Russian Lit notes - Anna Karenina

Russian Lit notes - Anna Karenina - Anna Karenina Made up...

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Anna Karenina Made up of three stories 1. Story of Anna, her husband, and Vronsky (40%) 2. Story of Levin and his love Kitty (40%) 3. Story of Stiva (Oblonsky) and Dolly (20%) Was going to call the book Two Families but switched. Why? Epigraph: “Vengeance is mine. I will repay.” What does it mean? First sentence: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Stands out as a different kind of sentence Doesn’t belong in realist novels, belongs in novels where people have access to absolute truth, like the bible. You would realize that it was the sentence of the narrator and you wouldn’t be able to take it seriously because language like that is biblical, not realistic. Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice starts with a statement that it’s an accepted universal truth that all wealthy men must want a wife, but she is stating the view of the times and the surrounding people who believe that such a thing must be a universal truth, and thereby proves it wrong. Tolstoy states it as an absolute truth. He gets away with using a sentence like this in a novel of realistic prose. The attitude is that every position is someone’s position, and even the narrator has opinions and believes such a thing because he is human. Novels are skeptical. Tolstoy’s novelistic prose represents his views as well, but occasionally he shows that he’s not just a novelistic narrator and is sometimes “superhuman.” Old curse: “May you live in interesting times.” Interesting = tragic. An interesting life is able to be narrated insofar as it is badly lived, but a life well-lived has no story behind it. The more narratable a life is, the more story potential it has, the worse it is. A good life is one where there isn’t much to say about it from the outside. It doesn’t lead to a good story. If you decide to live your life so it makes a good story, you’re going to live tragically. It’s filled with events that don’t make life good. Drama makes it interesting. Happy families are all alike because there’s not much to say about them. Unhappy families each have a different story. Brilliance of Tolstoy is that he can make even happiness and ordinary life interesting Part 1 – The story starts Ch. 1 “Everything was in confusion in the Oblonsky household. ..; the servant’s cook and the coachmen had given notice. Three days after the quarrel. .. woke up at his usual hour,…” o Why is he called Stiva? All the rage was Anglofelia, English things were in fashion so you want to be more English and therefore take on English names. Stepan = Stephen, and nickname of Stephen is Steve, but it becomes Stiva as a Russian form of the English nickname. o
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This note was uploaded on 02/20/2012 for the course SLAVIC 210-2 taught by Professor Morson during the Fall '10 term at Northwestern.

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Russian Lit notes - Anna Karenina - Anna Karenina Made up...

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