By Gary Saul Morson
In this invigorating new evaluation 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 notion: 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 reveals in Anna Karenina robust connections with the worries of this present day. He proposes that Tolstoy’s attempt to determine the area extra properly can deeply tell our personal look for knowledge within the current day.
The publication deals exceptional analyses of Anna, Karenin, Dolly, Levin, and different characters, with a very refined portrait of Anna’s extremism and self-deception. Morson probes Tolstoy’s vital insights (evil is frequently the results of negligence; goodness derives from small, daily deeds) and completes the quantity with an impossible to resist, unique checklist of 1 Hundred and Sixty-Three Tolstoyan Conclusions.
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Extra info for Anna Karenina in our time
We find moments of lyric ecstasy and tragic despair. The sensation of a young woman at her first ball, of a man lying in wait at a wolf hunt, or of guests at a wedding compete with descriptions of peasant life and the thrill of intellectual discussion. No one, except perhaps Dostoevsky, has ever made ideas so palpable. Still more remarkable, Tolstoy could make ordinary people and everyday life 9 10 Tolstoy and the Twenty-first Century interesting. Not just the heroic Prince Andrei, but also Nikolai Rostov, whom the author accurately describes as "mediocre," compels attention.
Perhaps the determinism of simple laws appeals because it makes us, as the end of the evolutionary process, inevitable. Gould recognized Tolstoy as the great proponent of contingency. God Substitutes As Aristotle defined the term, a contingent event is one that can either be or not be—one that, as we would say today, might just as well not have happened. Nothing in the nature of things insures its occurrence. If such events exist, then the possibility of certain prediction goes by the board. But the nascent social sciences assumed that certain prediction must be attainable: that could be known a priori.
Here, as in all other instances where someone disagrees with her, Dolly is right, although she cannot provide general arguments for her position. 16 Tolstoy and the Twenty-first Century When his brother Nikolai is dying, Levin finds that for all his reading of the great philosophers, he can only gape in horror at his brothers condition and the terrible mystery of death. He makes the situation worse. But Kitty and the servant Agafya Mikhailovna constantly observe Nikolai, note his needs, and listen to his voice, so that even when he groans something unintelligible, they understand and know how to make him more comfortable.