Posts Tagged ‘ Anna Karenina ’

Leo Tolstoy. Anna Karenina. Bottomless Deep.

Alexei Alexandrovich was not a jealous man. Jealousy, in his opinion, was insulting to a wife, and a man ought to have trust in his wife. Why he ought to have trust – that is, complete assurance that his young wife would always love him – he never asked himself; but he felt no distrust, because he had trust and told himself that he had to have it. But now, though his conviction that jealousy was a shameful feeling and that one ought to have trust was not destroyed, he felt that he stood face to face with something illogical and senseless, and he did not know what to do. Alexei Alexandrovich stood face to face with life, confronting the possibility of his wife loving someone else besides him, and it was this that seemed so senseless and incomprehensible to him, because it was life itself. All his life Alexei Alexandrovich had lived and worked in spheres of service that dealt with reflections of life. And each time he had encountered life itself, he had drawn back from it. Now he experienced a feeling similar to what a man would feel who was calmly walking across a bridge over an abyss and suddenly saw that the bridge had been taken down and below him was the bottomless deep. This bottomless deep was life itself, the bridge the artificial life that Alexei Alexandrovich had lived. For the first time questions came to him about the possibility of his wife falling in love with someone, and he was horrified at them.

Leo Tolstoy. Anna Karenina. Warm, very warm, hot!

The hero of the novel was already beginning to achieve his English happiness, a baronetcy and an estate, and Anna wished to go with him to this estate, when suddenly she felt that he must be ashamed and that she was ashamed of the same thing. But what was she ashamed of? ‘What am I ashamed of?’ she asked herself in offended astonishment. She put down the book and leaned back in the seat, clutching the paper-knife tightly in both hands. There was nothing shameful. She went through all her Moscow memories. They were all good, pleasant. She remembered the ball, remembered Vronsky and his enamoured, obedient face, remembered all her relations with him: nothing was shameful. But just there, at that very place in her memories, the feeling of shame became more intense, as if precisely then, when she remembered Vronsky, some inner voice were telling her: ‘Warm, very warm, hot!’  ‘Well, what then?’ she said resolutely to herself, shifting her position in her seat. ‘What does it mean? Am I afraid to look at it directly? Well, what of it? Can it be that there exist or ever could exist any other relations between me and this boy-officer than those that exist with any acquaintance?’ She smiled scornfully and again picked up the book, but now was decidedly unable to understand what she was reading. She passed the paper-knife over the glass, then put its smooth and cold surface to her cheek and nearly laughed aloud from the joy that suddenly came over her for no reason. She felt her nerves tighten more and more, like strings on winding pegs. She felt her eyes open wider and wider, her fingers and toes move nervously; something inside her stopped her breath, and all images and sounds in that wavering semi-darkness impressed themselves on her with extraordinary vividness. She kept having moments of doubts whether the carriage was moving forwards or backwards, or standing still. Was that Anushka beside her, or some stranger? ‘What is that on the armrest – a fur coat or some animal? and what am I? Myself or someone else?’ It was frightening to surrender herself to this oblivion. But something was drawing her in, and she was able, at will, to surrender to it or hold back from it. She stood up in order to come to her senses, threw the rug aside, and removed the pelerine from her warm dress. For a moment she recovered and realized that the skinny muzhik coming in, wearing a long nankeen coat with a missing button, was a stoker, that he was looking at the thermometer, that the wind and snow had burst in with him through the doorway; but then everything became confused again . . . This muzhik with the long waist began to gnaw at something on the wall; the old woman began to stretch her legs out the whole length of the carriage and filled it with a black cloud; then something screeched and banged terribly, as if someone was being torn to pieces; then a red fire blinded her eyes, and then everything was hidden by a wall. Anna felt as if she was falling through the floor. But all this was not frightening but exhilarating. The voice of a bundled-up and snow-covered man shouted something into her ear. She stood up and came to her senses, realizing that they had arrived at a station and the man was the conductor. She asked Annushka to hand her the pelerine and a shawl, put them on and went to the door.

‘Are you going out?’ asked Annushka.

‘Yes, I need a breath of air. It’s very hot in here.’

And she opened the door. Blizzard and wind came tearing to meet her and vied with her for the door. This, too, she found exhilarating. She opened the door and went out. The wind, as if only waiting for her, whistled joyfully and wanted to pick her up and carry her off, but she grasped the cold post firmly, and, holding her dress down, stepped on to the platform and into the lee of the carriage. The wind was strong on the steps, but on the platform beside the train it was quiet. With pleasure she drew in deep breaths of snowy, frosty air and, standing by the carriage, looked around the platform and the lit-up station.

Leo Tolstoy. Anna Karenina. Most Definite And Firm Opinions

Anna smiled, as one smiles at the weaknesses of the people one loves, and, putting her arm under his, accompanied him to the door of the study. She knew his habit, which had become a necessity, of reading in the evenings. She knew that in spite of the responsibilities of service which consumed almost all his time, he considered it his duty to follow everything remarkable that appeared in books on politics, philosophy, theology, that art was completely foreign to his nature, but that, in spite of that, or rather because of it, Alexei Alexandrovich did not miss anything that caused a stir in that area, and considered it his duty to read everything. She knew that in the areas of politics, philosophy and theology, Alexei Alexandrovich doubted or searched; but in questions of art and poetry, and especially music, of which he lacked all understanding, he had the most definite and firm opinions. He liked to talk about Shakespeare, Raphael, Beethoven, about the significance of the new schools in poetry and music, which with him were all sorted out in a very clear order.

‘Well, God bless you,’ she said at the door of the study, where a shaded candle and a carafe of water had already been prepared for him beside the armchair. ‘And I’ll write to Moscow.’

He pressed her hand and again kissed it.

Leo Tolstoy. Anna Karenina. Blue Mist.

‘Oh! how good to be your age’, Anna went on. ‘I remember and know that blue mist, the same as in the mountains in Switzerland. The mist that envelops everything during the blissful time when childhood is just coming to an end, and the path away from that vast, cheerful and happy circle grows narrower and narrower,

Leo Tolstoy. Anna Karenina. Two sorts of girls.

He knew so well this feeling of Levin’s, knew that for him all the girls in the world were divided into two sorts: one sort was all the girls in the world except her, and these girls had all human weaknesses and were very ordinary girls; the other sort was her alone, with no weaknesses and higher than everything human.

%d bloggers like this: