Anna Karenina

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Genres: Best books ever listing
Language: English
Type: Digital

Anna Karenina, first published in book form in 1878, is a novel by the Russian author Leo Tolstoy. 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.

Plot Summary

The novel centers on an extramarital affair between Anna Karenina, a married socialite, and 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.


Anna Karenina deals with themes of betrayal, faith, family, marriage, Imperial Russian society, desire, and the differences between rural and urban life.


The novel consists of more than the story of Anna Karenina, a married socialite, and her affair with the affluent Count Vronsky, though their relationship is a very strong component of the plot. The story starts when she arrives in the midst of her brother's family being broken up by his unbridled womanizing—something that prefigures her own later situation. A bachelor, Vronsky is eager to marry Anna if she will agree to leave her husband Karenin, a senior government official.


Anna Karenina was a groundbreaking novel in its time. It was one of the first novels to openly discuss controversial issues such as women's rights and marital infidelity. The novel was met with mixed reactions when it was first performed, but it has since become one of the most celebrated works of modern drama.

The play's most famous quote is:

"A woman cannot be herself in the eyes of another person unless she is at home to herself."

This quote encapsulates the play's central theme of self-discovery. Nora's journey to find her true self is a powerful and moving story that continues to resonate with audiences today.

Anna Karenina is considered one of the greatest works of literature ever written. It has been translated into numerous languages and adapted into films, television series, and operas. The novel continues to be studied and discussed by scholars and readers alike.


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