Saturday, October 07, 2006

Anna Karenina goes blogospherical

Next obsession. There are 239 chapters in my edition of Anna Karenina. Here it is on Amazon. For at least sentimental reasons, I'm sticking with the David Magarshack translation.

You might consider "A favorite book" a short introduction to the power and relevance of this book. Let me just add a few bullet points about its significance. It's written in fulsome, astounding detail, with great realism. The main characters are a kind of cross-section of the Russian upper class of the time, and their relationships are complex. The plot has dizzying continuity (the book is 800 pages in paperback, or even 960 if you followed that link above). The meaning of life, death, marriage, and family are tackled in all their human squishiness. It also "provides a key to understanding the Russian revolution" in the early 20th century by exposing the inward rot of the aristocratic social system.

I'm going to read the whole thing and write about it here. If you want to follow along, buy the book. It's cheap and you can get it anywhere. At four chapters a day, five days a week, it'd take about three months to read it. I don't know what pace I'll be able to keep, but I plan to write something about every chunk of the story. Whether that means a close reading or a reflection spawned by a single line will just have to be up to me.

Feel free to contribute your own comments. Disagree with me, bring up something I don't talk about, write about a moment that touches you. It's a huge book, full of material for reflection. I hope you enjoy it as much as I undoubtedly will.

I'm going to label these posts "AK: ", so those who don't want to read about this great old book don't have to.

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