Anna Karenina

by Graf Leo Tolstoy

Translated by Constance Garnett


Anna Karenina is a novel by the Russian author Leo Tolstoy, first published in book form in 1878. Widely considered to be one of the greatest works of literature ever written, Tolstoy himself called it his first true novel. It was initially released in serial installments from 1875 to 1877, all but the last part appearing in the periodical The Russian Messenger.
A complex novel in eight parts, with more than a dozen major characters, Anna Karenina is spread over more than 800 pages, typically contained in two volumes. It deals with themes of betrayal, faith, family, marriage, Imperial Russian society, desire, and rural vs. city life. The story centers on an extramarital affair between Anna and dashing cavalry officer Count Alexei Kirillovich Vronsky that scandalizes the social circles of Saint Petersburg and forces the young lovers to flee to Italy in a search for happiness, but after they return to Russia, their lives further unravel. 
Trains are a motif throughout the novel, with several major plot points taking place either on passenger trains or at stations in Saint Petersburg or elsewhere in Russia. The story takes place against the backdrop of the liberal reforms initiated by Emperor Alexander II of Russia and the rapid societal transformations that followed. The novel has been adapted into various media including theatre, opera, film, television, ballet, figure skating, and radio drama.  
Excerpted from Anna Karenina on Wikipedia.

person AuthorLeo Tolstoy
language CountryRussia
api GenreLove storiesPsychological fictionDidactic fictionRomances
copyright CopyrightPublic domain in the United States.
camera_alt Book coverPhoto: Alexander Krivitskiy|unsplash
book_online EbooksProject Gutenberg
description ScansGoogle-digitized
headphones AudioLibrivox | Internet Archive
auto_stories Read onlineANNA KARENINA

Book I
--Read by Kirsten Ferreri--
Prince Stepan Arkadyevich Oblonsky ("Stiva"), a Moscow aristocrat and civil servant, has been unfaithful to his wife, Princess Darya Alexandrovna ("Dolly"). Dolly has discovered his affair with the family's governess, and the household and family are in turmoil. Stiva informs the household that his married sister, Anna Arkadyevna Karenina, is coming to visit from Saint Petersburg in a bid to calm the situation...


Book II
--Reader: Collaborative--
The Shcherbatskys consult doctors over Kitty's health, which has been failing since Vronsky's rejection. A specialist advises that Kitty should go abroad to a health spa to recover. Dolly speaks to Kitty and understands she is suffering because of Vronsky and Kostya, whom she cares for and had hurt in vain. Kitty, humiliated by Vronsky and tormented by her rejection of Kostya, upsets her sister by referring to Stiva's infidelity, saying she could never love a man who betrayed her. Meanwhile, Stiva visits Kostya on his country estate while selling a nearby plot of land...


BooK III
--Reader: Collaborative--
Kostya continues working on his estate, a setting closely tied to his spiritual thoughts and struggles. He wrestles with the idea of falseness, wondering how he should go about ridding himself of it, and criticising what he feels is falseness in others. He develops ideas relating to agriculture, and the unique relationship between the agricultural labourer and his native land and culture. He comes to believe that the agricultural reforms of Europe will not work in Russia because of the unique culture and personality of the Russian peasant...


Book IV
--Read by MaryAnn--
When Anna and Vronsky continue seeing each other, Karenin consults with a lawyer about obtaining a divorce. During the time period, a divorce in Russia could only be requested by the innocent party in an affair and required either that the guilty party confessed or that the guilty party be discovered in the act of adultery. Karenin forces Anna to hand over some of Vronsky's love letters, which the lawyer deems insufficient as proof of the affair. Stiva and Dolly argue against Karenin's drive for a divorce...


Book V
--Read by Phil Griffiths--
Kostya and Kitty marry and start their new life on his country estate. Although the couple are happy, they undergo a bitter and stressful first three months of marriage. Kostya feels dissatisfied at the amount of time Kitty wants to spend with him and dwells on his inability to be as productive as he was as a bachelor. When the marriage starts to improve, Kostya learns that his brother, Nikolai, is dying of consumption. Kitty offers to accompany Kostya on his journey to see Nikolai and proves herself a great help in nursing Nikolai. Seeing his wife take charge of the situation in an infinitely more capable manner than he could have done himself without her, Kostya's love for Kitty grows. Kitty eventually learns that she is pregnant...


Book VI
--Reader: Collaborative--
Dolly, her children, and her mother, the Princess Scherbatskaya, spend the summer with Kostya and Kitty. The couple's life is simple and unaffected, although Kostya is uneasy at the "invasion" of so many Scherbatskys. He becomes extremely jealous when one of the visitors, Veslovsky, flirts openly with the pregnant Kitty. Kostya tries to overcome his jealousy, and briefly succeeds during a hunt with Veslovsky and Oblonsky, but eventually succumbs to his feelings and asks Veslovsky to leave. Veslovsky immediately goes to stay with Anna and Vronsky at their nearby estate...


Book VII
--Read by MaryAnn--
While visiting Moscow for Kitty's confinement, Kostya quickly gets used to the city's fast-paced, expensive and frivolous society life. He accompanies Stiva to a gentleman's club, where the two meet Vronsky. Kostya and Stiva pay a visit to Anna, who is occupying her empty days by being a patroness to an orphaned English girl. Kostya is initially uneasy about the visit, but Anna easily puts him under her spell. When he admits to Kitty that he has visited Anna, she accuses him of falling in love with her. The couple are later reconciled, realising that Moscow society life has had a negative, corrupting effect on Kostya...


Book VIII
--Read by MaryAnn--
Sergei Ivanovich's (Kostya's brother) latest book is ignored by readers and critics and he participates in the Russian commitment to Pan-Slavism. Stiva gets the post he desired so much, and Karenin takes custody of Vronsky and Anna's baby, Annie. A group of Russian volunteers, including the suicidal Vronsky, depart from Russia to fight in the Orthodox Bulgarian revolt that has broken out against the Turks, more broadly identified as the Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878)...