Lecture 1, AK - Tuesday October 29th 2013 LECTURE 10 MIDTERM LECTURE 1 ANNA KARENINA Introduction Tolstoys life We study Anna Karenina after The

Lecture 1, AK - Tuesday October 29th 2013 LECTURE 10...

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Tuesday, October 29th, 2013LECTURE10: MIDTERM.LECTURE1: ANNAKARENINA. Introduction & Tolstoy’s lifeWe study Anna Karenina after The Brothers Karamazov because nothing looks as good as Anna Karenina if we study it after. Tolstoy was himself one of his own great heroes. He was not regarded just as the greatest writer in the world, and not just in the Western world but the world, but not just arguably the greatest writer in the world, but he was almost as Gandhi, MLK, and Mother Theresa rolled into one as a moral teacher. Gandhi was a devoted follower of Tolstoy as a moral authority.Anna Karenina was not just a work of art, it is a piece of life. If nature itself could write directly, it would write like Tolstoy. There’s an eerie sense that he knows and understands human consciousness in a way that nobody else ever could. Tolstoy could read people’s thoughts, tell them what they were going to say before they even said it; this was described as Tolstoy’s ‘gaze’.Dostoyevsky likes to describe guilt, perversion, crime; but it’s almost as if Tolstoy can describe anything – despair, happiness, a war, a ball. There’s even a place in AK where he seems to describe consciousness in such a way that you don’t notice it because they are narrated from the point of view of the hero’s dog. Seamless consciousness. He seems to know what the mind is like, and what it really feels like to think, and not just in broad strokes; one of the techniques he uses is that between one thought and another, he knows that inbetween, there are several tiny steps that you don’t notice because they happen so quickly. He gives you the intermediate steps. He is able to portray supreme realism. He understands the interaction of mind and body in a way that nobody else ever has. Count Tolstoy knows that if you’re praying, you’re in a kneeling position, but if you’re in a kneeling position, you might as well be praying. It works in both ways – it’s reversible. The embodied mind.

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