Anna Karenina is a novel by the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, published in serial installments from 1873 to 1877 in the periodical The Russian Messenger. Widely regarded as a pinnacle in realist fiction, Tolstoy considered Anna Karenina his first true novel . The character of Anna was likely inspired, in part, by Maria Hartung , the elder daughter of the Russian poet Alexander Pushkin . Although Russian critics dismissed the novel on its publication as a "trifling romance of high life", Fyodor Dostoevsky declared it to be "flawless as a work of art". His opinion was shared by Vladimir Nabokov, who especially admired "the flawless magic of Tolstoy's style", and by William Faulkner, who described the novel as "the best ever written". The novel is divided into eight parts. Its epigraph is “Vengeance is mine, I will repay”. Tolstoy’s language has a chafing effect on readers coming to it for the first time; it takes time to synch with his rhythms. The novel begins with one of its most quoted lines:
Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
” Anna Karenina is the tragedy of married aristocrat and socialite Anna Karenina and her affair with the affluent Count Vronsky. The story starts when she arrives in the midst of a family broken up by her brother's unbridled womanizing – something that prefigures her own later situation, though with less tolerance for her by others.A bachelor, Vronsky is willing to marry her if she would agree to leave her husband Karenin, a government official, but she is vulnerable to the pressures of Russian social norms, her own insecurities and Karenin's indecision. Although Vronsky eventually takes Anna to Europe where they can be together, they have trouble in making friends. She is shunned, becoming further isolated and anxious. Despite Vronsky's reassurances she grows increasingly possessive and paranoid about his imagined infidelity, fears losing control and eventually...
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