"Anna Karenina" in Our Time Seeing More Wisely

ISBN-10: 0300100701

ISBN-13: 9780300100709

Edition: 2007

Authors: Gary Saul Morson

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In this invigorating new assessment of "Anna Karenina," Gary Saul Morson overturns traditional interpretations of the classic novel and shows why readers have misunderstood Tolstoy's characters and intentions. Morson argues that Tolstoy's ideas are far more radical than has been thought: his masterpiece challenges deeply held conceptions of romantic love, the process of social reform, modernization, and the nature of good and evil. By investigating the ethical, philosophical, and social issues with which Tolstoy grappled, Morson finds in "Anna Karenina" powerful connections with the concerns of today. He proposes that Tolstoy's effort to see the world more wisely can deeply inform our own search for wisdom in the present day. The book offers brilliant analyses of Anna, Karenin, Dolly, Levin, and other characters, with a particularly subtle portrait of Anna's extremism and self-deception. Morson probes Tolstoy's important insights (evil is often the result of negligence; goodness derives from small, everyday deeds) and completes the volume with an irresistible, original list of One Hundred and Sixty-Three Tolstoyan Conclusions.
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Book details

List price: $40.00
Copyright year: 2007
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication date: 12/5/2007
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 278
Size: 6.50" wide x 9.75" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 1.452
Language: English

List of References and Abbreviations
Tolstoy and the Twenty-first Century
Tolstoy today
Theoretical and practical knowledge
Astronomy and Utopia
God substitutes
Contingency and presentness
Decisions in a world of uncertainty
Complexity and impurity
Tolstoy and the realist novel of ideas
The prosaic novel
Fallacies of perception and plot
Dolly and Stiva: Prosaic Good and Evil
Two bad lives
Overcoming the bias of the artifact
Retraining perception
The third story
The prosaic hero
Dolly's quandary
Arriving at a question (Part Six, chapter 16)
Looking is an action
Stiva and the Russian idea of evil
Negligence and negative events
The forgettory
Fatalism and blame
He had never clearly thought out the subject
Introduction to a Contrary Reading
Anna and the Kinds of Love
Murder an infant (a Tolstoyan meditation)
Marrying Romeo
Love and work
Why they quarrel
Broderie anglaise
Eroticism and dialogue
The prosaic sublime
Kitty's mistake
The word love
The second proposal and how it works
Tiny alterations
Anna and the Drama of Looking
Honesty, continued
Fake simplicity
What touches Dolly the most
Narrating from within
Some strategic absences
Aleksey Aleksandrovich plans a conversation
Lying without speaking
Their past marriage
The Pallisers at breakfast
The shortest chapter
Vronsky's attempted suicide
Vronsky's loathing
Vronsky tries to talk
Responsibility at a remove
Races and circuses
What Anna sees and what Tolstoy says
Watching watching watching
A false confession
For the first time
I tried to hate
The only character who saves a life
Divorce and the children
Why Anna refuses a divorce
Anna's Suicide and the Totalism of Meaning
Nothing but love
Dehumanizing Anna
Impurity and inconsistency
The temptation to allegory
Frou-Frou's suicide?
The dynamics of quarrels
Why the epigraph is troubling
Two interpretations of the epigraph, and an unexpected third one
Totalism and isolation
Contrary evidence?
Anna the philosopher
The madness of reason and the choice of fatalism
The red bag
The epigraph's fourth meaning
Why Reforms Succeed or Fail
The significance of Russian history
Toryism and Whiggism
St. Petersburg
Duty and culture
A strange sort of duty
Levin's book
What Is Agriculture?
The root cause
The elemental force
Why the elemental force cannot be resisted
Why minds wander
Learning to mow
Reform by template
How reforms can take
When asymmetry works
Discounting history
Untangling the labyrinth of possibilities
Destructive conservatism
War and Peace vs. Anna Karenina
Levin's Idea, Its Corollaries and Analogues: Self-improvement, Christian Love, Counterfeit Art, and Authentic Thinking
Extending Levin's idea
Three ways not to answer
Kitty and self-improvement
The fake way to avoid being fake
Karenin and Christian love
The sound of listening
The terror of pity
The accompanying message
The stages of comprehension
Wishing her dead
Eavesdropping on vindication
He did not think
Christian love and the elemental force
No escape
Christian love and prosaic goodness
Counterfeit art. What is interesting?
Counterfeit thinking and Sergey Ivanovich's beliefs
How Stiva's opinions change
Svyazhsky and magic words
One's own thought
Meaning and Ethics
The Svyazhsky enigma
An unbeliever's prayer
Two problems
Why there are many problems
The Svyazhsky enigma in its sharpest form
The sole solution to all the riddles of life and death is untrue
What is "incontestably necessary"
Levin's casuistry
The moral wisdom of the realist novel
The wisdom of behavior
Wisdom does not come from the peasant
Given without proof
Miracle and narrative
Why vision is not singular
Dostoevsky answers Tolstoy
The first Tolstoyan reply: Moral distance
The second Tolstoyan reply and three maxims about social judgments
The third Tolstoyan reply: Theoretical illustrations vs. novelistic cases
The fourth Tolstoyan reply: Galileo and Dolly
The fifth Tolstoyan reply: Presence
A still more senseless prayer and a new mistaken question
The meaning of meaningfulness
One Hundred Sixty-Three Tolstoyan Conclusions
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