Anna Karenina is the Abbey Road of literature. Critics may argue about its relative importance (is it the greatest novel of all time, or merely one of the top ten), but none (besides mean Mr. Mustard Seed, of course) dispute that, with respect to its elegant prose style, its seamless narrative architecture, and its deeply human characters, Tolstoy's masterpiece is a wonder. Fortunately for readers, it's also one of the most engrossing, and moving, reading experiences ever written. Take that, Ulysses.
Recommended by Martin, Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
The must-have Pevear and Volokhonsky translation of one of the greatest Russian novels ever written
Described by William Faulkner as the best novel ever written and by Fyodor Dostoevsky as flawless,” Anna Karenina tells of the doomed love affair between the sensuous and rebellious Anna and the dashing officer, Count Vronsky. Tragedy unfolds as Anna rejects her passionless marriage and thereby exposes herself to the hypocrisies of society. Set against a vast and richly textured canvas of nineteenth-century Russia, the novel's seven major characters create a dynamic imbalance, playing out the contrasts of city and country life and all the variations on love and family happiness.
While previous versions have softened the robust and sometimes shocking qualities of Tolstoy's writing, Pevear and Volokhonsky have produced a translation true to his powerful voice. This authoritative edition, which received the PEN Translation Prize and was an Oprah Book Club™ selection, also includes an illuminating introduction and explanatory notes. Beautiful, vigorous, and eminently readable, this Anna Karenina will be the definitive text for fans of the film and generations to come. This Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition also features French flaps and deckle-edged paper.
For more than sixty-five years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
"The first English translation in 40 years, [this] Anna Karenina is the most scrupulous, illuminating and compelling version yet." Portland Oregonian
"One of the greatest love stories in world literature." Vladimir Nabokov
"Pevear and Volokhonsky...have produced the first new translation of Leo Tolstoy's classic Anna Karenina in 40 years. The result should make the book accessible to a new generation of readers....[S]ucceeds in bringing Tolstoy's masterpiece to life once again." Library Journal
tells of the doomed love affair between the sensuous and rebellious Anna and the dashing officer, Count Vronsky. Tragedy unfolds as Anna rejects her passionless marriage and must endure the hypocrisies of society. Set against a vast and richly textured canvas of nineteenth-century Russia, the novel's seven major characters create a dynamic imbalance, playing out the contrasts of city and country life and all the variations on love and family happiness.
While previous versions have softened the robust, and sometimes shocking, quality of Tolstoy's writing, Pevear and Volokhonsky have produced a translation true to his powerful voice. This award-winning team's authoritative edition also includes an illuminating introduction and explanatory notes. Beautiful, vigorous, and eminently readable, this Anna Karenina will be the definitive text for generations to come.
Beautiful, vigorous, and eminently readable, this is the new English-language translation of one of the world's literary masterpieces.
About the Author
Count Leo Tolstoy
was born on September 9, 1828, in Yasnaya Polyana, Russia. Orphaned at nine, he was brought up by an elderly aunt and educated by French tutors until he matriculated at Kazan University in 1844. In 1847, he gave up his studies and, after several aimless years, volunteered for military duty in the army, serving as a junior officer in the Crimean War before retiring in 1857. In 1862, Tolstoy married Sophie Behrs, a marriage that was to become, for him, bitterly unhappy. His diary, started in 1847 served as the source from which he drew much of the material that appeared not only in his great novels War and Peace
(1869) and Anna Karenina
(1877), but also in his shorter works. Seeking religious justification for his life, Tolstoy evolved a new Christianity based upon his own interpretation of the Gospels. Yasnaya Polyana, his longtime home, became a mecca for his many converts. At the age of eighty-two, while away from home, the writer suffered a break down in his health in Astapovo, Riazan, and he died there on November 20, 1910.
Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky have produced acclaimed translations of Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Gogol, and Bulgakov. They have been awarded the PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize for both Anna Karenina and The Brothers Karamazov. They are married and live in Paris, France.
John Bayley is a British novelist and literary critic. He has written studies of Tolstoy and Pushkin, among others. His memoir of his marriage to Iris Murdoch, Elegy for Iris: A Memoir, formed the basis of the 2001 film Iris.
Coralie Bickford-Smith is an award-winning designer at Penguin Books (U.K.), where she has created several highly acclaimed series designs. She studied typography at Reading University and lives in London.
Review A Day
"[W]hat makes this a classic that will always endure is the fully-realized characters. During and after a conversation we see how one person mentally interprets another's actions, and then later we see what the other person was actually thinking, and how they interpreted (and often misinterpreted) the first person's actions. While some characters may sometimes behave in scandalous ways or do the wrong things, there are no "bad" people here; just people, complex and contradictory. This is full-immersion literature, and I'm glad I made the plunge. Good literature offers a reflection of ourselves, and Anna Karenina
is an ornate but limpid mirror that shows us in all our paradoxical intricacy." Doug Brown, Powells.com
(Read the entire Powells.com review