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File: Anna Karenina
Anna Karenina (sometimes anglicised as Anna Karenin) is a novel by the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, published in serial installments from 1873 to 1877 in the periodical The Russian Messenger.
Tolstoy clashed with its editor Mikhail Katkov over political issues that arose in the final installment (Tolstoy's unpopular views of volunteers going to Serbia); therefore, the novel's first complete appearance was in book form.
Widely regarded as a pinnacle in realist fiction, Tolstoy considered Anna Karenina his first true novel, when he came to consider War and Peace to be more than a novel.
Although Russian critics dismissed the novel on its publication as a "trifling romance of high life", Fyodor Dostoevsky declared it to be "flawless as a work of art". His opinion was shared by Vladimir Nabokov, who especially admired "the flawless magic of Tolstoy's style", and by William Faulkner, who described the novel as "the best ever written". The novel is currently enjoying popularity, as demonstrated by a recent poll of 125 contemporary authors by J. Peder Zane, published in 2007 in "The Top Ten" in Time, which declared that Anna Karenina is the "greatest novel ever written".
Anna Karenina is the tragedy of married aristocrat and socialite Anna Karenina and her affair with the affluent Count Vronsky. The story starts when she arrives in the midst of a family broken up by her brother's unbridled womanizing—something that prefigures her own later situation, though with less tolerance for her by others.
A bachelor, Vronsky is willing to marry her if she would agree to leave her husband Karenin, a government official, but she is vulnerable to the pressures of Russian social norms, her own insecurities and Karenin's indecision. Although Vronsky eventually takes Anna to Europe where they can be together, they have trouble making friends. Back in Russia, she is shunned, becoming further isolated and anxious, while Vronsky pursues his social life. Despite Vronsky's reassurances she grows increasingly possessive and paranoid about his imagined infidelity, fears losing control.
A parallel story within the novel is of Levin, a country landowner who desires to marry Kitty, sister to Dolly and sister-in-law to Anna's brother Oblonsky. Levin has to propose twice before Kitty accepts. The novel details Levin's difficulties managing his estate, his eventual marriage, and personal issues, until the birth of Levin's first child.