Creating Anna Karenina : Tolstoy and the birth of literature's most enigmatic heroine

by Blaisdell, Robert,

Format: Print Book 2020
Availability: Available at 3 Libraries 3 of 3 copies
Available (3)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Main Library Second Floor - Non-fiction PG3365.A63 B53 2020x
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Second Floor - Non-fiction
Call Number  PG3365.A63 B53 2020x
Mt. Lebanon Public Library Non-Fiction 813 TOLSTOY Leo Bla
Location  Mt. Lebanon Public Library
Collection  Non-Fiction
Call Number  813 TOLSTOY Leo Bla
Northland Public Library Nonfiction 891.733 B57
Location  Northland Public Library
Collection  Nonfiction
Call Number  891.733 B57
The story behind the origins of Anna Karenina and the turbulent life and times of Leo Tolstoy.

Anna Karenina is one of the most nuanced characters in world literature and we return to her, and the novel she propels, again and again. Remarkably, there has not yet been an examination of Leo Tolstoy specifically through the lens of this novel.

Critic and professor Bob Blaisdell unravels Tolstoy's family, literary, and day-to-day life during the period that he conceived, drafted, abandoned, and revised Anna Karenina . In the process, we see where Tolstoy's life and his art intersect in obvious and unobvious ways.

Readers often assume that Tolstoy, a nobleman-turned-mystic would write himself into the principled Levin. But in truth, it is within Anna that the consciousness and energy flows with the same depth and complexities as Tolstoy. Her fateful suicide is the road that Tolstoy nearly traveled himself.

At once a nuanced biography and portrait of the last decades of the Russian empire and artful literary examination, Creating Anna Karenina will enthrall the thousands of readers whose lives have become deeper and clearer after experiencing this hallmark of world literature.
Readying for "a new big labor": September 1872-March 1873
A very very rough rough draft: March 18, 1873-June 2, 1873
Summering in Samara
Distractions and family woes: August 22-December 31, 1873
Anna Karenina's false start: January 1-August 14, 1874
For love or money?: August 15-December 31, 1874
Anna Karenina: the serial: January-June 1875
Summer, Fall, Winter, 1875
The serialization of Anna Karenina resumes: January-May 1876
From idle to full steam ahead: June-December 1876
The end of serialization: January-May 1877
Suicidal tendencies
Finishing off: May 7, 1877-January 1878.

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Blaisdell, a professor of English at CUNY Kingsborough Community College, is an Anna Karenina superfan who has channeled his passion into a book that carefully stitches together the novel with the life of its author as it was being written. Blaisdell painstakingly chronicles Tolstoy's daily life during the period of the novel's creation from 1872 to 1878: the affectionately chaotic Tolstoy family (with the shrewd and infinitely patient Sofia at its heart), Tolstoy's forays into education, and the extremes of a writer in exultation and agony. For readers as much taken with Tolstoy's Anna as Blaisdell himself, this approach adds complexity to the archetypes the characters have become and will undoubtedly inspire them to reread the novel. While this is a scholarly book, Blaisdell never slips into overly complex academic language. Instead, the pace and the novelistic approach to Tolstoy's life during this period make it an easy, absorbing read essential for Anna enthusiasts and of interest to those intrigued by seeing a book made and remade until it is perfect."
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Blaisdell, an editor of Dover prose and poetry collections, offers a riveting account of Tolstoy's composition of Anna Karenina. Blaisdell's primary strength lies in going granular: he focuses intently on the years from late 1872 through early 1878, during which Tolstoy conceived, outlined, began, abandoned, picked up, abandoned again, and finally completed a masterpiece he disliked (an "abomination"). Throughout, Blaisdell uses letters, journals, and memoirs to show how Tolstoy's own life story was woven into the fabric of Anna Karenina. Blaisdell argues that Tolstoy staved off his own suicidal thinkings by creating the suicidal Anna, and, among the male characters, identified as much with the worldly Oblonsky as the idealist Levin. Blaisdell finds vivid characters, too, among the people in Tolstoy's life, notably including Tolstoy's long-suffering and serially pregnant wife, Sofia, and his close friend Nikolai Strakhov, whose cheerleading was key in getting Anna Karenina across the finish line--and for whom Tolstoy, Blaisdell contends, had a repressed homoerotic attraction. Most of all, however, Tolstoy comes to life as a complex individual defying easy classification. Tolstoy's fans will relish learning from, and, occasionally, arguing with Blaisdell's opinions. This passionate book is almost impossible to put down. (Aug.)"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Tolstoy, Leo, -- graf, -- 1828-1910. -- Anna Karenina.
Karenina, Anna (Fictitious character)
Aristocracy (Social class) -- Russia -- 19th century.
Man-woman relationships.
Married women.
Russia -- Social life and customs -- 1533-1917.
Publisher New York :Pegasus Books,2020
Edition First Pegasus Books edition.
Language English
Description xxiii, 389 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 24 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 9781643134628
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