz, Vaska, - other guests at Betsy's croquet party
  • Serpuhovskoy - Vronsky's friend and comrade
  • Nikolay Ivanovitch Sviazhsky - Levin's friend who lives in remote Surovsky district
  • Princess Ekaterina "Kitty" Alexandrovna Shcherbatskaya - Dolly's younger sister
  • Masha Tchibisova - a ballet dancer and Stiva's latest mistress
  • Varvara "Varya" Vronsky, nee Princess Chirkov - Vronsky’s sister-in-law, married to Alexander Kirillovich Vronsky 
  • Princess Elizaveta "Betsy" Fyodorovna Tverskaya - Anna's society friend and Vronsky's cousin
  • Sergei Ivanovitch Koznishev stays with Levin in Pokrovskoe
  • Levin joins the peasants in mowing grass around his property
  • Dolly and her children move to Ergushovo for the summer and Levin pays them a visit 
  • Karenin ponders on Anna's indiscretion and makes a decision
  • Anna contemplates on her situation now that Karenin is fully aware of her affair with Vronsky
  • Betsy Tverskaya hosts a croquet party where Anna meets Liza Merkalova
  • Vronsky mulls over his code of principles
  • Serpuhovskoy returns from Central Asia and has an interesting conversation with Vronsky at a fete
  • Vronsky and Anna meet at the Vrede Villa 
  • Anna returns to St. Petersburg and Karenin reminds her how she must conduct herself from now on
  • Levin's view of farming radically changes before, during and after his visit with the Sviazhskys
  • Levin's sickly brother Nikolai Dmitrievich shows up at the old homestead
  • Anna, despite Karenin's stern warning, summons Vronsky to her home and tells him that all will end soon
  • Karenin consults a celebrated Petersburg lawyer
  • Stiva hosts a dinner where Levin and Kitty are reunited
  • Anna falls ill and Vronsky has an accident
my thoughts:
Illustration from "Anna Karenina"
the drama continues to unfold and Part III is rife with decisive moments for Anna, Karenin, Vronsky and Levin. the situations in which they find themselves are closely dissected and courses of action are proposed. 
one of the things which impresses me in this section of the novel is the way the protagonists conduct their internal monlogue. Tolstoy's writing shines every time his characters are engaged in one. my level of interest is raised another notch as i gain more insight into their psyche. 
some information can either be disquieting or enlightening. there are times when i want to cheer for this character or another one but then i find myself changing my mind later on whenever a particular notion is presented or acted upon which i do not agree with. this exchange between Anna and Vronsky is one example: 
"But my child!" she shrieked. "You see what he writes! I should have to leave him, and I can't and won't do that."
"But, for God's sake, which is better?--leave your child, or keep up this degrading position?"
"To whom is it degrading?"
"To all, and most of all to you."
Part IV is where things move along and we find tense emotional situations, confrontations and nerve wracking dialogs. 
there are certain "dull" moments for me, however, when Tolstoy's characters launch into intellectual debates about Russia, her economy, etc. these exchanges do provide some break from the drama in which our main players are involved and some readers might find these conversations informative and even amusing. 
surprises are also in store. what takes place between Levin and Kitty during their reunion at Stiva's dinner party was quite swoon worthy. Tolstoy's romantic streak is displayed in these scenes which balances out what happened to Anna and Vronsky later as this part of the novel drew to a close.

please visit the rest of the participating blogs:
thanks for stopping by and i will see you again on July 21st for Parts V and VI. 

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