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Re: Anna Karenina - Tolstoy [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2947892 02/17/20 05:56 AM
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I realize that many of my comments are outside the scope of the novel. At this point, it all seems like the story will be predictably awful given the history of the patriarchy and its abuse of women. I don’t suppose Vronsky, Anna, and Anna’s husband will be setting up an extended family situation to care for the new baby. Imagine what “society”’ would say! Is it any wonder that people are trying to blow up these old societal constructs?


Last edited by LarryK; 02/17/20 05:59 AM.

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Re: Anna Karenina - Tolstoy [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2947898 02/17/20 06:26 AM
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To get a discussion going, let me pose a question. As we've read already, there is a lot of adultery going on by the married women in this novel. We see it happening in Anna's own social circle. What are the key differences about Anna's infidelity vs Betsy Tverskoy's that has made things worse?


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Re: Anna Karenina - Tolstoy [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2947930 02/17/20 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
To get a discussion going, let me pose a question. As we've read already, there is a lot of adultery going on by the married women in this novel. We see it happening in Anna's own social circle. What are the key differences about Anna's infidelity vs Betsy Tverskoy's that has made things worse?


There isn’t a lot said about Betsy’s infidelity. We’re led to believe that it is better hid from society, perhaps that Betsy does a better job of dissembling than Anna, or perhaps Betsy’s rank as a princess gives her a special privilege that allows her indiscretions to be overlooked.

Last edited by LarryK; 02/17/20 09:13 AM.

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Re: Anna Karenina - Tolstoy [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2947958 02/17/20 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
To get a discussion going, let me pose a question. As we've read already, there is a lot of adultery going on by the married women in this novel. We see it happening in Anna's own social circle. What are the key differences about Anna's infidelity vs Betsy Tverskoy's that has made things worse?


Anna’s in love. She never did love her old husband. Betsy is just playing around. It’s likely her husband is also unfaithful. This is the main theme that I see in the story so far: Tolstoy advocating the desistance of the practice of arranged marriage. I actually don’t know the “famous” ending. AK was not a topic of conversation at the country club. So I may be in for a surprise.

Reading through Tolstoy’s lengthy descriptions of events reminds me of why I like Hemingway.

Last edited by TomLC; 02/17/20 10:55 AM.

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Re: Anna Karenina - Tolstoy [Re: TomLC] #2947961 02/17/20 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by TomLC
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
To get a discussion going, let me pose a question. As we've read already, there is a lot of adultery going on by the married women in this novel. We see it happening in Anna's own social circle. What are the key differences about Anna's infidelity vs Betsy Tverskoy's that has made things worse?


Anna’s in love. She never did love her old husband. Betsy is just playing around. It’s likely her husband is also unfaithful. This is the main theme that I see in the story so far: Tolstoy advocating the desistance of the practice of arranged marriage. I actually don’t know the “famous” ending. So I may be in for a surprise.


I actually haven’t gotten to the part where we learn Anna’s marriage was arranged, but now I know. How do we know Betsy is not in love? We certainly don’t hear much about her affair. If Tolstoy has included both affairs, I guess the book would have been 1600 pages, lol.


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Re: Anna Karenina - Tolstoy [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2947963 02/17/20 10:57 AM
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One underlying fact is that men do not want to raise other men’s children. This reluctance is probably tied to deep biological urges and is a hard one to change, but it has changed in our society.

Kurt Vonnegut proposed that we all add a hyphen followed by a flower name after our last names so that we’d all have more relative we could ask for help. Hey, you’re a -Sunflower, and I’m a -Sunflower can you help me out?

Last edited by LarryK; 02/17/20 10:57 AM.

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Re: Anna Karenina - Tolstoy [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2947965 02/17/20 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by LarryK
...or perhaps Betsy’s rank as a princess gives her a special privilege that allows her indiscretions to be overlooked.

Oh, interesting side point. I assumed that Anna kept her formal standing after marriage, but apparently, she didn't! Is this how Russian nobility worked? That Anna lost her formal nobility and title when she married Karenin, a commoner?

Also, I've seen versions of AK (including the 2012 movie with Keira Knightley) where Alexei and Anna are Count and Countess. (However, P&V has people addressing Anna as 'Mme'.) Among the Russian nobility, Count and Countess were still ranked lower than Prince or the rank of Princess, which Anna was born as and which Betsy also is. Even in the case that Anna is a Countess, she would still seem to have been demoted from a Princess after marriage.

I wonder if Karenin is a commoner or a count? It seems like P&V would have gotten this right since they are a stickler for details, but then why do other sources use Count and Countess? I don't recall Karenin being elevated by the Tsar later in the book so I believe his formal status never changes in the novel. I wonder if the Karenins are commoners in the original Russian text or of the Count/Countess rank?


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Re: Anna Karenina - Tolstoy [Re: LarryK] #2947966 02/17/20 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by LarryK
Originally Posted by TomLC
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
To get a discussion going, let me pose a question. As we've read already, there is a lot of adultery going on by the married women in this novel. We see it happening in Anna's own social circle. What are the key differences about Anna's infidelity vs Betsy Tverskoy's that has made things worse?


Anna’s in love. She never did love her old husband. Betsy is just playing around. It’s likely her husband is also unfaithful. This is the main theme that I see in the story so far: Tolstoy advocating the desistance of the practice of arranged marriage. I actually don’t know the “famous” ending. So I may be in for a surprise.


I actually haven’t gotten to the part where we learn Anna’s marriage was arranged, but now I know. How do we know Betsy is not in love? We certainly don’t hear much about her affair. If Tolstoy has included both affairs, I guess the book would have been 1600 pages, lol.




Then I apologize. However, I think it was inferred in the very beginning.

Last edited by TomLC; 02/17/20 11:09 AM.

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Re: Anna Karenina - Tolstoy [Re: TomLC] #2947972 02/17/20 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by TomLC
However, I think it was inferred in the very beginning.

I actually had not expected this the first time I read AK, because Princess Shcherbatsky set the groundwork for unarranged marriages in this era of Russia, all the way back in Part I, Chapter XII, p. 44:
Quote
The old princess herself had married thirty years ago, with her aunt as matchmaker. The fiancé, of whom everything was known beforehand, came, saw the bride, and was seen himself; the matchmaking aunt found out and conveyed the impression made on both sides; the impression was good; then on the appointed day the expected proposal was made to her parents and accepted. Everything happened very easily and simply. At least it seemed so to the princess. But with her own daughters she had experienced how this seemingly ordinary thing-giving away her daughters in marriage-was neither easy nor simple. So many fears had been lived through, so many thoughts thought, so much money spent, so many confrontations with her husband when the older two, Darya and Natalya, were being married! Now, as the youngest one was brought out, she lived through the same fears, the same doubts, and had still greater quarrels with her husband than over the older ones. The old prince, like all fathers, was especially scrupulous about the honour and purity of his daughters; he was unreasonably jealous over them, and especially over Kitty, who was his favourite, and at every step made scenes with his wife for compromising their daughter. The princess had already grown used to it with the first two daughters, but now she felt that the prince’s scrupulousness had more grounds. She saw that much had changed lately in the ways of society, that the duties of a mother had become even more difficult. She saw that girls of Kitty’s age formed some sort of groups, attended some sort of courses, freely associated with men, drove around by themselves, many no longer curtsied, and, worse still, they were all firmly convinced that choosing a husband was their own and not their parents’ business. ‘Nowadays girls are not given in marriage as they used to be,’ all these young girls, and even all the old people, thought and said. But how a girl was to be given in marriage nowadays the princess could not find out from anyone. The French custom-for the parents to decide the children’s fate-was not accepted, and was even condemned. The English custom-giving the girl complete freedom-was also not accepted and was impossible in Russian society. The Russian custom of matchmaking was regarded as something outrageous and was laughed at by everyone, the princess included. But how a girl was to get married or be given in marriage, no one knew. Everyone with whom the princess happened to discuss it told her one and the same thing: ‘Good gracious, in our day it’s time to abandon this antiquity. It’s young people who get married, not their parents; that means the young people should be left to arrange it as they can.’ It was fine for those who had no daughters to talk that way; but the princess understood that in making friends her daughter might fall in love, and fall in love with someone who would not want to marry or who was not right as a husband. And however much the princess was assured that in our time young people themselves must settle their fate, she was unable to believe it, as she would have been unable to believe that in anyone’s time the best toys for five-year-old children would be loaded pistols. And therefore the princess worried more about Kitty than she had about her older daughters.

It's ironic the marriage of the Karenins was in exactly the way that was already considered passé at that time. (BTW, Anna also probably didn't marry more than 9-10 years before the start of AK as her son Seryozha is only 8yo at the start of AK.)


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Re: Anna Karenina - Tolstoy [Re: TomLC] #2947977 02/17/20 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by TomLC
Originally Posted by LarryK
Originally Posted by TomLC
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
To get a discussion going, let me pose a question. As we've read already, there is a lot of adultery going on by the married women in this novel. We see it happening in Anna's own social circle. What are the key differences about Anna's infidelity vs Betsy Tverskoy's that has made things worse?


Anna’s in love. She never did love her old husband. Betsy is just playing around. It’s likely her husband is also unfaithful. This is the main theme that I see in the story so far: Tolstoy advocating the desistance of the practice of arranged marriage. I actually don’t know the “famous” ending. So I may be in for a surprise.


I actually haven’t gotten to the part where we learn Anna’s marriage was arranged, but now I know. How do we know Betsy is not in love? We certainly don’t hear much about her affair. If Tolstoy has included both affairs, I guess the book would have been 1600 pages, lol.




Then I apologize. However, I think it was inferred in the very beginning.


I think you’re right, it’s just that I assumed all marriages are not arranged but I guess since Anna’s marriage was an older one, then it was arranged.

We’re going to need some help on the royalty questions, I honestly have no idea.

I’m jealous of you for not knowing the famous ending. Don’t mention to anyone that you’re reading the book, they’ll ruin it for you in ten seconds.

As an aside, I can’t see how any twenty-something would have the patience to read this novel. They Google everything and know the plot before they’ve read a single page. We have a twenty-something friend who we have over for movie night and I can’t tell her the movie title because she immediately looks it up. Up until the moment I hit the play button, I have to be careful, and tell her to put down the phone or she will ruin the surprise.

Last edited by LarryK; 02/17/20 11:31 AM.

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Re: Anna Karenina - Tolstoy [Re: TomLC] #2947997 02/17/20 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by TomLC
Reading through Tolstoy’s lengthy descriptions of events reminds me of why I like Hemingway.


Quote of the day laugh


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Re: Anna Karenina - Tolstoy [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2948007 02/17/20 12:40 PM
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I wanted to talk about that scene in Chapter 11 where Vronsky and Anna finally, after a whole year, have sex. Vronsky seriously had the patience of a saint there (and that year beforehand!). All that build up and then she rains on his parade with all that self-loathing afterwards.

Don't get me wrong, I understand why she had the guilt. It brings back some personal memories of me in a similar situation. No amount of reassurance could quell the loss of what was now gone (the chase) and the realization that I had just made myself truly vulnerable. Today, it seems women don't care about that as much. They just move on to the next guy. It seriously seems empty to me, but maybe it's better to view it that way so there's less of a chance of hurt feelings. On the other hand, maybe it just drives those feelings deeper so no one sees them.

What if Anna had been like that? I mean, would her and Vronsky have been happier? And/or would their love have been cheapened by it?

Your thoughts?

Re: Anna Karenina - Tolstoy [Re: jotur] #2948012 02/17/20 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by jotur
Originally Posted by TomLC
Reading through Tolstoy’s lengthy descriptions of events reminds me of why I like Hemingway.


Quote of the day laugh


smile. Is "The Count of MC" much of the same? Maybe we could reread "The Sun also Rises" instead. smile


At least 30 years ago I read Thomas Wolfe's "The Bonfires of the Vanities". I still have the hardcover. I mean to read it again. But on the Kindle.


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Re: Anna Karenina - Tolstoy [Re: TomLC] #2948017 02/17/20 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by TomLC
Originally Posted by jotur
Originally Posted by TomLC
Reading through Tolstoy’s lengthy descriptions of events reminds me of why I like Hemingway.


Quote of the day laugh


smile. Is "The Count of MC" much of the same? Maybe we could reread "The Sun also Rises" instead. smile


At least 30 years ago I read Thomas Wolfe's "The Bonfires of the Vanities". I still have the hardcover. I mean to read it again. But on the Kindle.


Reading on the Kindle is awesome. The dictionary, translation, and Wikipedia features make it a great way to read a complicated novel. I got though most of Thomas Pynchon's novels on the Kindle. I know I would not have been able to read them in paper form.

I like Nabokov and find that Pnin is one of my favorite novels, although it evolved from a collection of short stories. I have been told the The Gift is Nabokov's masterpiece and is seen as his farewell to the world.

I've been signed up for a Russian book club and will be reading Gogol's Dead Souls over the next month. Please, no spoilers!

Last edited by LarryK; 02/17/20 12:54 PM.

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Re: Anna Karenina - Tolstoy [Re: DutchTea] #2948025 02/17/20 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by DutchTea
I wanted to talk about that scene in Chapter 11 where Vronsky and Anna finally, after a whole year, have sex. Vronsky seriously had the patience of a saint there (and that year beforehand!). All that build up and then she rains on his parade with all that self-loathing afterwards.

Don't get me wrong, I understand why she had the guilt. It brings back some personal memories of me in a similar situation. No amount of reassurance could quell the loss of what was now gone (the chase) and the realization that I had just made myself truly vulnerable. Today, it seems women don't care about that as much. They just move on to the next guy. It seriously seems empty to me, but maybe it's better to view it that way so there's less of a chance of hurt feelings. On the other hand, maybe it just drives those feelings deeper so no one sees them.

What if Anna had been like that? I mean, would her and Vronsky have been happier? And/or would their love have been cheapened by it?

Your thoughts?


It does seem that, these days, men and women move on from one partner to the next without becoming deeply involved or caring at all. A friend of mine, a woman, said that we have moved the fig leaf from down below and used it to cover our faces. We know about sex but we don't get to know about each other as human beings.

Steven Isserlis, the cellist, posted a quote on Twitter from the actor John Barrymore: "Sex: the thing that takes up the least amount of time and causes the most amount of trouble."

Last edited by LarryK; 02/17/20 01:08 PM.

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Re: Anna Karenina - Tolstoy [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2948027 02/17/20 01:12 PM
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I haven't read either of them. I just got a sample of Pnin. Looks like a good change of pace from AK and W&P.

Last edited by TomLC; 02/17/20 01:13 PM. Reason: Auto correct is a Pain sometimes.

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Re: Anna Karenina - Tolstoy [Re: TomLC] #2948030 02/17/20 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by TomLC
I haven't read either of them. I just got a sample of Pain. Looks like a good change of pace from AK and W&P.


Haha, that must be an autocorrect problem with Pnin, which, by the way, was chosen by Nabokov because it is basically unpronounceable.

It's a great novel, I'll leave it for you to discover why.

Last edited by LarryK; 02/17/20 01:14 PM.

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Re: Anna Karenina - Tolstoy [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2948054 02/17/20 01:59 PM
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Glad this thread is going strong!!! I haven't had a chance to keep up lately but will look forward to returning soon.

:cheers:


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Re: Anna Karenina - Tolstoy [Re: jotur] #2948179 02/17/20 06:04 PM
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Originally Posted by jotur
Originally Posted by TomLC
Reading through Tolstoy’s lengthy descriptions of events reminds me of why I like Hemingway.
Quote of the day laugh

Has anyone else read Marcel Proust's 4,200+ page novel, In Search of Lost Time? It is my favorite novel of all and I've read it several times from front to back.

Nothing Tolstoy, Wolfe, Dumas, or Pinchon have ever written can ever surpass Proust's in the long description department.

There is a sentence in Volume Four, Sodom and Gomorrah, which is 958 words long!

This is a very specific literary device he is using and its use is intentional. He will juxtapose super long sentences and descriptions against short sentences of even only 2 words, for effect, like have a note with a tenuto next to a staccato!


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Re: Anna Karenina - Tolstoy [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2948183 02/17/20 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by jotur
Originally Posted by TomLC
Reading through Tolstoy’s lengthy descriptions of events reminds me of why I like Hemingway.
Quote of the day laugh

Has anyone else read Marcel Proust's 4,200+ page novel, In Search of Lost Time? It is my favorite novel of all and I've read it several times from front to back.

Nothing Tolstoy, Wolfe, Dumas, or Pinchon have ever written can ever surpass Proust's in the long description department.

There is a sentence in Volume Four, Sodom and Gomorrah, which is 958 words long!

This is a very specific literary device he is using and its use is intentional. He will juxtapose super long sentences and descriptions against short sentences of even only 2 words, for effect, like have a note with a tenuto next to a staccato!


I’ll leave Proust to the French. Dickens. I want to read all of Dickens before I die. English was my first love, and remains my strongest love. Bleak House is an amazing novel and told me all I needed to know about the legal system, and he wrote so many others.

Last edited by LarryK; 02/17/20 06:24 PM.

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