Lecture 9, AK - Tuesday November 26th 2013 LECTURE 9 ANNA...

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Tuesday, November 26 th , 2013 L ECTURE 9: A NNA K ARENINA . Part 7: childbirth scene when Levin’s son is born; Levin is surprised (makes a similar comment about this in Part 8) because his feelings for the newborn, his son, aren’t what he expected them to be (triumph, glory, joy) – instead, he feels something entirely different. Just the way that when he was married, he was happy but not at all the way he expected to be. Tolstoy constantly tries to teach you is that the more things look like a familiar story you have heard, the less likely they are to be true. The story makes things look too neat and reality is much less like a model or theory, and is much more messy. o When Levin looks at his son, he feels a combination of pity and disgust. This is exactly right because that is what love really feels like. This infant, who is so absolutely, totally helpless and doesn’t even know it’s alive, will take weeks before it can roll over, it is infinitely vulnerable, and you are all that stands besides it – suffering and death, the child would not even understand. If you really feel for it, the feeling of intense pity and disgust is what you will feel – that is what love really feels like. It feels like a new source of vulnerability. This is Tolstoy, the realist. Love does not feel like glory or triumph, but it is the new source of vulnerability that incites pity and disgust. Pg. 835-836 (Part 7): Anna is one of the great philosophical heroines of Russian literature. Anna wants all of life to be governed by one thing; any philosophy that suggests that the entire world must be governed by one thing will be wrong because life is a mess. Anna is a totalitarian of meaning – reality doesn’t fit this belief. The elemental force, the complexity of things, will not tolerate this belief. Anna’s totalism and romanticism makes her philosophy evolve into newer philosophies. o If you see the world in a certain light, you are closed to disconfirmation. Actual empirical data will not support your hypothesis; you do not want to admit the painful truth. The fact that you object shows that you are trying to undermine the true vision. All totalist philosophies work this way; they are closed to disconfirmation. Everything that he does, she will find a way to work against it – she will find grounds and reason to prove her objection. o If he has some other interest, that shows he does not love her; but if she gets angry at this, she feels a sense of terror that she will lose him, and so she strives to somehow make it up to him (we see this over and over again), and when she succeeds, she feels humiliated and interprets his warmth to her as having a shade of self-contempt, and then she wants to rebel against that, which starts the cycle all over again into a spiral downward.

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