(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

The source of Tolstoy’s next great novel, Anna Karenina, lies in an idea that he conveyed to his wife in 1870. He wanted to write a story about a married woman who is disgraced by a sexual scandal. He would depict her “not as culpable, but as uniquely worthy of pity.” This story he knew from his own family: his only sister, Marya, had recently left her husband for an adulterous liaison with a Swedish viscount. Two years later, he saw firsthand the potential disastrous results of such a passion. One of his neighbors cast off his mistress, Anna Stepanovna Pirogova, who then threw herself under a train. Tolstoy viewed her remains afterward. Within the year, he began writing Anna Karenina. He was stimulated further by his reading of Alexander Pushkin’s Povesti Belkina (1831; Russian Romance, 1875), which he admired. He was struck by the phrase, “The guests were arriving at the country house,” and began to write his story around it.

Anna Karenina begins with the oft-quoted line, “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” In this novel, Tolstoy portrays both a happy and an unhappy family. The happy Constantine Levin and his wife, Kitty, resemble Pierre and Natasha Bezukhov in War and Peace because of their positive attitudes in the face of adversity and their compassion toward other people. Levin and Kitty’s rapport is such that Levin exclaims that he does “not know where she ended and he began.”

The marriage of Alexey and Anna Karenin, on the other hand, is a loveless match held in place by the dictates of society. When Anna meets a dashing officer of the guards, Alexey Vronsky, she readily abandons her husband and son for the sake of illicit passion. Far from being an ennobling force, Anna and Vronsky’s love leads to chaos, ruin, and, eventually, Anna’s death under the wheels of an oncoming train.

Throughout the novel, the characters of Anna and Levin are compared and contrasted. Distantly related through marriage (Anna’s brother is married to Kitty’s sister), they make life choices that are diametrically opposed to each other. Anna is a young, beautiful, intelligent, vital woman who...

(The entire section is 916 words.)

Anna Karenina Summary

(Critical Survey of Literature for Students)

Anna Karenina, the sister of Stepan Oblonsky, comes to Moscow in an attempt to patch up a quarrel between her brother and his wife, Dolly. There she meets the handsome young Count Vronsky, who is rumored to be in love with Dolly’s younger sister, Kitty. Konstantine Levin, of an old Muscovite family, is also in love with Kitty, and his visit to Moscow coincides with Anna’s. Kitty refuses Levin, but to her chagrin she receives no proposal from the count. Indeed, Vronsky has no intention of proposing to Kitty. His heart goes out to Anna the first time he lays eyes on her, and when Anna returns to her home in St. Petersburg, he follows her.

Soon they begin to be seen together at soirées and at the theater, apparently unaware of gossip that circulates about them. Karenin, Anna’s husband, becomes concerned. A coldly ambitious and dispassionate man, he believes that his social position is at stake. One night, he discusses these rumors with Anna and points out the danger of her flirtation, as he calls it. He forbids her to entertain Vronsky at home and cautions her to be more careful. He is not jealous of his wife, only worried over the social consequences of her behavior. He reminds her of her duty to her young son, Seryozha. Anna says she will obey him, and there the matter rests.

Anna, however, is unable to conceal her true feelings when Vronsky is injured in a racetrack accident. Karenin upbraids her for her indiscreet behavior in public. He considers a duel, separation, and divorce but rejects all these courses. When he finally decides to keep Anna under his roof, he reflects that he is acting in accordance with the laws of religion. Anna continues to meet Vronsky in secret.

Levin returns to his country estate after Kitty refuses him, and he busies himself there in problems of agriculture and peasant labor. One day, he goes into the fields and works with a scythe along with the serfs. He believes that he is beginning to understand the old primitive philosophy of their lives. He plans new developments, among them a cooperative enterprise system. When he hears that Kitty is not married after all and that she was ill but will soon be returning to Moscow, he resolves to seek her hand in marriage once more. Secretly, he knows she loves him. His pride, as well as hers, keeps them apart. Accordingly, Levin makes the journey to Moscow with new hope that soon Kitty will be his wife.

Against her husband’s orders, Anna sends for Vronsky and tells him that she is pregnant. Aware of...

(The entire section is 1031 words.)

Anna Karenina Chapter Summaries

Anna Karenina Part 1, Chapter 1 Summary

“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” At the Oblonsky house, everything is in confusion. Three days ago the wife discovered that her husband is having an affair with their former French governess, and she told him she cannot go on living in the same house with him. Now everyone in the family is conscious of the chasm and acts like strangers. The wife has not left her room and the husband is gone; the children have taken over the house; the English governess is looking for a new job after fighting with the housekeeper; the chef left yesterday just before dinner, and two other servants have given their notice.

On the third morning out of the house, Prince Stepan Arkadyevitch Oblonsky (“Stiva,” to the society world) wakes up at his usual 8:00 a.m. on the leather sofa in his study. He turns his “stout, well-cared-for” body over as if he will fall asleep again, but then he suddenly sits up and remembers the delightful dream he had been having. It was a dream of fine dining, opera music, and fashionable people—including women.

He puts on his slippers, the fine gold-colored Moroccan slippers his wife made him, and reaches for his dressing gown as he has for the past nine years. Then he remembers that he is not sleeping in his wife’s room. When he remembers why, the smile vanishes from his face. He recalls every detail of the argument, feels again the hopelessness of his situation, and knows it is all his fault. He moans in despair at the pain he is feeling because of this quarrel.

The most unpleasant memory for him is the moment he arrived home in such a good mood after the theater, a huge pear in his hand, to discover his wife sitting in her bedroom with the revelatory letter in her hand. He was used to seeing Darya Alexandrovna (“Dolly”) fuss with the details of the house, but then she looked at him with a expression of “horror, despair, and indignation.” She asked him about the letter, and he did what so many people do when they have been caught in a disgrace.

Instead of trying to defend himself or beg for forgiveness—or even feign indifference—Stepan Arkadyevitch simply gave her an idiotic smile. Darya Alexandrovna was infuriated at that smirk and berated him cruelly; she has refused to see him ever since. Stepan Arkadyevitch regrets that smile more than anything and blames it for his problems. Again he despairs and wonders what can be done to remedy his situation.

Anna Karenina Part 1, Chapter 2 Summary

Stepan Arkadyevitch is incapable of deceiving himself into thinking he has repented of his unacceptable behavior. He knows he is a thirty-four-year-old man who is not in love with his wife and the mother of his seven children, two dead and five living. He also knows the only thing he feels remorse about is getting caught in the affair and should have anticipated his wife’s reaction. Stepan Arkadyevitch had assumed that his wife understood that he no longer found her attractive, that she was a washed-up, tired-looking, middle-aged, uninteresting woman, though she was only a year younger than him. He had assumed that she knew he was unfaithful and had simply chosen to ignore it. In fact, he believed it was only fair that she be indulgent out of fairness for his intolerable position. Instead, she had been appalled and angry.

Before this rift, they had been content. She was happy to raise the children and run the household with absolutely no interference from him, and he was happy with Mademoiselle Roland, the governess. Stepan Arkadyevitch is proud of the fact that he had enough self-control not to dally with her in their home. And the woman is now gone, after all. If he cannot go back to his dream, he must move forward with his day.

He puts on his dressing gown, lined with blue silk, and takes a deep breath before opening the blinds of his study and ringing the bell loudly. Matvey, his long-time valet and friend, arrives immediately with his clothes, his boots, and a telegram. After him comes the barber with shaving equipment. Stepan Arkadyevitch asks for any office paperwork, and with a sly grin Matvey says there are papers from the carriage-jobbers, but he told them to come on Sunday and not to trouble Stepan Arkadyevitch before then.

The telegram is from Stepan Arkadyevitch’s sister and it makes him smile. Anna Arkadyevna, his sister, is coming for a visit and will be here tomorrow. Matvey is also pleased. Both men...

(The entire section is 555 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 1, Chapter 3 Summary

Stepan Arkadyevitch dresses himself meticulously, feeling good about his physical condition even though he is unhappy on the inside. He reads some business letters while he drinks his coffee, and then he reads the paper. It is a liberal newspaper that reflects the views of the majority, which is always the view he takes. If the views of the majority change, his views change as well because he did not choose them to begin with. He has no interest in science, art, or politics; however, he believes whatever the majority believes about each of them. In his social circles, it is important to have views on such things. Though he could have chosen either liberal or conservative views and still been accepted in those social circles, he...

(The entire section is 542 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 1, Chapter 4 Summary

Darya Alexandrovna is a worn-out woman doing her best to take her children and leave her husband, but she is too much in the habit of loving him to do so. She knows she is ineffectual with her children even in ideal circumstances, and she knows things would be worse if she left. Still, when she hears her husband walk into her room, she assumes the pretense of packing to leave, though her face betrays her “bewilderment and suffering.” He calls her Dolly and tries to look humble and pitiful, but she can see that he is robust and healthy and she hates his good nature.

Stepan Arkadyevitch tells her his sister is coming, but his wife begins shrieking at him to go away. Stepan Arkadyevitch can usually be calm and pursue...

(The entire section is 526 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 1, Chapter 5 Summary

Though Stepan Arkadyevitch learned easily in school, he was one of the lowest in his class because he was lazy and mischievous. He was fortunate that his sister’s husband, Alexey Alexandrovitch Karenin, got him an honorable position as president of a government board, and thankfully it paid well because his financial situation was embarrassing, despite his wife’s considerable property.

Half of the citizens in Moscow and Petersburg are related to Stepan Arkadyevitch, who was born among people of great power, and they took care of him as one of their own. People like him for his good nature as well as his “unquestionable honesty,” and he is met with delight nearly everywhere he goes no matter how often people see...

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Anna Karenina Part 1, Chapter 6 Summary

Konstantin Levin recalls blushing when Stepan Arkadyevitch asked him why he came to town, and that was because he could not tell him the truth: he had come to town to make Kitty Shtcherbatsky an offer. The Levins and the Shtcherbatskys are old, noble Moscow families, and the young people of both families grew up together. Levin prepared for and entered university with Prince Shtcherbatsky, the brother of Dolly and Kitty. In those days, Levin was often in their home and was much in love with the entire family. His mother and father had died and his only sister was much older, so it was in this household that Levin learned what an “old, noble, cultivated, and honorable” family was.

Because of that, Levin has always...

(The entire section is 544 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 1, Chapter 7 Summary

After Levin arrived in Moscow by train this morning, he came to his half-brother’s house. After changing clothes and refreshing himself, Levin entered Sergey Ivanovitch Koznishev’s study and intended to talk with him about his plans and ask his advice, but his brother was not alone. He was engaged in a discussion with a professor of philosophy who is writing a series of articles against materialists. After the most recent article, Koznishev wrote the professor a letter stating his objections to the professor’s positions and now the man is here to debate the issue in person.

After greeting Levin with the chilly smile he gives everyone and introducing him to the professor, Koznishev resumes his conversation and both...

(The entire section is 385 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 1, Chapter 8 Summary

Once the professor leaves, Koznishev expresses his delight at seeing his brother and asks if Levin is here for a long visit and how the farming is going. Levin knows his brother has no interest in farming, so he only relates a few details connected to money. Until now, Levin had intended to tell his brother about his plan to marry and get his advice on the matter; now, however, he is reluctant to do so. The discussion with the professor along with his brother’s patronizing manner when he asked about the farm (which belongs to them equally though Levin manages both their shares) have created doubt.

What is important to Koznishev are the local boards and politics in the country, but when he asks about them, Levin does...

(The entire section is 433 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 1, Chapter 9 Summary

Levin arrives at the Zoological Gardens at four o’clock and walks the path to the skating area. The more he tries to compose himself, the more breathless he gets. An acquaintance calls his name but Levin does not even recognize him as he moves closer to the ice rink. As soon as he sees the skaters he recognizes the one he came to see because he feels his heart constrict.

Kitty is talking to another lady and there is nothing about her which particularly distinguishes her from anyone else in the crowd; for Levin, though, she is as striking and noticeable as a rose among thorns. Where she stands is holy ground to Levin, and he wonders if he dares to approach her. In fact, for a moment he considers retreating, but he...

(The entire section is 528 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 1, Chapter 10 Summary

Stepan Arkadyevitch works the restaurant as he would a social gathering, making himself at home and others at ease. Levin refrains from having any vodka and is glowing with happiness. The two men are treated like royalty by the staff and Levin allows the other man to order for them both, as he knows his more rustic tastes will be ridiculed here. Though he knows exactly what he wants, Stepan Arkadyevitch refuses to call the dishes by their proper French names.

As they eat, Stepan Arkadyevitch can see that Levin is a bit ill at ease. When he asks about it, Levin explains that life in the city, including the rich foods and fancy manners surrounding them here, makes him uncomfortable. He prefers to be a savage if this is...

(The entire section is 544 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 1, Chapter 11 Summary

As they finish their meal, Stepan Arkadyevitch orders another bottle of champagne and tells Levin he should know that he has a rival for Kitty’s love, a man named Vronsky. Suddenly Levin’s hopefulness turns to anger and it shows in his unpleasant expression.

Vronsky is the son of a count and is one of the most commendable men among the “gilded youth” of St. Petersburg. Stepan Arkadyevitch met Vronsky once, a young man of great wealth, exceptional good looks, and powerful connections; in addition, the young man is personable, cultivated, and intelligent. Vronsky is a man who will “make his mark.” Levin scowls and says nothing as Stepan Arkadyevitch recalls that Vronsky came around shortly after Levin left and...

(The entire section is 554 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 1, Chapter 12 Summary

Princess Kitty Shtcherbatsky is eighteen years old, and nearly every man in society is in love with her after her first winter among them. Two suitors have expressed serious interest in her. The first to do so was Levin, but immediately after Levin left abruptly for the country, Vronsky made his intentions known. Even though he left, Levin’s attentions caused Kitty’s parents to have their first serious discussion about their daughter’s future.

Kitty’s father prefers Levin, but Kitty’s mother does not understand Levin and thinks her daughter can do much better. She does not understand how Levin could have spent six weeks in constant attendance on Kitty without offering for her hand, as most men would have done....

(The entire section is 508 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 1, Chapter 13 Summary

After dinner, Kitty’s heart is pounding with the intensity of a young man’s before going into battle as she waits to see Levin this evening, an evening she believes will be the turning point in her life. As she thinks about her past, Kitty has nothing but fond memories of her relations with Levin. She feels certain of his love and finds it flattering and delightful; in contrast, there has always been an element of awkwardness in her exchanges with Vronsky.

The flaw is not in him, for he has never been anything but simple and nice to her; however, there is always a “false note” when she is with Vronsky. On the other hand, when she looks into the future, Kitty sees a life of “brilliant happiness” with Vronsky;...

(The entire section is 537 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 1, Chapter 14 Summary

The princess arrives just at that awkward moment, horrified at seeing them alone and then, after seeing their faces, thankful to see that Kitty has refused Levin. She sits and begins questioning Levin about life in the country while he hopes fervently for more visitors so he can slip out unnoticed. Five minutes later Countess Nordston, a friend of Kitty’s, arrives. She wants her friend to marry Vronsky and has never liked Levin.

Levin and Nordston despise each other to such a degree that they do not take anything the other says seriously and are not offended by the other. They spar just a bit before a woman enters the room followed by an officer. Levin can see from the look on Kitty’s face that this is Vronsky and...

(The entire section is 468 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 1, Chapter 15 Summary

Once the guests leave, Kitty tells her mother about the conversation with Levin and is thrilled at the thought of having received an offer despite her pity for Levin. Though she has no doubts about her decision, she has difficulty sleeping as she can still see the hurt in his kind eyes. She feels so sorry for him that tears come to her eyes until she thinks about the man for whom she let Levin go. Once again she feels gladness, thinking about her love for Vronsky and his love for her. She falls asleep to the inner turmoil of guilt, happiness, and doubts.

In the library below, Kitty’s parents are having a typical disagreement concerning their youngest daughter. The prince is outraged that his wife is disgracing herself...

(The entire section is 473 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 1, Chapter 16 Summary

Vronsky has never really had a home life. His mother was a young, scintillating socialite who, even once she was married, was notorious in the fashionable world for her many love affairs. His father was only a dim memory to him, and Vronsky had been educated among the Corps of Pages.

He left school as a brilliant young officer and had at once been absorbed into St. Petersburg’s society of wealthy army men, though most of his love affairs have been conducted outside of that circle. It was a rather coarse and luxurious life. After coming to Moscow, he for the first time felt the charm and innocence of a girl in his own social standing who cared for him. It never occurred to him that there could be any harm in enjoying...

(The entire section is 451 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 1, Chapter 17 Summary

The next morning, Vronsky sees Oblonsky at the St. Petersburg rail station. Vronsky is there to meet his mother, and Oblonsky is there to meet his sister, Anna Karenina. Oblonsky asks the younger man where he went after his visit to the Shtcherbatskys’, and Vronsky tells him the truth: that he felt so good after the visit that he was uninterested in going anywhere else. Oblonsky teases him about being in love. Vronsky smiles without comment and changes the subject.

Vronsky remembers something “stiff and tedious” associated with the name Karenina, but he does know her husband, Alexey Alexandrovitch, by reputation and by sight. The celebrated man is known to be a learned and somewhat religious man, something with...

(The entire section is 503 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 1, Chapter 18 Summary

On his way to his mother’s compartment, Vronsky passes a woman striking enough to make him look at her again once he passes her. She is obviously a woman of the best society but is not particularly beautiful; however, there is a light in her eyes which, when she looks back at him and then promptly away again, displays a “suppressed eagerness” which also shows in her faint smile. It as if she tries to shroud the brilliance in her eyes but it shows nonetheless.

When Vronsky steps into the carriage, his “dried-up” old mother smiles at him tightly and squints at him with her black eyes. He asks about her journey, but he is listening to a voice outside of the carriage which he knows must belong to the woman he just...

(The entire section is 552 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 1, Chapter 19 Summary

When Anna Karenina arrives in Darya Alexandrovna’s room, her sister-in-law is dealing with her youngest son and nervously knitting a coverlet. She has prepared for Anna Karenina’s arrival, despite her depressed state, because she has no reason to blame her for her brother’s behavior and she has never been anything but kind and gracious to her—despite her impression that there was something artificial in Anna Karenina’s family life. Darya Alexandrovna is torn between the need to talk to someone about her problems and sharing her humiliation with her husband’s sister.

Anna Karenina’s greeting is warm, but she is in no hurry to have a private discussion just yet; instead she meets all the children and...

(The entire section is 504 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 1, Chapter 20 Summary

During her first day in Moscow, Anna Karenina receives no visitors, though several of her friends call on her; instead she spends the day with Darya Alexandrovna and her children. At dinner, the entire family gathers, and she calls her husband “Stiva” as she once used to do. Right after dinner Kitty arrives, feeling some trepidation about meeting such a fashionable St. Petersburg woman about whom everyone speaks so highly. In no time at all, however, Anna Karenina wins Kitty over by her charm and youthful eagerness more befitting a woman of twenty than a mother of an eight-year-old. In fact, Kitty adores her, feeling as if there is much to be learned from such a woman.

After dinner Darya Alexandrovna retires to her...

(The entire section is 439 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 1, Chapter 21 Summary

At teatime, Darya Alexandrovna appears but her husband does not; she worries about Anna Karenina’s comfort and plans to move her so she will be warmer. From her tone, Anna Karenina cannot determine whether a reconciliation has happened, but once Stepan Arkadyevitch enters the room both she and Kitty can tell that the couple has made their peace.

During the entire evening, Darya Alexandrovitch’s tone is slightly mocking and her husband is happy and cheerful (mindful that he has been forgiven but his offense has not been forgotten). At nine-thirty, this simple, peaceful family gathering is interrupted by an apparently simple incident which nevertheless seems strange to them all.

As the group discusses...

(The entire section is 409 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 1, Chapter 22 Summary

Kitty and her mother arrive just as the ball is beginning, and the young girl is a stunningly beautiful tonight. She is elaborately coiffured and dressed, though it appears none of her preparations cost her any time or preparation, that it was all done with ease. It is one of Kitty’s best days, and she feels as if everything must be nice and graceful and in place. Everything from her hair to her slippers is perfect in her eyes on this most important night. Both outside and in, she is scintillating.

She is swept into her first dance, a waltz, with one of the most important men at the ball and he flatters her—as he does every partner with whom he dances—that she is exquisite precision on the dance floor. Kitty...

(The entire section is 445 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 1, Chapter 23 Summary

Vronsky and Kitty waltz around the room several times and Kitty barely has time to visit with friends before he is back for their quadrille. Their conversation is inconsequential and rather stilted, but Kitty is not dismayed and has put all her hopes on the mazurka, assuming they will dance together as always and turning down five other young men in anticipation of Vronsky’s invitation. During this dance, she imagines everything will be decided.

As Kitty watches Anna Karenina, she sees an intoxication which she recognizes from her own experience, a euphoria and deliberate precision which is feeding on admiration. What she does not know is if it is the admiration of the crowd or of one in particular, and as the evening...

(The entire section is 525 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 1, Chapter 24 Summary

As he leaves the Shtcherbatskys’ and walks toward his brother’s house, Levin thinks there is something hateful and repulsive in him since he does not get along well with other people. It is clear he has no pride; if he did, he would not have subjected himself to a humiliation such as he suffered earlier this evening. He berates himself, believing no one would ever choose him over a man like Vronsky, and is angry at himself for ignoring his brother tonight just so he could make this social call. Levin calls for a sledge and gives the driver Nikolay’s address.

On the way to his brother’s house, Levin remembers Nikolay as he was in college, living like a monk and renouncing all forms of pleasure, despite the...

(The entire section is 473 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 1, Chapter 25 Summary

Nikolay has trouble stringing several thoughts together, but Levin is not really listening anyway. He is looking at his brother and feeling sorrier for him as Nikolay talks about a new venture which is clearly nothing more than a diversion to save himself from self-contempt. Nikolay finishes his speech with a diatribe against the social system which treats workers as beasts and gives all profits to the merchants and landowners. Levin simply nods in agreement when Nikolay stops for breath.

The three of them are founding a locksmith association in a village where all profits and productions will be shared in common. Levin sighs, which exasperates Nikolay into a tirade against both Levin’s and Sergey Ivanovitch’s...

(The entire section is 546 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 1, Chapter 26 Summary

Levin leaves Moscow the next morning and reaches home in the evening. On the journey he talks with others and is still consumed by shame and confused by new ideas, along with feeling a general sense of dissatisfaction. When he gets off the train, Levin is met by his old driver Ignat, and begins to hear the news about all the minor things which happened when he was gone. Levin feels the confusion and shame begin to dissipate. He feels himself once again and is content; he has no desire to be anyone else. Now all he wants is to be better than he was before, and he begins by resolving never to expect such an extraordinary happiness as marriage and will therefore appreciate what he has.

He will never again let his passions...

(The entire section is 420 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 1, Chapter 27 Summary

The morning after the ball, Anna Karenina sends her husband a telegram saying she will be leaving Moscow today. Her sister-in-law pleads with her to stay, but she claims she has so many things to do she cannot even number them all. Stepan Arkadyevitch is out but has promised to come see his sister off at seven o’clock. Kitty has sent a note saying she is ill, so Darya Alexandrovitch and Anna Karenina dine with the children and the governess. The children, for whatever reason, are no longer enamored of their aunt and are indifferent at the thought of her leaving.

Anna Karenina spends the morning preparing for her departure, writing notes to her acquaintances in Moscow, getting her accounts in order, and packing her...

(The entire section is 544 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 1, Chapter 28 Summary

After she has said her last good-bye and is on the train, Anna Karenina is relieved that the connection to Vronsky is over and tomorrow she will be home with her son and husband. Life will continue as it always has, nice and usual.

She settles into her compartment along with other ladies and knows she is not likely to find much entertainment among the group. Instead she gets out an English novel and tries to read. Unfortunately, she is finding it difficult to concentrate. There is the fuss and movement of an entire train getting settled in, and outside the wet snow is pelting against the train window. A muffled guard walks the aisle and people are fretting about the snowstorm outside.

There is shaking and...

(The entire section is 411 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 1, Chapter 29 Summary

As Anna Karenina stands under the carriage stand at the train station, the snow and wind whip around her in a tempest. There is much activity around her, men banging doors closed and muffled, snow-covered people bustling on the platform. Just as she withdraws her hand from her muff to reach for the door so she can re-board the train, a nearby man in a military overcoat steps into the light between her and the lamp post. As she looks toward him, Anna Karenina recognizes Vronsky’s face.

Vronsky puts his hand on the peak of his cap and asks if there is anything he can do for her. For a long time she simply stands and looks at him. Even in the shadows, she can see (or imagines she can see) the same look of “reverential...

(The entire section is 540 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 1, Chapter 30-31 Summary

Vronsky does not even try to sleep that night on the train. Anyone who thought he was haughty and overly composed before would have seen an even greater example of his air of unhesitating control this night. He sees no one or nothing around him, seeing himself as a king not because he believes he has made an impression on her but because of the impression she has made on him, filling his heart with happiness and pride.

What will happen after this he does not know or even think about; he only knows that his energies before now have been wasted. All his energy is now focused on one blissful goal, and this makes him very happy. Vronsky told Anna Karenina the truth, that he had to follow her for she is the only source of happiness...

(The entire section is 520 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 1, Chapter 32 Summary

The first person who meets Anna Karenina at home is her son, Seryozha. He races down the stairs and shrieks at her in his joy at seeing her again before attaching himself to her neck. When she sees her son, Anna Karenina is struck with the same disappointment she felt when she saw her husband; she imagined him better than he is in reality. Though he is a charming child, she must lower herself back to reality before she is able to enjoy him.

Anna Karenina has not had time to drink her coffee before she is visited by the Countess Lidia Ivanovna, a statuesque woman with defects Anna Karenina sees for the first time today. The visitor asks about the reconciliation but, as is typical, is not particularly interested in the...

(The entire section is 452 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 1, Chapter 33 Summary

Alexey Alexandrovitch arrives home at four o’clock but, as usual, he does not have time to see his wife until dinner, as he must see the petitioners who have come to see him once he arrives home. He comes to dinner in his evening attire, as he will be going out after dinner. His motto is “unhasting and unresting,” and every moment of every day is filled.

There are always guests at the couple’s dinner table, and as he sits down Alexey Alexandrovitch remarks that his solitude is over and he no longer has to be uncomfortable dining alone. During the meal he talks a bit with his wife about matters in Moscow but does so with sarcasm, as usual.

After dinner, Alexey Alexandrovitch leaves but Anna Karenina...

(The entire section is 489 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 1, Chapter 34 Summary

When Vronsky left St. Petersburg for Moscow, he left his large apartment for one of his favorite friends, Petritsky. He is a young lieutenant and he is not well connected or rich; in fact, he is nearly always in great debt. Most evenings Petritsky ends up drunk, and he has often been locked up after ridiculous and sometimes disgraceful scandals. Despite all this, he is a favorite of both his peers and his superiors.

Vronsky arrives at his rooms at noon and sees a familiar carriage outside the building. As he rings the bell, he hears voices inside and tells his servant not to announce him. He sneaks into the room and sees Petritsky and another officer sitting on either side of Baroness Shilton, resplendent in her finery,...

(The entire section is 496 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 2, Chapter 1 Summary

At the end of winter, a conference is held by the Shtcherbatskys about what to do concerning Kitty’s failing health. Several doctors have tried common cures, but nothing has worked. Next they call in a celebrated doctor. He insists that female modesty is no longer necessary, and he must examine the patient without her clothing. Despite disagreements among themselves and some claims that he is a bad doctor, Kitty’s family decides he has some kind of special knowledge; they believe he is the only one who can save Kitty.

After the embarrassing examination, the doctor goes to the drawing room to talk to the prince—the last person with whom he should be speaking. The prince does not have faith in physicians; moreover,...

(The entire section is 547 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 2, Chapter 2 Summary

Although Darya Alexandrovitch has recently given birth to a baby girl, she arrives at her parents’ home shortly after the doctor. She knows this is the day on which Kitty’s fate is to be decided. When she asks the doctor’s diagnosis, no one can give her much information. The only thing they all know is that Kitty is going abroad.

Her sister is going away, and Darya Alexandrovitch is sad at the thought because her life has been quite cheerless this winter. The reconciliation which Anna Karenina began has not gone well, and Darya Alexandrovitch’s relationship with her husband is falling apart again over the same issue: She continually suspects him of infidelities. Although nothing specific has been said about the...

(The entire section is 557 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 2, Chapter 3 Summary

Kitty’s room is pink and pretty and happy—just as she had been only two months earlier. Darya Alexandrovitch is there to console her, but she does not have much hope for it when she sees Kitty sitting sullenly. Explaining that she may be quarantined soon, Darya Alexandrovitch wants to talk to her sister now about Kitty's "trouble."

Kitty denies having any trouble, but Darya Alexandrovitch assures her that "[w]e've all been through it"; Vronsky is not worth her sister's grief, she counsels. Kitty begs her not to talk about the subject. When Darya Alexandrovitch adds that she is certain Vronsky had once been in love with her sister, Kitty interrupts, shrieking that she hates sympathy most of all.


(The entire section is 538 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 2, Chapter 4 Summary

The ruling society of St. Petersburg is one social set comprising several distinct social circles. Anna Karenina moves within three of them. She knows her husband’s government colleagues well, but their masculine, political world does not interest her. She avoids this group whenever she can.

Anna Karenina had been more interested in the social circle that helped make her husband’s career possible: older women—benevolent, ugly, godly, and elderly—and ambitious, clever, educated men. At the center is Countess Lidia Ivanovna. Alexey Alexandrovitch esteems these people most highly. Anna Karenina has also made friends in this circle; however, since her return from Moscow, it seems she and they are all quite...

(The entire section is 470 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 2, Chapter 5 Summary

Though it is rather indiscreet of him, Vronsky settles in to tell his cousin a story about two young soldiers, in "a festive state of mind," driving to dinner with a friend. A woman in a sledge catches up to them, nods, and laughs—or at least it appears so to them. They follow her at full gallop until she arrives at the very place where they are to dine. The woman goes to the top story of the building, and the young men go to their comrade’s farewell dinner where they drink more than they should.

At dinner, the men ask who lives in the upstairs apartment; the valet tells them there are many young women about the place. The two friends go to their comrade’s study and compose a letter, a declaration of love, and...

(The entire section is 517 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 2, Chapter 6 Summary

After the opera, Princess Betsy has just enough time to go home and refresh herself before her guests arrive at her huge, sumptuous house. Soon the guests have gathered into one of two circles, either around their hostess or at the other end of the room around an ambassador’s wife. Conversations are a bit disjointed as new guests arrive and are greeted.

As if she were holding court, Princess Myakaya sits between the two groups and contributes to both conversations. The small talk grows rather stale until the ambassador’s wife asks that anyone in the room share something amusing but not spiteful. Someone tries, but everyone knows that nothing is amusing if it is not spiteful, and everything clever is stale. Soon they...

(The entire section is 465 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 2, Chapter 7 Summary

Anna Karenina enters the room simply and beautifully and immediately greets her hostess. As she shakes Princess Betsy’s hand, Anna Karenina finds Vronsky, who makes a low bow and pushes a chair up for her. She acknowledges the gesture with a slight nod.

Anna Karenina was delayed because she was at the countess’s house listening to a missionary to India. Soon the room begins to gossip about marriage. The consensus is that marrying for love is an old-fashioned idea, a foolish notion; most marriages today are marriages of prudence in which both parties have already “sown their wild oats.”

The group agrees that people find love only after making mistakes and correcting them, even after marriage. When...

(The entire section is 547 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 2, Chapter 8 Summary

Though Alexey Alexandrovitch had seen nothing improper in his wife sitting with Vronsky and engaging in “eager conversation,” he knows others felt the impropriety and now he, too, feels the wrongness of it. He waits up for her so he can talk with her about it. After he has done his nightly reading and prepared himself for bed, he does not go to bed as usual but paces the floor with his hands clasped behind his back. He cannot sleep until he thinks the matter through thoroughly.

It was easy for him to decide to talk with his wife, but when he imagines the actual conversation, suddenly things seem complicated. He is not jealous because that implies a lack of confidence in his wife, and he has no experience in that...

(The entire section is 495 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 2, Chapter 9 Summary

Anna Karenina comes up the stairs and her face is brilliant and glowing, though not out of brightness; instead it hints at a conflagration on a dark night. When she sees her husband still up, she smiles as though she has just woken up and tells him it is late and he should be in bed. Alexey Alexandrovitch tells her he must have a talk with her.

She speaks as if she is surprised and as she sits down, suggesting that he would be better off sleeping than talking. Anna Karenina is speaking without thinking and she is surprised at her own capacity for lying, at how simple and easy it is for her to mask the truth. Alexey Alexandrovitch begins his prepared lecture by telling her he must warn her about something.


(The entire section is 535 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 2, Chapter 10 Summary

Ever since their discussion that night, things have been different between Alexey Alexandrovitch and Anna Karenina. On the surface, nothing has changed and nothing of any significance has happened. Anna Karenina is still actively attending her usual social gatherings, and she often ends up at her friend Princess Betsy’s home. Everywhere she goes, of course, she meets Vronsky.

Alexey Alexandrovitch sees all of it happening but feels he can do nothing to change it or repair it. Every effort he makes to draw his wife out, to have an open discussion of where things stand, is met with a barrier which Anna Karenina has erected and which he is unable to penetrate. This barrier is the pretense of amused perplexity, and he...

(The entire section is 405 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 2, Chapter 11 Summary

A year after meeting, Anna Karenina and Vronsky have finally consummated their love. For him it was the culmination of everything he ever desired; for her it was an impossible, terrible, and blissful fulfillment of her desire. Now he stands before her, jaw quivering a bit, unsuccessfully trying to calm her but not really understanding what has upset her so badly.

Anna Karenina is filled with shame and bows her head as she sinks from the sofa to the floor at Vronsky’s feet. She keeps sobbing a prayer for God to forgive her. She feels so full of sin, so guilty, that she is compelled to humiliate herself and beg for forgiveness; since there is now no one in her life but Vronsky, it is to him she addresses her prayers for...

(The entire section is 542 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 2, Chapter 12 Summary

In the first days after Levin returned to the country from Moscow, he would shudder and turn red when he thought about his humiliating rejection. Nevertheless, he always told himself it would soon be like many other embarrassing moments in his life which seemed mortifying at the time but have since diminished into minor incidents.

Three months have passed and the humiliation is just as painful now as it was at the time it happened. He has no peace because he had dreamed so long about having a family and felt so ready for it and now he is even further from that goal than he ever was. Levin and everyone around him are aware that a man of his age should not be alone, that marriage is the expectation and the norm.


(The entire section is 473 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 2, Chapter 13 Summary

“Spring is the time of plans and projects.” Levin puts on his boots and prepares to do something, though he hardly knows what undertaking he will attempt first. In any case, the work of the farm is important and exciting to him, and he begins his day admiring the cattle which have been let into their paddock. As they bask in the sunlight, Levin turns his attention to their calves. He knows each of these creatures well and he admires their appreciation for the freedom of spring.

All is not well on the farm, however; it appears that many of the farm repairs which he ordered to be done over the winter (and for which he hired three carpenters) have not been done. Observing these things is upsetting to Levin and he calls...

(The entire section is 480 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 2, Chapter 14 Summary

As Levin rides up to the house, he hears a visitor and hopes it is his brother, but it is Stepan Arkadyevitch. Levin is genuinely delighted to see him because he can now find out for certain about Kitty. His visitor has come to do some hunting and to sell the forest at Ergushavo. The host shows his guest to his room and soon they are sitting and visiting.

Stepan Arkadyevitch loves the house, exclaiming that it is bright and cheery but forgetting that it is not always so. It is this lovely spring day which places the house at its best advantage. He is anxious to try to understand what Levin finds so intriguing about the country, and he shares all the news from Moscow, including the fact that Levin’s half-brother Sergey...

(The entire section is 430 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 2, Chapter 15 Summary

Stepan Arkadyevitch and Levin arrive at the stand-shooting site, and the men and Laska the dog settle in to watch and wait. As Levin looks around, he notices each wet blade of grass and feels as if he can actually see and hear the grass growing all around him. They hear the sound of a cuckoo and an owl before they finally hear the shrill whistle in the distance for which they have all been waiting.

Stepan Arkadyevitch lights a cigarette and cocks his rifle and then they hear an odd whinnying sound, a prolonged cry as if a colt were frolicking nearby. Levin says it is the sound of the hare and hurriedly readies his own gun.

The next sound they hear is well known to an experienced hunter, a shrill whistle...

(The entire section is 477 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 2, Chapter 16 Summary

On the way back from their hunting trip, Levin hears all the particulars of Kitty’s illness from Stepan Arkadyevitch, and though he should have been ashamed to admit it, he is somewhat glad at what he hears. Kitty is still available, but she has also experienced some of the same suffering she inflicted on him. When Stepan Arkadyevitch mentions Vronsky’s name as part of the cause for Kitty’s illness, Levin stops him.

The forest Stepan Arkadyevitch came to the country to sell has been sold at a price he is quite happy with, though Levin says it is worth almost five times what is to be paid for it. Stepan Arkadyevitch is dismissive of that claim, saying Levin has been too long in the country to know effective...

(The entire section is 514 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 2, Chapter 17 Summary

Stepan Arkadyevitch is content in every way. He has money in his pockets from the sale of the forest land, and the day’s hunting had been quite successful. He now wants to dispel Levin’s ill humor so that he can end the day as pleasantly as he began it.

Levin is not mollified, however; his mood has only grown worse as the news of Kitty’s unexpected availability has “gradually begun to work on him.” It is true that Kitty is not married; however, she is ill because the man she loved instead of him slighted her. By extension, Levin now sees Vronsky as his enemy and he feels insulted by the man. That disgruntled feeling has now seeped into his dealings with Stepan Arkadyevitch and he is exasperated at the man’s...

(The entire section is 542 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 2, Chapter 18 Summary

Although Vronsky’s personal life is consumed with his passion, his professional life is still taken up with his military career and, particularly, his regiment. It is an important part of his life, both because he genuinely likes his regiment but also because he is a favorite of the men of his regiment.

The men in his unit not only respect him and are proud of him, but they also truly like him. They are proud to say that this man of immense wealth, extraordinary education, superior abilities, and many levels of success and ambition disregarded all of his other opportunities so he could be one of them and have the regiment’s interests be the closest thing to his heart. Vronsky is well aware of his comrades’...

(The entire section is 527 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 2, Chapter 19 Summary

On the day of the horse races, Vronsky comes early to the regiment’s mess hall and eats carefully so he will not gain any weight. While he waits for his steak, he feigns reading a novel to avoid conversation with any of the others. He is thinking about Anna Karenina’s promise to see him after the races today. He has not seen her for three days, but her husband has just arrived home from abroad, so he is not sure she will be able to make it or how he can find out for certain.

Their last meeting had been at his cousin Betsy’s summer villa, and they have occasionally gone to the Karenins’ summer villa. Vronsky decides he will go to see Anna Karenina, claiming his cousin wants to know if she will be at the races; he...

(The entire section is 461 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 2, Chapter 20 Summary

Vronsky shares a Finnish hut with Petritsky, and he is asleep when Vronsky and Yashvin arrive. Petritsky is lying face down on his pillow, his hair is mussed, and Yashvin prods his shoulder and hollers for him to get up. A startled Petritsky raises himself suddenly and tells Vronsky that his brother woke him up and will return later for Vronsky; then he throws a blanket over himself and tries to go back to sleep.

Yashvin persists in tormenting the man in the bed, pulling the blanket off him and speaking with his booming voice. Finally Petritsky gets up, wraps the blanket around himself, and prepares to join Yashvin for a drink. As his friends tussle back and forth, Vronsky puts on his coat and prepares to leave.


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Anna Karenina Part 2, Chapter 21 Summary

Vronsky arrives at the stables and wants to see his horse; she arrived yesterday and he has no idea what her condition is today. The English trainer advises him not to see her, as she has been muzzled and is rather fidgety, but Vronsky insists. As he walks past the stalls, he catches a glimpse of his chief competitor, Gladiator, a huge chestnut horse with white legs. It is poor etiquette to gawk at someone else’s horse, so Vronsky quickly averts his eyes and walks to his own horse’s stall.

Frou-Frou is nervous, and the trainer says he has faith that Vronsky will win because the steeple chase takes a rider with energy and courage. Vronsky is certain there is no rider in the competition who will have more of either...

(The entire section is 554 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 2, Chapter 22 Summary

The rain does not last long, and Vronsky forgets all about the muddy racecourse as he approaches Anna Karenina’s house. As always, he gets out of the carriage before he crosses the bridge so he will not attract undue attention. He enters the courtyard and asks the gardener if his master is home. He is not, and Vronsky enters the house through the garden.

Anna Karenina is not expecting him, and he is filled with anticipation at seeing her. As he walks through the house, he has already forgotten the difficulties of their relationship until he remembers the greatest impediment to their freedom—her son. When her son is present, the two of them tacitly agree not to talk about anything referencing their illicit...

(The entire section is 499 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 2, Chapter 23 Summary

Anna Karenina’s husband does not know she is pregnant. Vronsky has had little success getting her to face the reality of their situation in the past, but he is hopeful this will finally cause her to see the hopelessness of her current situation and precipitate a change. Instead, she asks Vronsky what he suggests they do now. She had been concerned that he would take her news too lightly, but now she is annoyed that he has so quickly deduced that some action must be taken. Vronsky does not hesitate: Anna Karenina must tell her husband everything and then leave him.

She knows how such a conversation with her husband will go. He will remind her that she was warned (by him) of such possibilities and will refuse to allow...

(The entire section is 413 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 2, Chapter 24 Summary

Vronsky is so distracted after his meeting with Anna Karenina that he does not check the time until he is back in his carriage. When he finally does, he wonders if he can fulfill his obligation to Bryansky and still get to the races on time. If he does not go, he will arrive in time to see most of the races; if he goes, he will barely arrive in time for his own race. Vronsky is a man of his word, so he tells his coachman to go to Bryansky’s as quickly as the horses will go.

On the ride home he begins forget about his feelings of uncertainty about Anna Karenina and to anticipate the race instead. At his lodgings, Vronsky changes into his riding clothes and then goes to the stables. His mare is already saddled, and the...

(The entire section is 535 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 2, Chapter 25 Summary

Seventeen officers are riding in the three-mile race. The race begins two hundred yards before the track, and the first of nine obstacles is a seven-foot-wide stream. After three false starts, the race finally begins.

To the spectators, the horses appear to have all started simultaneously, but the riders are acutely aware of the fractions of seconds between them. For the first moment, Vronsky is not in control of the mare, and they are racing in third behind Gladiator and a horse named Diana, whose rider is nearly paralyzed with fear. As he and Frou-Frou are jumping the first stream, he sees a floundering Diana and her rider on the ground below them; only with great agility is his horse able to avoid trampling them....

(The entire section is 551 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 2, Chapter 26 Summary

Nothing between the Karenins has changed, though Alexey Alexandrovitch is even busier than ever. He has not spoken one word of his suspicions or his jealousies since their initial conversation, though he speaks to her in his jeering tone and is a bit colder to her, as if he is vexed or annoyed. He acts as if he has vainly tried to extinguish a fire and now takes pleasure in watching her burn.

Though he is astute in his political dealings, Alexey Alexandrovitch is unaware of how senseless this attitude is with his wife because he has locked his heart and the things that matter to him the most (his wife and son) are sealed off from his real life. He used to be an attentive father, as well, but now he treats his son the...

(The entire section is 558 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 2, Chapter 27 Summary

Anna Karenina is preparing for the races when she hears a carriage outside and sees that her husband has arrived. She is immediately afraid he intends to spend the night and rushes to greet him and his friend with a radiant smile, despite the deceitfulness in her heart, and asks if he is planning to spend the night. He tells her he will not interrupt her plans to attend the races with Betsy and will walk to the races.

Anna Karenina orders tea for all three of them and asks someone to tell Seryozha that his father is here. Though she speaks naturally, she is speaking too much and too fast and can see it on her visitor’s face. He goes to the terrace, and the Karenins speak privately for a few moments.


(The entire section is 464 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 2, Chapter 28 Summary

When Alexey Alexandrovitch arrives at the race pavilion, his wife is already settled among the high society circle. Anna Karenina is acutely aware of his presence, just as she is her lover’s. As she watches Alexey Alexandrovitch, she is repulsed by everything he does, for she knows it is all false and motivated by ambition. She can see that he is looking for her but cannot distinguish her from among the women. Finally Betsy calls to him and he comes to greet them until he spots an adjutant-general and engages him in conversation.

Between races, she hears her husband in a good-natured disagreement with the man, and every word Alexey Alexandrovitch says strikes her as painfully false. When the steeple-chase begins, she...

(The entire section is 526 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 2, Chapter 29 Summary

The crowd is horrified when Vronsky and his horse fall to the ground, and Anna Karenina moans out loud. Soon, though, she “utterly loses her head.” She is desperate to leave and insists Betsy leave with her, but Betsy does not notice her or her agitated state. Alexey Alexandrovitch offers his arm to take her away, but she does not notice him. Without answering him, Anna Karenina looks desperately through her opera-glasses but cannot see anything because a crowd has gathered around Vronsky and his horse.

An officer gallops to make an announcement to the Tsar, but she cannot hear what he says. Anna Karenina calls for her brother, but he does not hear her. Once again Alexey Alexandrovitch courteously reaches toward her...

(The entire section is 552 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 2, Chapter 30 Summary

The Shtcherbatskys have established their place in the little German town with special healing waters. Another visitor to the waters is a German princess, and Kitty’s mother is desperate to present Kitty to her. She does so the day after they arrive, and Kitty makes a low and graceful curtsy before the princess, wearing an elegant dress from Paris. The princess says she hopes Kitty will soon have more color in her cheeks, making her face even prettier.

The family also makes the acquaintance of an English lady, a German countess and her wounded war-hero son, a Swedish intellectual, and Monsieur Canut and his sister. Most of the time, though, the Shtcherbatskys are in the company of a lady from Moscow, Marya Yevgenyevna...

(The entire section is 552 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 2, Chapter 31 Summary

It has been raining all day and the invalids are walking inside the boardwalk. Kitty is walking with her mother and the colonel, trying to avoid Levin who is walking on the other side. Varenka is walking with a blind Frenchwoman, and each time she and Kitty pass they exchange friendly glances. Finally she asks her mother for permission to speak to Mademoiselle Varenka, and the princess agrees to find out more about her and meet her first, though she is not sure what Kitty is attracted to in the girl.

Levin is coming towards them, speaking loudly and angrily to his German doctor. The princess and Kitty turn to go back when suddenly the conversation has turned to shouting. Levin has stopped and is shouting at the doctor,...

(The entire section is 409 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 2, Chapter 32 Summary

Princess Shtcherbatsky learns more about Mademoiselle Varenka and her connection to Madame Stahl, a woman she does not much like. Madame Stahl is an unhappy woman who has always suffered poor health. After she separated from her husband, she had a child who had died almost immediately. Her family, fearing the news would kill her, substituted another child for her baby. This child was born in the same hospital on the same night, the daughter of the chief cook in the Imperial Household. That child was Varenka.

Later Madame Stahl learned the truth but continued to raise Varenka as her own daughter, and shortly after that all of Varenka’s relations had died. For the past ten years, Madame Stahl has been living more than...

(The entire section is 552 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 2, Chapter 33 Summary

Kitty meets Madame Stahl as well as Mademoiselle Varenka, and they not only have a great influence on her life here but her relationship with them helps ease her mental distress as she is exposed to an entirely different world. This world has nothing in common with her past and offers her a vantage point from which she can examine her life’s journey calmly.

One thing Kitty learns is that there is a spiritual life in addition to the physical life which is all she has ever known. This religious aspect of life has little to do with buildings or litanies or priests; instead it is connected to noble thoughts and feelings which are inspiring. Most of this Kitty learns through observation, for little is said explicitly by...

(The entire section is 545 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 2, Chapter 34 Summary

Prince Shtcherbatsky has traveled while his wife and daughters stayed near the waters, and now he has returned. While his wife thinks everything about traveling abroad is delightful and she takes on the airs of a sophisticated European lady, the prince finds everything foreign to be detestable and keeps to his Russian habits and acts less European than he really is.

He is much thinner now, but he is in good spirits. When he sees that Kitty has completely recovered, his cheerfulness increases. He is concerned and somewhat jealous when his wife tells him of Kitty’s friendship with Madame Stahl and Mademoiselle Varenka and the resultant change in her, but he is in too positive a frame of mind to stay upset for long. The...

(The entire section is 551 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 2, Chapter 35 Summary

After his walk with Kitty, the prince invites everyone in the building to join them for coffee. He remains in excessive good spirits and is lavish both with food and the gifts he purchased on his journey. His spirit is infectious, and Kitty has never seen Varenka helpless with laughter as she is at the prince’s jokes.

Kitty is glad for the good humor but struggles to be lighthearted. Her father has unintentionally caused her to question her views about her friends, and the situation with Petrov is distressing. She feels as she used to as a child when she was being punished in her room and heard her sisters laughing outside.

When Varenka prepares to leave Kitty follows her. Even her hero seems different to...

(The entire section is 547 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 3, Chapter 1 Summary

In need of a vacation, Sergey Ivanovitch Koznishev goes to visit his half-brother in the country, for he believes the best sort of life is the country life. Levin is glad to see him, especially since his brother Nikolay will not be visiting this summer. However, despite his respect and love for Sergey Ivanovitch, having him visit in the country makes Levin nervous.

The two men see the country and its inhabitants in completely different ways. To Sergey Ivanovitch, the country is a place where he can escape the “corrupt influences” of life in the city, as well as rest from the rigors of working. It is a particularly good place for him because he can do nothing and feel no pangs of conscience for his idleness. To...

(The entire section is 500 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 3, Chapter 2 Summary

In early June, Levin's housekeeper, Agafea Mihalovna, slips while carrying some pickled mushrooms down to the cellar and needs a doctor. While the district doctor is at Levin’s house tending to the old woman, he is thrilled to have a chance to spend time in conversation with the renowned Sergey Ivanovitch Koznishev. The particularly talkative young medical student is eager to share his advanced views with the learned man.

The physician shares all the local gossip and scandal and complains about how poorly the district council has been performing. Sergey Ivanovitch listens attentively and offers bits of sage advice to the rapt young man. The physician leaves quite content with his visit. Sergey Ivanovitch now wants to...

(The entire section is 487 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 3, Chapter 3 Summary

Sergey Ivanovitch scolds his brother for not being more involved in managing the affairs of the district, but Levin is distracted by the sight of his bailiff in the distance. When his brother asks why he no longer participates in the district council, Levin explains he was unable to accomplish anything when he was part of the council, and he is simply tired of trying.

As Sergey Ivanovitch tries to make him feel guilty for not taking a greater interest in the welfare of the peasants he so loves (something Levin has never claimed), Levin is further distracted by his bailiff, who seems to be letting the peasants leave their plowing. His brother continues his diatribe regarding the need for medical care and schools for the...

(The entire section is 495 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 3, Chapter 4 Summary

While his brother philosophizes, Levin thinks about his long-held plan to mow the hay alongside his peasants. It is an activity he finds both calming and satisfying, but he is hesitant to tell Sergey Ivanovitch of his plan and to leave his brother alone for the long days of work. Finally he realizes he is in such a foul temper that he must do the physical work in order to regain his equilibrium.

That evening, Levin sends word that the mowing will begin tomorrow and asks that his scythe be ready, for he intends to work, too. At tea, Levin tells his brother he will be mowing all day tomorrow with the peasants. Sergey Ivanovitch is rather surprised, asking if Levin can do such intense physical labor and if the peasants...

(The entire section is 439 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 3, Chapter 5 Summary

In the afternoon, Levin mows between an old man and a young man. The old man makes the mowing seem as effortless as walking, and the young man smiles whenever anyone looks his way, never admitting how hard the job is for him. As he works between these two men, Levin revels in the sweat that eventually cools him and the sun that gives him the energy to continue. More often than before, he feels as if swinging the scythe is as natural and effortless to him as it is to the experienced mowers; the longer he mows, the more he experiences these unconscious moments. When he looks back, his rows are perfectly cut, and he feels positively blissful.

The most difficult task for Levin is mowing around obstacles in the field. The...

(The entire section is 491 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 3, Chapter 6 Summary

The second field is mown. The happy workers begin walking home as Levin rides back to his manor, the sound of rough good humor, laughter, and clanking scythes still ringing in his ears. At the manor, Sergey Ivanovitch has already finished his dinner; when Levin arrives in all his enthusiasm, his brother reacts only to the filth and grime of a day spent in the fields.

Levin is in such good humor that even his brother’s grumbling about the dirt and the flies he is letting into the house cannot ruin his mood. Levin goes to wash and change, and then the two men meet in the dining room. Although Levin is not hungry, he sits down to eat because he does not want to offend his cook. He finds the food especially delicious and...

(The entire section is 514 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 3, Chapter 7 Summary

Stepan Arkadyevitch has gone back to St. Petersburg to do what everyone in government service must do—remind the ministry that he exists. Having taken all the family’s available cash with him, he is now spending his days in the city quite enjoyably, being seen at the races and visiting summer villas. In the meantime, his wife and children are spending the summer in the country.

Ergushavo is Darya Alexandrovna’s family lodge, given as her dowry when she married. In her childhood, it had seemed a roomy and comfortable place, but that was twenty years ago; now it is rather old and dilapidated. When he was in the country to sell their forest land, Stepan Arkadyevitch was to have ordered any needed improvements before...

(The entire section is 548 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 3, Chapter 8 Summary

Not until the end of May, after Darya Alexandrovna has gotten fairly settled at the lodge, does she receive a letter of apology from her husband for not making better preparations before she and the children arrived. He promises in his letter to come to her as soon as possible, but she should not expect him soon.

On the Sunday of St. Peter’s week, Darya Alexandrovna prepares her children for church so that they can take the sacrament. While she holds rather unorthodox views of religion, she believes in communion for her children; the fact that they have not received the sacrament in over a year troubles her. For several days, Darya Alexandrovna busily chooses her children’s clothing. Though several crises occur in...

(The entire section is 477 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 3, Chapter 9 Summary

As they arrive home after bathing in the river, Darya Alexandrovna is delighted to see Levin waiting for them—and he is delighted to see her at this happy moment of contentment with her life. When he looks at her, Levin sees the epitome of a satisfying family life.

As they greet one another warmly, Levin gently scolds her for not letting him know she was in the country. Darya Alexandrovna is surprised that her husband cared enough to send Levin a letter asking him to come to see her. Levin begins to explain his offer to help her in any way but then stops, embarrassed, thinking she may be annoyed at an offer of help from him when it is her husband who should be helping her.

Levin is right. Darya...

(The entire section is 517 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 3, Chapter 10 Summary

Darya Alexandrovna tells Levin that Kitty is especially looking forward to the quiet and solitude of the country, though she is now well again. Looking directly at Levin, she asks him why he is angry at her sister and why he did not visit either her or Kitty when he was last in Moscow. Levin is adamant that he is not angry with Kitty and wonders, blushing, why she says such things and does not take more pity on him. It soon becomes clear to him that Darya Alexandrovna does not know that he made Kitty an offer of marriage and was refused. Saying it out loud causes all his anger at being slighted to surface and any concern for Kitty's health to dissipate.

Darya Alexandrovna now understands her sister’s heartache and...

(The entire section is 512 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 3, Chapter 11 Summary

It is the middle of July, and Levin is paid a visit by the elder of the village nearest his sister’s estate, fifteen miles away from Pokrovskoe, Levin's own estate. He has come to give a report on how things are going at the sister's estate, particularly the progress of the hay mowing. The primary source of income from Levin’s sister’s estate is haying the meadows. Years before, the peasants bought the hay on three acres of land for a mere twenty roubles. When Levin began managing the estate, he determined this price to be too low and increased the price to twenty-five roubles.

The peasants refused to pay and kept other buyers from purchasing the hay, so Levin made other arrangements to have the hay cut. Again,...

(The entire section is 451 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 3, Chapter 12 Summary

When the last load of hay is finally loaded by Ivan Parmenov and his lovely wife, the couple walks the cart to the barn. Around them other men and women work merrily, and the sound of so many women in a “thunder of merriment” soon envelops Levin. He envies their health and happiness and longs to take part in their joy of living. Instead, he is helpless to do anything but watch and listen. When all the peasants finally leave for a time, Levin is left feeling an abject alienation.

Some of those merry peasants had been involved in the arguing and wrangling over the hay, but they are evidently incapable of bearing any grudge and move forward in a sea of “merry common labor.” Levin has often admired their lives;...

(The entire section is 513 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 3, Chapter 13 Summary

Alexey Alexandrovitch is a cold and reasonable man; however, the sight of a woman or a child in tears throws him into a state of nervous agitation. On their way home from the races, his wife told him about her love for Vronsky and immediately dissolved into tears. His rigid expression and reaction reflected his desire to avoid the tears, and he simply let Anna Karenina out of the carriage, telling her he would let her know his decision tomorrow.

Alexey Alexandrovitch’s worst suspicions had been confirmed, and the pang of heartache was tempered by pity for his wife’s tears. After he leaves her, though, he is relieved. It is as if he has long been suffering from a toothache but all at once—admittedly with some...

(The entire section is 556 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 3, Chapter 14 Summary

As he rides to St. Petersburg, Alexey Alexandrovitch composes in his mind the letter he will write his wife regarding his decision to maintain their relationship as if nothing has changed. In his study, he writes the letter in French, using the impersonal pronoun vous to avoid the question of how to address her. He writes that their life must go on as it has in the past for the good of the entire family. He says he is convinced that she has repented and will now forget about any events that happened in the past. He threatens her with dire consequences for her son if she does not comply. He expects her to return to St. Petersburg no later than Tuesday.

As Alexey Alexandrovitch rereads his letter, he is pleased...

(The entire section is 585 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 3, Chapter 15 Summary

Anna Karenina knows her position is false and dishonorable, and she longs with her entire soul to change it. On the way home from the races, she had revealed to her husband the truth about her love for Vronsky; it had burst from her in a moment of excitement, and despite her current agony, she is relieved to have told him. The lying and deception is over; although her new situation could be bad, at least it would be honest. She sees Vronsky that night but does not tell him about her conversation with Alexey Alexandrovitch.

This morning her position again seems hopeless, and she wonders why she did not immediately tell Vronsky about the conversation with her husband. It is because she is ashamed. Now she visualizes the...

(The entire section is 531 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 3, Chapter 16 Summary

At the summer villa, Anna Karenina is preparing to pack and leave for Moscow when she notices her husband’s courier has arrived with a delivery; opening the thick packet from Alexey Alexandrovitch, she finds a pile of money and a letter saying he expects her to join him at their home in St. Petersburg as soon as possible. This morning she had wished she had never spoken with her husband about her love for Vronsky, imagining things would have been better if she had remained silent. Now, Alexey Alexandrovitch is treating the matter as if it had never been discussed—exactly what she had thought she wanted just a few hours before. Her situation seems more awful than she had ever imagined.

Everyone sees Alexey...

(The entire section is 501 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 3, Chapter 17 Summary

Only a few people have been invited to Princess Betsy Tverskaya’s croquet party; two of the women are part of a social circle which is “utterly hostile” to the circle in which Anna Karenina moves, and one of the men is Alexey Alexandrovitch’s political enemy. Knowing this, Anna Karenina had refused the invitation. Now she is here, arriving earlier than the other guests, hoping to see Vronsky.

While she does not see Vronsky, she does see his footman arriving with a note for Princess Betsy. Anna Karenina longs to ask the messenger where his master is, to send a letter to Vronsky with the footman, or to go herself to see him, but none of these options are available to her, and she is taken to the garden.


(The entire section is 554 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 3, Chapter 18 Summary

When Princess Betsy’s guests arrive, her conversation with Anna Karenina is interrupted. Sappho Shtoltz is a “blond beauty with black eyes,” followed everywhere by Vaska, her ardent admirer. Sappho Shtoltz’s hairdo is a "superstructure of soft, golden hair—her own and false mixed," and her bust is overexposed. She is so bustled and corseted that it is difficult to tell where the petite woman’s actual body might be under all the flowing material. Princess Betsy quickly introduces her to Anna Karenina.

Sappho Shtoltz and Vaska are teasing one another when the woman suddenly remembers that she invited another of her admirers to the croquet party and introduces him to her hostess. This man, too, follows Sappho...

(The entire section is 507 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 3, Chapter 19 Summary

Though Vronsky appears to live a rather frivolous life, he likes routine in regard to his financial affairs. In his early days in the Corps of Pages, he once had tried to borrow some money and was humiliated by a refusal; since then he has never put himself in the position of having to ask. To make sure his business is taken care of, he takes several days a year to put all his affairs in proper order. The day after the races is one of those days. He sets out all of his bills and other correspondence, and Petritsky makes a hasty exit when he sees what day this is.

Vronsky, like most men, prides himself on having a unique set of complexities regarding his financial affairs and on not doing anything dishonorable—as he...

(The entire section is 486 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 3, Chapter 20 Summary

Vronsky lives his life within a certain code of principles to which he adheres religiously. While this code only covers a very small set of circumstances, the principles are clear. Because Vronsky never strays from that set of circumstances, he has never hesitated about doing what he ought to do based on his personal code.

The invariable rules of the code begin with these: he needs to pay a card debt but he does not need to pay a tailor, he must never tell a man a lie but may lie to any woman, he may not cheat anyone but he may cheat a husband, and he must never pardon an insult though he is allowed to give one. Though these rules are neither reasonable nor good, they are invariably certain and as long as he adheres to...

(The entire section is 533 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 3, Chapter 21 Summary

Petritsky comes to get Vronsky for a party at the colonel’s, celebrating Serpuhovskoy’s arrival. He is a classmate who is now a general and expecting his own command. Vronsky tells himself that he is happy at having to sacrifice his ambition for love. Vronsky is genuinely glad for his friend’s success and is delighted to see him.

The singers and the band have begun the festivities, and there is plenty of dancing and drinking among the soldiers in attendance. Serpuhovskoy looks just the same to Vronsky except for a distinct air of contentment in success which Vronsky knows well. The two friends greet one another warmly but then get separated as the party progresses. Later they have a quiet moment to talk,...

(The entire section is 539 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 3, Chapter 22 Summary

Vronsky is eager to see Anna Karenina, and on the way he considers why he is so content with his life. His business affairs have been sorted out, Serpuhovskoy considers him the kind of man the world needs, and he is now unexpectedly going to see the woman he loves. This “joyous sense of life” is so strong in him that he cannot help smiling, knowing he loves Anna Karenina more every time he is with her. When he finally arrives at Princess Betsy’s, he sees her waiting for him and just the sight of her causes a kind of “electric shock” to run all over his body. When he gets closer, though, he sees the serious set of her mouth and realizes this will not be the joyous meeting he had anticipated.

Vronsky has no will...

(The entire section is 540 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 3, Chapter 23 Summary

On Monday, Alexey Alexandrovitch speaks at the meeting of the Commission of the 2nd of June. After his preparations of the night before, he feels no need to review his outline or rehearse his arguments; he knows that once he stands in front of his opponents the words will flow like molten lava. When others look at him, they see no evidence of this hidden fire and are therefore unprepared for it when it comes.

Alexey Alexandrovitch gets what he wants: three more commissions are formed. His triumph in the stormy meeting is even greater than he had anticipated. The next day, in at least his social circle, nothing else is discussed except for this rather spectacular meeting.

On Tuesday, Alexey Alexandrovitch...

(The entire section is 532 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 3, Chapter 24 Summary

Levin is revolted by how he has been managing his land and has lost all attraction to it. Despite the magnificent harvest, he does not remember ever having so many hindrances and disagreements; a night spent under the stars has enlightened him as to the cause of his problems. Watching the peasants’ delight and joy has made Levin envious, and he now understands that the way he has been farming will never be anything but a “stubborn struggle” between him and his laborers in which he will always be the only victor. The result is that neither side is content, and the peasants would only enjoy their work if it were done for themselves.

The landowner must fight for every cent of his profit so he can pay the laborers,...

(The entire section is 541 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 3, Chapter 25 Summary

Levin drives to his friend Nikolay Ivanovitch Sviazhsky’s estate in his carriage, as it is remote and inaccessible by any other means. Halfway through his journey, he stops to water his horses at the home of a well-to-do peasant. After he directs the coachman where to care for the horses, the old peasant invites Levin into his parlor. A young, cleanly dressed woman, barefoot and in clogs, is washing the floor. She shrieks in fear at the dog that appears behind Levin but then laughs at her reaction after she is told the dog is harmless. She points Levin to the parlor and resumes her scrubbing.

The room is well appointed and so neat that Levin is afraid his dog will muddy the floor. Levin orders her into a spot in a...

(The entire section is 483 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 3, Chapter 26 Summary

Levin’s friend Sviazhsky is a happily married man five years his senior, and his young sister-in-law lives with him and his wife. Though no one has ever spoken of it, Levin knows (with a sense “so-called eligible young men” all have) his friend and his wife would love for him to marry the girl. While he knows the girl is quite attractive and would make him a good wife, Levin could never marry her even if he had not been in love with Kitty Shtcherbatsky.

After receiving the invitation from his friend, Levin had immediately thought of this and thought it might taint his visit, but he determines to go and he even sees it as an opportunity to test his heart. Sviazhsky is both interesting and involved in local affairs...

(The entire section is 546 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 3, Chapter 27 Summary

The farmer sitting across from Sviazhsky is not a rich man, but he is full of complaints. He is tired of farming but will never give it up; he is disgusted at the poor behavior and performance of the local peasants he hires, and he believes the local justice system is full of cheats and thieves. Sviazhsky is amused and tells the man that he, Levin, and other gentlemen are able to manage their lands quite nicely.

Levin listens to the second man’s argument that the Russian emancipation of peasants is what has ruined farming productivity. Under the serf system and with good management, the land yields nine to one; when crops are divided between farmer and serf, productivity drops and yields only three to one. Sviazhsky...

(The entire section is 545 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 3, Chapter 28 Summary

Levin is stirred by the idea that he is not alone in his dissatisfaction with the current system of managing the land. He determines that the problem can be solved and he must try to solve it. After promising his hostess to stay for another day, Levin goes to Sviazhsky’s study to gather some books on the labor question which his host offered him. As Levin is standing and reading one of the articles, Sviazhsky begins to talk to him about one of the points in the article. As Sviazhsky talks, however, Levin wonders why his friend is so interested in this particular issue and asks him a follow-up question. Sviazhsky has nothing more to offer; it is simply an interesting point to him and he has no interest at all in the why....

(The entire section is 521 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 3, Chapter 29 Summary

Carrying out Levin’s plan to revolutionize his system of farming is difficult, but he continues struggling until he achieves a result which is not astounding but is enough for him to believe it is worth the trouble. One of the major difficulties is that he does not have the luxury of stopping everything and restarting the entire process. He will have to “mend the machine” while it is in motion.

On the evening he arrives home, Levin informs his bailiff of his plan and is met with great and visible agreement that the current system is broken and must be fixed. When Levin outlines his plan for laborers to become shareholders, however, the bailiff looks despondent and offers no definite opinion before changing the...

(The entire section is 483 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 3, Chapter 30 Summary

By the end of September, all the profits for the shared work have been paid to the peasants. Levin, at least, considers the venture to be a success. Now, to finish his book and, he hopes, revolutionize his country’s political economy, Levin must travel abroad for more research. His dream is to create a new science of agriculture—a new way of looking at the relationship between people and the land. All he is waiting on is the delivery of his wheat crop.

Unfortunately, the rains begin and everything on the farm is mired in mud; all work must be stopped. Even his wheat cannot be delivered. On the last day of September, the sun is shining and Levin determines to leave. After giving a few last directions for the care of...

(The entire section is 486 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 3, Chapter 31 Summary

Levin runs down the staircase to greet his unknown visitor until he hears a familiar racking cough in the hallway. He hopes he is wrong, that it is not his brother Nikolay, but it is he. Although Levin loves his brother, being around him consistently is “torture.” Just now, in his rather depressed state of mind, he is dismayed at the thought of such a difficult visitor. Nikolay knows him well and will bully his younger brother into sharing his current thoughts, which Levin does not feel disposed to do.

Levin feels angry with himself as greets his brother affectionately, and immediately his disappointment turns to pity. Nikolay had not been well the last time Levin saw him; now he looks emaciated with sickness. As...

(The entire section is 554 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 3, Chapter 32 Summary

Nikolay’s gentleness does not last long. The next morning he begins to show his irritability and find fault with his brother. Levin blames himself and does not know how to make things right between them. He feels as if they each need to speak honestly about what they are feeling and thinking—then Levin could acknowledge that his brother is dying and Nikolay could say he is afraid. Nothing more would have to be said for them to know what is in one another’s hearts. But that is not possible, so things continue miserably for both of them; the falseness of one is detected by the other until both are exasperated.

On the third day of his visit, Nikolay induces Levin to tell him again of his plan for agricultural...

(The entire section is 523 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 4, Chapter 1 Summary

Alexey Alexandrovitch and his wife continue to live in the same house, but they are complete strangers to one another. He makes a point of seeing his wife once each day to keep up the pretense in front of the servants, but he never dines at home. Vronsky never appears at the house, but Anna Karenina sees him elsewhere and Alexey Alexandrovitch knows it. All three of them are miserable.

The only way they all tolerate their miserable circumstances for even one day is their expectation that theirs is a temporary ordeal that must be endured until things change—and they will. Alexey Alexandrovitch believes his wife’s passion for Vronsky will pass, his name will remain unsullied, and everyone will forget about the...

(The entire section is 478 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 4, Chapter 2 Summary

After leaving the prince at the rail station and returning home, Vronsky finds a note from Anna Karenina. She writes that she is ill, unhappy, and unable to leave her house; she asks him to come see her tonight between seven o'clock and ten o'clock, while Alexey Alexandrovitch is at his council meeting. For a moment, Vronsky hesitates because her husband has strictly forbidden her to have Vronsky in his home, but he decides to go.

Vronsky has gotten his promotion to colonel, left the regimental quarters, and gotten a home by himself. That afternoon, he takes a nap and immediately he dreams; many of the disgusting scenes from the past week are melding with images of Anna Karenina in a nightmarish confusion. At the end,...

(The entire section is 552 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 4, Chapter 3 Summary

Vronsky is ashamed to tell Anna Karenina he was late because he overslept, so he tells her he had to make a report about the prince’s departure and is glad the ordeal with the visiting royal is now finished. Anna Karenina picks up her crochet work and studiously avoids looking at Vronsky as she tells him she heard from one of her friends about the evenings of debauchery he spent with the prince. When he protests that he was equally sickened by the activities he was forced to arrange (in part because he was reminded of his former self), Anna Karenina begins a jealous tirade. She tells him that he and all men are disgusting and that she has no way of knowing anything except what he tells her and cannot know whether he is telling...

(The entire section is 549 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 4, Chapter 4 Summary

After Alexey Alexandrovitch met Vronsky on his doorstep, he attends the opera as planned. He stays for two acts, sees and is seen by everyone who matters to him, and returns home. He does not see Vronsky’s military overcoat on his coatrack, and so goes to his room as usual. Tonight, though, he cannot sleep, pacing the room until three o’clock.

He is furious with his wife, who has not kept the proprieties and has violated the one stipulation he gave her: not to bring her lover into his house. Because she did not comply, he must punish her by obtaining a divorce and taking away her son. It is an act fraught with difficulties, but he said he would do it and now he must follow through on his threat. He has been...

(The entire section is 546 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 4, Chapter 5 Summary

The waiting room of a famous St. Petersburg lawyer is full when Alexey Alexandrovitch arrives, and a harrowed clerk tells him he must wait his turn to see the busy lawyer. Alexey Alexandrovitch realizes it will be impossible to maintain his anonymity, so he gives the clerk his card and asks him to deliver it. The clerk is not impressed by what he reads but delivers the card.

The lawyer soon appears, a squat little man dressed as if for a wedding. His face is clever but his clothes are "dandified" and in bad taste. He invites Alexey Alexandrovitch into his office, and Alexey Alexandrovitch insists on strict privacy. The lawyer smiles and says that is the nature of his job, and it is obvious to Alexey Alexandrovitch that...

(The entire section is 547 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 4, Chapter 6 Summary

Alexey Alexandrovitch won a brilliant victory at the last Commission of the 17th of August, but a subsequent event is devastating to him. The new investigation into the condition of the native tribes was quite thorough, covering political, administrative, economic, ethnographic, material, and religious aspects. The data were gathered officially, and the recommendation was in alignment with Alexey Alexandrovitch’s contention; however, Stremov (the man who lost this battle to Alexey Alexandrovitch) has resorted to devious and unexpected tactics.

Stremov and several other members of the committee suddenly transfer their allegiance to Alexey Alexandrovitch’s position, but now Stremov proposes even more extreme measures...

(The entire section is 527 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 4, Chapter 7 Summary

It is Sunday, and Stepan Arkadyevitch attends a ballet rehearsal at the Grand Theater; afterward, he gives one of the dancers the coral necklace he had promised her the night before. He kisses her and promises to come for the last act of tonight’s ballet performance and to take her to dinner afterward. By noon, he is at the hotel where he has to see three people: Levin, who has recently returned from his travels abroad; the recently appointed head of his department; and Alexey Alexandrovitch, whom he must ensure comes home with him to dinner.

Stepan Arkadyevitch enjoys dining out, but he enjoys hosting a dinner even more. Tonight he and his wife will host several people, including Levin and Kitty Shtcherbatsky as well...

(The entire section is 503 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 4, Chapter 8 Summary

After church, Alexey Alexandrovitch spends his entire morning indoors. He has two items of business to accomplish. The first is to receive and send on to St. Petersburg a delegation from the native tribes. Though he had summoned the group, Alexey Alexandrovitch is glad he caught the delegates here because they have absolutely no idea what is expected of them.

He is horrified to discover that they naively intended to appear before the commission and outline their actual needs, report on their true condition, and ask the government for assistance. They are totally unaware that doing so would support his enemies’ contentions, so Alexey Alexandrovitch spends a long time with them and draws up an agenda to which they are...

(The entire section is 534 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 4, Chapter 9 Summary

Stepan Arkadyevitch gets home late, and several guests have already arrived. Two of Moscow’s intellectuals are there, men who are respected for their character and intelligence but who do not agree on any opinion. One of them is Levin’s brother, Sergey Ivanovitch. Also in attendance are Prince Shtcherbatsky, a young Shtcherbatsky cousin, Turovtsin (a family friend), Kitty, and Alexey Alexandrovitch. It is clear to Stepan Arkadyevitch that his wife is too worried about the children to be an effective hostess, and all of his guests are uncomfortable.

In moments he has made introductions, started conversations, and offered compliments to his guests, and the entire tone of the gathering has changed to one of liveliness...

(The entire section is 559 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 4, Chapter 10 Summary

The members of the dinner party continue to discuss the best method of influencing people toward higher development. One argues for more classical studies, such as languages and culture, while another favors the natural sciences, such as astrology, botany, and zoology. Alexey Alexandrovitch finds himself favoring the classical studies, though he sees merit in the scientific studies. Studying the classical authors is apt to promote a higher morality, though, while the study of natural sciences is associated with many of the “false and noxious” current doctrines.

Levin’s brother, Sergey Ivanovitch, finishes the argument by claiming that it is classical studies, which are distinctly antinihilistic, that have shaped...

(The entire section is 470 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 4, Chapter 11 Summary

Everyone in the room is involved in the philosophical discussions except for Levin and Kitty Shtcherbatsky. Levin should have been interested in the discussion of how people can best be influenced, as this is the very thing about which he has been thinking, studying, and writing. Instead, this topic that had once seemed so important no longer holds the slightest interest for him.

Kitty should have been intensely interested in a conversation about the rights and education of women. It is a subject she has often thought about, especially as she considers the painful dependence of her friend Varenka, whom she met while abroad. She has also wondered about her own fate if she were to remain unmarried, and she has had...

(The entire section is 446 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 4, Chapter 12 Summary

The discussion about the rights of women includes the inequality of their rights in marriage, but Stepan Arkadyevitch changes the subject while the women are present. When the ladies leave, Pestsov claims that the primary inequality between men and women in marriage is that the infidelity of women is punished differently than the infidelity of men, both by law and by public opinion. Stepan Arkadyevitch hurriedly interrupts him; however, Alexey Alexandrovitch remains calm, determined to show that he is unafraid of the subject.

Turovtsin, warmed by the wine he has drunk, joins the conversation and tells the men of the duel which had been fought earlier that day. Stepan Arkadyevitch is dismayed, fearing the conversation...

(The entire section is 541 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 4, Chapter 13 Summary

When the women left the dining room, Levin would have liked to have followed Kitty, but he was afraid she would have disliked such obvious attention from him. Instead he sits with the men but watches Kitty’s every movement in the drawing room. Levin keeps the promise he made her to think well of all men. The men’s conversation turns to the idea of a village commune, and the two scholars disagree, of course.

Thinking neither man is right, Levin tries to soften and reconcile their differences. None of the discussion matters to him; he wants only peace between them. All that is important to Levin is in the next room. Heading to the drawing room, he comes to a standstill as he sees Kitty in the doorway with her cousin,...

(The entire section is 536 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 4, Chapter 14 Summary

After Kitty leaves, Levin feels uneasy. He will see her again in just fourteen short hours, when he will pledge his life to her forever, but his emotions are so strong that he is afraid he might die before then. To pass the time, Levin needs company and Stepan Arkadyevitch is the one he would choose as the most congenial; however, his host has said he is leaving for a soiree, though he is actually going to meet his lover at the ballet.

Levin has time only to tell Stepan Arkadyevitch that he loves him and will never forget what he did to bring Kitty back to him. His host teases him about not wanting to die anymore, and Darya Alexandrovna says she is glad he has reconnected with Kitty. This annoys Levin, for she clearly...

(The entire section is 533 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 4, Chapter 15 Summary

The streets are empty as Levin arrives at the Shtcherbatsky residence; it is clear everyone is still asleep. He walks back to his hotel and orders coffee in his room. He tries to drink the coffee and eat the roll he was served, but it is as if his mouth does not quite know what to do anymore. He goes back outside for a walk and reaches the Shtcherbatskys’ for the second time at nine o’clock. The family is just rising, so Levin has to endure another two hours, at least.

That entire night and morning, Levin has felt himself living perfectly unconsciously, far above the conditions of normal material life. He has not eaten or slept for two days, and he had spent the night nearly undressed in the freezing night air, yet...

(The entire section is 462 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 4, Chapter 16 Summary

When Princess Shtcherbatsky asks Levin when the wedding will be, he tells her he would like to have the benediction and announcement today and the wedding tomorrow, but Kitty’s mother says that is quite mad. There is the trousseau to think about, among other preparations, and Levin admits he knows nothing about such things and only spoke what he would like to have happen. Before they leave the room, Kitty’s parents display affection as if it were they who shared a newly discovered love.

When they are alone, Levin and Kitty can finally say some things they have wanted to say; however, Levin tells her only that he always felt as if their being together was ordained. He does not tell her the two things he most wants...

(The entire section is 495 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 4, Chapter 17 Summary

Alexey Alexandrovitch returns to his room alone, reflecting on Darya Alexandrovna’s words about forgiveness, words that annoy him since he has already decided this Christian precept is not applicable to his situation. What he most remembers from this evening is Turovtsin’s comment that men must defend their honor by dueling. Everyone in the room tacitly agreed with that sentiment, though they did not speak the words. Alexey Alexandrovitch’s matter has been settled another way, so he tells himself it is useless to think about such things.

He receives two telegrams. The first is an announcement of Stremov’s appointment to a position Alexey Alexandrovitch coveted. He is annoyed that he was passed over for the...

(The entire section is 558 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 4, Chapter 18 Summary

Alexey Alexandrovitch has said he forgives his wife unconditionally, will never abandon her, and will never speak a word of reproach to Vronsky, and this causes a turmoil of emotions in Vronsky. He feels disgraced, humiliated, guilty, and deprived of all possibility of washing away his humiliation. He feels as if all the rules he has lived by have suddenly become false and inapplicable. Alexey Alexandrovitch had been a weak and rather ludicrous figure, but he has now been elevated to “an awe-inspiring pinnacle” of honesty, grandness, and forgiveness. Even worse, Vronsky feels as if their positions have been reversed, and he is now the base character in this drama.

Vronsky is also miserable because his feelings for...

(The entire section is 547 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 4, Chapter 19 Summary

Alexey Alexandrovitch had not expected to find his wife genuinely repentant, to forgive her—and to see her live through her illness. Two months afterward, he realizes his mistake in not being prepared for such contingencies, but until that moment at Anna Karenina’s bedside, he had not known his own heart. In forgiving her and Vronsky, Alexey Alexandrovitch was relieved of the burden of his own guilt, shame, weakness, and suffering, and he experienced a spiritual peace he had never before known. The very source of his suffering, hate, and judgment had become the source of his simple spiritual joy.

After hearing of Vronsky’s attempted suicide, Alexey Alexandrovitch pities the man even more. Alexey Alexandrovitch has...

(The entire section is 556 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 4, Chapter 20 Summary

After he sees Princess Betsy out, Alexey Alexandrovitch goes back to his wife. Anna Karenina looks frightened and has been crying. He gently tells her he appreciates her confidence in him and sits down beside her bed. He speaks in Russian, using the Russian “thou” used to denote intimacy and affection, which is insufferably irritating to Anna Karenina. Alexey Alexandrovitch says he is grateful for her decision and agrees with her that since Vronsky is going away, there is no need for him to come and say good-bye.

Unable to suppress her irritation, Anna Karenina interrupts her husband and asks why, since she has already said so, he feels he must repeat it. She thinks to herself that a man so consumed with love that...

(The entire section is 552 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 4, Chapter 21 Summary

As Princess Betsy is leaving the Karenins’ home, she is met by Stepan Arkadyevitch, who is delighted to see her. He hints to her that he is here from St. Petersburg to help his sister somehow, and Princess Betsy is thrilled. They huddle in a corner of the drawing room, and she whispers that Alexey Alexandrovitch is “killing” Anna Karenina with this impossible situation, which is being talked about by everyone in town.

It is clear Alexey Alexandrovitch does not know his wife and does not understand that she is pining for Vronsky because she is not the kind of woman who can love casually. Princess Betsy says one of two things must happen: Alexey Alexandrovitch must act decisively and either let Anna Karenina go with...

(The entire section is 541 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 4, Chapter 22 Summary

Stepan Arkadyevitch walks solemnly into Alexey Alexandrovitch’s room and finds him pacing, deep in thought about the direness of his current situation. With unaccustomed embarrassment and timidity, Stepan Arkadyevitch asks to talk to him about his sister and their current situation. With a mournful smile, Alexey Alexandrovitch picks up an unfinished letter and hands it to his brother-in-law.

He was writing a letter to express his thoughts, because he knows his presence irritates his wife. Stepan Arkadyevitch reads that Alexey Alexandrovitch is dismayed by his wife’s misery, is honest in his forgiveness of her, and is now resolved to forget the past and begin a new life with her. While he has no regret about these...

(The entire section is 550 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 4, Chapter 23 Summary

Though Vronsky’s shot did not hit his heart, he was badly wounded and vacillated between life and death for several days after the incident. When he finally opens his eyes with lucidity, Vronsky sees his sister-in-law Varya and tells her the shooting was an accident and she must never speak of it; and she is to tell everyone else the same thing on his behalf or else it is “too ridiculous.” Varya assures him that no one is suggesting otherwise, but she looks at him questioningly and hopes he will not accidentally shoot himself again. He assures her he would not do such a thing, though he says it would have been better if his aim had been true.

Vronsky is better after the shooting in one sense: his action has erased...

(The entire section is 533 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 5, Chapter 1 Summary

The wedding will take place before Lent. Though only half of Kitty’s trousseau will be finished, she has an aunt who is near death, and if the wedding does not happen soon, it will have to be further postponed by a period of family mourning. Kitty is content, knowing she will not need fancy clothing to live in the country; Levin is happy to leave all the planning to others and is guided by his brother, Stepan Arkadyevitch, and the princess. He agrees to everything they suggest, content in his state of bliss.

Kitty does not want to go abroad after the wedding, knowing how important the country is to Levin and eager to begin her new life in her new home; though Levin finds her insistence on this a bit surprising, he...

(The entire section is 548 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 5, Chapter 2 Summary

On the wedding day, Levin follows tradition and does not see his bride until the ceremony. Instead, he dines with three friends: Sergey Ivanovitch, his half-brother; Katavasov, an old university friend and current professor of natural science; and Tchirikov, his best man and hunting companion. They are an animated and original bunch.

They conduct a lively conversation regarding the benefits and drawbacks of marriage, and the general consensus of all but Levin is that being married is likely to keep a man from everything he loves, such as hunting, and take all the joy from pursuits such as farming. Levin does not want to disillusion his bachelor friends by telling them that there are wonderful things in marriage, as...

(The entire section is 537 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 5, Chapter 3 Summary

A throng primarily of women is gathered around the church, waiting for the wedding. Those who cannot fit into the building crowd and push to peek through the gratings. More than twenty carriages have arrived and more are driving up to deliver men and women in fine dress. The church is warm with color and flowers, velvets and satins, frock coats and long gloves. Quiet but lively conversations come to an abrupt halt every time the door creaks open, and everyone looks around expecting the bride and groom.

Soon the crowd realizes the ceremony is late; people watch the door apprehensively, trying to appear as if they are not worried. The head deacon coughs discreetly, as if to remind everyone his time is valuable, and the...

(The entire section is 408 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 5, Chapter 4 Summary

The crowd is thrilled Levin has arrived, and when Stepan Arkadyevitch relates what caused the delay, there are smiles and whispers. Levin is aware only of his beautiful bride. Everyone says Kitty has lost some beauty over the past year, but Levin looks only at her eyes and sweet expression and feels she is more beautiful than ever.

Kitty smiles and says she thought he might have run away. Levin is so embarrassed he cannot speak about the missing shirt. Stepan Arkadyevitch interrupts to ask a foolish question, and Kitty’s sisters fuss with her attire. Neither Kitty nor Levin give them much attention.

After the priest and deacon put on their vestments again, the priest gives Levin simple instructions about...

(The entire section is 420 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 5, Chapter 5 Summary

The elite of Moscow have gathered for the wedding of Levin and Kitty Shtcherbatsky. Around the room, hushed conversations of all kinds are being carried on by the guests. One wonders why the couple chose an evening wedding, something only “shop-people” usually do; another wonders why the bride’s oldest sister is wearing lilac, which is as bad as black at a wedding. One man remarks that it is believed that if a man acts as best man ten times, he is destined to remain unmarried; this same man also regrets he is not best man at this wedding, making it his tenth time to do so. The woman next to him only smiles at him, thinking about marrying him in the spring and reminding of him of the joke he just made. One thinks Kitty should...

(The entire section is 401 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 5, Chapter 6 Summary

After the ceremony of plighting troth is over, a pink satin cloth is placed on the ground as the choir sings a complicated song. The couple walks to the altar to meet the priest, and there is much speculation in the room about who stepped on the pink carpet first; the tradition is that the one who steps on the carpet first will be head of the household. The couple pays no attention to the crowd or the carpet as they move to the altar. (Some say he stepped on the carpet first; others say they stepped on it at the same time.)

There the priest asks the customary questions about whether they are free to marry, and their answers sound strange even to themselves. Kitty tries to listen to the prayers but is too swept away by a...

(The entire section is 406 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 5, Chapter 7 Summary

Vronsky and Anna Karenina have been traveling together for three months in Europe, and they have arrived in a small Italian town where they will stay. The rather contemptuous and condescending Italian waiter turns deferential when he sees the Russian count who has taken the hotel’s best rooms. Vronsky has changed. His hair is longer and combed over the bald patch on his head, and he is longing to find some relief from the boredom of his monotonous life.

Across the room, a gentleman waits for him; after a moment, Vronsky recognizes his old classmate Golenishtchev. The men have met only once since their days together in the Corps of Pages, and that meeting was filled with arrogance and contempt, leaving the men...

(The entire section is 552 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 5, Chapter 8 Summary

After leaving her husband and recovering her health, Anna Karenina feels “unpardonably happy” about her life. The thought of her husband’s unhappiness should poison that happiness, but it does not. While her husband’s wretchedness is too awful for her to think about, Alexey Alexandrovitch’s misery gives her too much happiness to feel any regret. Everything that happened after her illness seems a dream to her now. The reconciliation with her husband, the subsequent breakdown of that reconciliation, the news of Vronsky’s self-inflicted wound, the preparations for divorce, the departure from her home, the parting from her son—all of these things are like a delirious dream. She feels nothing but repulsion for these...

(The entire section is 555 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 5, Chapter 9 Summary

The old palazzo into which Levin and Anna Karenina are moving is old but grand in an Italian way. This setting allows Vronsky to imagine himself less as a Russian count than an Italian patron of the arts. He has abandoned everything to pursue his two passions: his art and the woman he loves.

Vronsky is satisfied for awhile, studying Medieval Italian life and painting under the guidance of an Italian professor of painting. One morning, Golenishtchev comes to visit and asks Vronsky if he has seen a painting by Mihailov, an artist who is living in the same town. Mihailov has just finished a painting which has been talked about for a long time and bought before it was ever finished. A newspaper article scolded the Russian...

(The entire section is 540 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 5, Chapter 10 Summary

Mihailov is working when the cards of Golenishtchev and Count Vronsky are delivered to him. That morning he had been working on his most famous picture, but when he arrived home he flew into a rage at his wife because she had not been able to deter the landlady who wanted the money they owed her. His wife, of course, blamed him for not letting them get so far behind on the rent, and Mihailov ends the argument by screaming at her to leave him in peace. He stalks off to his workroom and works with special fervor on a sketch he had begun.

Mihailov always did some of his best work after quarreling with his wife, and now he is making a sketch of a man in a violent rage. It is similar to a drawing he had made before,...

(The entire section is 550 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 5, Chapter 11 Summary

As Mihailov admits the visitors into his studio, he captures subtle mental impressions of each of them. He remembers Golenishtchev, though he does not remember the man’s name, where they met, or what either of them said. All Mihailov remembers is his face, just as he remembers all the faces he has ever seen. The one thing he does remember about Golenishtchev’s face is that it belongs to the immense class of men who are “falsely consequential and poor in expression.”

Vronsky and Anna Karenina seem to Mihailov to be distinguished and wealthy Russians who know nothing about art, posing as connoisseurs. He assumes they have probably already examined everything in the world of antiques and are now beginning their...

(The entire section is 555 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 5, Chapter 12 Summary

Anna Karenina and Vronsky exchange uncomfortable glances as their companion debates with the artist, and soon they walk around the studio until they stop before one small painting. Their exclamations of delight at the exquisite work capture the artist’s attention, and he wonders what they are so pleased to see.

Mihailov had forgotten about this painting that he had done three years ago and the three months of agonizing it had cost him. Once it was completed, however, he had forgotten it, just as he does all of his finished works. In fact, he does not even like to look at them again; he only has this one out because he is expecting an Englishman who wants to buy it. Even Golenishtchev is sincere in his praise for the...

(The entire section is 501 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 5, Chapter 13 Summary

Mihailov sold Vronsky his painting and agrees to paint a portrait of Anna Karenina. After just the fifth sitting, the portrait impresses everyone who sees it. Not only has Mihailov portrayed her beauty, but he has also captured her beautiful nature. Vronsky is perplexed and wonders how this stranger has discovered the “sweetest expression of her soul,” though Vronsky himself only learned that secret after seeing the portrait. Vronsky, after working so long on his own portrait of her, is amazed that Mihailov simply looks, sees, and paints.

Golenishtchev assures Vronsky he will one day be able to paint in such a way, partly because he believes Vronsky has talent and partly because he needs Vronsky’s...

(The entire section is 559 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 5, Chapter 14 Summary

After three months, Levin’s life is not as he had expected it to be. He finds his former dreams disappointed while experiencing new and unexpected surprises of happiness. Levin is happy, but family life is not what he expected it to be. It is as if he had been admiring a little boat floating on a lake and now he is in the boat, discovering that there are things he must do to maintain balance, account for the fluidity of water, steer a safe course, and deal with sore hands. Looking at it was easy; actually doing it is quite delightful but quite difficult.

He always though the petty squabbles and quarrels he had seen in other marriages were for others, and he had smiled contemptuously, knowing his married life...

(The entire section is 552 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 5, Chapter 15 Summary

Home from Moscow, Kitty and Levin have settled into their home. Levin is working on his land and his book but not as he once had. Neither of these passions has been abandoned, but his priorities have changed. Just as he once saw them as trivial and unimportant compared to the darkness of his lonely life, now farming and his book are insignificant when compared to the brilliant happiness and light of his marriage to Kitty.

Levin’s center of gravity and attention have moved to something else. At one time, his work was his escape from life, and his world would have been gloomy and dismal without it; now they are necessary so his life is not too glowingly bright. Looking at his manuscript, though, Levin is pleased to...

(The entire section is 550 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 5, Chapter 16 Summary

Levin joins his wife for tea, and Kitty is reading a letter from her sister Dolly. Agafea Mihalovna is also there, a testament to Kitty’s graciousness. After an uncomfortable beginning in which the housekeeper’s feelings were hurt by a new mistress taking over the duties of the house, Kitty has “conquered her and made her love her.” Kitty hands Levin a letter from Marya Nikolaevna, his brother Nikolay’s former mistress. This is the second letter he has received from her. In the first one, Marya assured him that Nikolay sent her away for no fault of hers, and though she was in want, all she was concerned about was that Nikolay was suffering without her help because his health was so poor. She begged Levin to look after...

(The entire section is 554 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 5, Chapter 17 Summary

The hotel was constructed as a modern building with the best intentions of cleanliness and even elegance; however, it has been diminished to a filthy, dusty, disorderly place. Levin feels a physical pain when he enters, and when he is told there is only one filthy room available, he feels anger. What he feared has happened; instead of immediately going to his brother’s bedside, Levin must worry about the conditions to which Kitty is being exposed.

Levin takes her to their room, and she tells him with guilty eyes to go to Nikolay. He leaves without a word and nearly trips over Marya Nikolaevna who heard he arrived and came to him immediately. She looks as common as she did when he last saw her, and she hesitantly asks...

(The entire section is 482 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 5, Chapter 18 Summary

Levin finds it impossible to be calm and act naturally in his dying brother’s presence. He is inescapably aware of the awful sights and smells, and it never occurs to him that anything can be done to help or change these conditions. He does not think about his brother’s body lying all huddled up under a quilt or that it might be made more comfortable. In fact, Levin is absolutely convinced there is nothing which can be done to alleviate his brother’s suffering or prolong his life in any way. Unfortunately, Nikolay senses his brother’s feeling of helplessness and is exasperated by it, making everything even worse for Levin. Being in the sick room is agony to him; not being there is even worse. Levin is constantly leaving...

(The entire section is 560 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 5, Chapter 19 Summary

Levin is like every other man of intellect, men who can talk about death and its eternal consequences but do not know how to act when faced with it. Kitty, though less intellectually developed, understands death and its significance; she knows what sort of thing life is and what death is and would not have even understood the questions Levin has about the end of life. She and millions of others like her look at death, are not frightened of it, and know without hesitation how to deal with the dying. If Levin had been here alone with his dying brother, he would have looked at him with terror and with even greater terror waited, not knowing what else to do.

Even more, Levin does not know what to say, how to look, or how to...

(The entire section is 540 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 5, Chapter 20 Summary

The next day Nikolay receives the sacrament and extreme unction; he prays with such desperate hope that it is awful for Levin to see. He understands that this will make Nikolay even bitterer about leaving this life. This sudden return to religion is not a legitimate one, inspired by his intellect; instead it is a temporary and desperate hope for recovery. As the rite is performed, Levin makes a familiar deathbed request that if God exists He should save them both.

After the ritual, Nikolay becomes suddenly much better. He seems strong and even has an appetite. Despite the fact that he seems so hopelessly ill he will never recover, Levin and Kitty are both happy in that first hour. The self-deception is short-lived when...

(The entire section is 553 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 5, Chapter 21 Summary

After Princess Betsy and Stepan Arkadyevitch explain to him that all his wife wants is for him to stay away from her, Alexey Alexandrovitch is so distraught that he can make no decisions for himself. Whenever people step in to decide things for him, he readily assents. Only after Anna Karenina has gone and the English governess asks if she should dine with him or by herself does he clearly comprehend his position—and he is appalled by it.

The most difficult thing for him is reconciling his past with his present. He is not troubled by memories of his happy past with Anna Karenina; and, though it is painful to think about, he understands his wife’s unfaithfulness. Even if she had left him after declaring her...

(The entire section is 532 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 5, Chapter 22 Summary

Though Alexey Alexandrovitch has forgotten about Countess Lidia Ivanovna, she has not forgotten about him. At his greatest moment of despair, she comes to see him and walks unannounced into his study where he is sitting with his head in his hands. She walks straight to him, takes his hand in both of hers, looks warmly into his eyes, and tells him she has heard all about his troubles. Alexey Alexandrovitch is upset, and he tells the countess he is not receiving visitors because he is unwell. The countess never takes her eyes from his, and he can see that she is about to cry in her sorrow for him. This softens Alexey Alexandrovitch, and he kisses Lidia Ivanovna’s hand.

Dropping her hand but keeping his gaze on her...

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Anna Karenina Part 5, Chapter 23 Summary

When she was a young, sentimental girl, Countess Lidia Ivanovna was married to a wealthy man of high rank. Though he was jovial and good-natured, he was also an “extremely dissipated rake” who abandoned her just two months after the marriage. When the countess protested passionately and professed her love for him, her husband mocked her and was even hostile. People who knew his good heart and her sentimental nature were at a loss to explain why the couple got divorced. They lived apart and he had his freedom, yet every time the husband met the wife he invariably treated her malignantly, though she never understood why.

The countess has long ago given up being in love with her husband, but since then she has not...

(The entire section is 544 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 5, Chapter 24 Summary

The official reception has ended and people are openly making comments about Alexey Alexandrovitch. Some say he looks older, some say he looks happier than he has ever looked; all either find fault with him or laugh at him. The man himself is blocking the exit of a member of the Imperial Council, explaining his new financial project point by point. Alexey Alexandrovitch keeps talking for fear the man should escape and he will be left alone in the crowd.

Almost at the same time Anna Karenina left him, Alexey Alexandrovitch experienced the most bitter moment in the life of an official—though he is the only one who does not know it. It is the moment when his upward career comes to a complete stop. Everyone around him...

(The entire section is 539 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 5, Chapter 25 Summary

Alexey Alexandrovitch is waiting for Lidia Ivanovna in her boudoir. When she enters they have tea, and then with some trepidation and great blushing the countess shows him the letter she received from Anna Karenina. After he reads it, Alexey Alexandrovitch sits for a long while in silence. Finally he says he does not think he has the right to refuse his wife’s request.

The countess exclaims that he sees no evil in anyone; he assures her that all he sees in this is evil. His face shows irresolution, however, and it is clear he is seeking her support and guidance in this matter which he does not completely understand. The countess is adamant that there are limits to everything and cannot understand what drives...

(The entire section is 547 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 5, Chapter 26 Summary

The day before his birthday, Seryozha cheerfully enters his house after a walk and asks the hall porter if the bandaged clerk has been here today; the tall servant winks at him good-naturedly as he tells him the man was announced as soon as was possible. Seryozha’s feeble-voiced tutor speaks but the boy does not listen; he wants to hear what happened to the bandaged man.

The clerk with the bandaged face has been to see Alexey Alexandrovitch seven times to ask various favors. Seryozha has met him twice in the hallway and now has a great interest in the man. The porter says the bandaged man was almost dancing when he left. After a short pause, Seryozha asks if anything has been left for him today, and the...

(The entire section is 513 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 5, Chapter 27 Summary

After the lesson with his tutor, Seryozha daydreams before his Bible history lesson with his father. One of the boy’s favorite things to do is to search for his mother during his walks. He does not particularly believe in death, and his recent experiences help confirm that belief: Lidia Ivanovna told him his mother was dead, his father confirmed it, he accidentally learned Anna Karenina is still alive, and the countess then explained that his mother is only dead to him because she is wicked.

Seryozha cannot believe his mother is evil, so he continues to look for her. Every woman who has Anna Karenina’s figure and dark hair is his mother, and every time he sees such a woman he is moved with tenderness. In his...

(The entire section is 549 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 5, Chapter 28 Summary

In one of the best hotels in St. Petersburg, Anna Karenina, her daughter, and maid stay in one suite of rooms. Vronsky stays in a separate room. Once they arrive, Vronsky visits his brother and finds that his mother is also there, visiting from Moscow. She and his sister-in-law visit with him as always, and neither of them mentions one word about Anna Karenina. Vronsky’s brother visits him the next day and asks about her directly. Vronsky says he considers Anna Karenina to be his wife; he hopes to secure a divorce and then marry her, and he asks his brother to report his intentions to his wife and their mother. The older brother has nothing against the arrangement, no matter what society has said, and he spends some time visiting...

(The entire section is 555 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 5, Chapter 29 Summary

One of Anna Karenina’s primary objectives in coming back to St. Petersburg is to see her son, and ever since she and Vronsky left Italy the thought of it has kept her in a constant state of agitation. The closer they get to her former home, the more important this meeting grows in her mind. She does not even bother to wonder how she will arrange a meeting, as it seems a natural and simple thing for her to see her son when she is in the same town as he. Once they arrive, however, Anna Karenina is acutely aware of her fallen position in society and realizes it could be difficult for her to see Seryozha.

It has been two days and she has not yet seen him. She feels she has no right to go to the house where she might also...

(The entire section is 475 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 5, Chapter 30 Summary

Seryozha’s tutor, Vassily Lukitch, is just growing alert enough to realize that the boy’s mother (whom he had heard about but never seen) is here with her son. Lukitch is unsure whether he should stay or go, or if he should let Alexey Alexandrovitch know his wife is here. He decides just to do his duty and go get the boy up for the day. When he opens the door and overhears part of their quiet conversation and sees their embraces, the tutor changes his mind and decides to give them ten more minutes alone.

The rest of the household is in a state of excitement, for they have all heard that their former mistress has come home. Alexey Alexandrovitch is in the habit of going to the nursery to see his son at nine o’clock...

(The entire section is 550 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 5, Chapter 31 Summary

Though she had prepared for it, Anna Karenina is stunned at how deeply seeing her son has affected her. She is too distracted to dress or eat, and only when the Italian nurse brings baby Anna to her does she exhibit some life. While she touches her happy and well fed little girl in all the affectionate and appropriate ways, Anna Karenina realizes more than ever that the feeling she has for this child cannot be called love when compared with what she feels for her son.

Everything about this baby girl is charming, but that is as far as it goes with Anna Karenina. The circumstances surrounding baby Anna’s birth had been painful, and for this little girl everything is still in the future. Though Seryozha had been born to...

(The entire section is 530 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 5, Chapter 32 Summary

When Vronsky returns home, Anna Karenina is not there. The servants tell him that a lady came and they left together. He is unsettled that she left without leaving word about where she was going, that she has not yet returned, and that she had gone somewhere that morning without telling him anything about it. All of these things add to his recollection of her hostile tone when they last saw one another, her grabbing the pictures of her son from his hand earlier in the day, and the strange look of excitement on her face that morning. He begins thinking seriously and decides he absolutely must speak with her openly.

Anna Karenina does not return alone. She brings with her an old, unmarried aunt with whom she had been...

(The entire section is 545 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 5, Chapter 33 Summary

For the first time, Vronsky feels anger—almost hatred—toward Anna Karenina for willfully refusing to understand her own position. This anger is aggravated by his own inability to tell her what he is thinking: that she will be issuing an open challenge to society which will cut her off from it forever. He wonders how she cannot see this obvious truth for herself. His respect for her has diminished while his appreciation of her beauty has intensified. Vronsky goes down to his room and paces, thinking about everyone in society who will be at the theater tonight; from every point of view, Anna Karenina’s going is “stupid.” In despair, he wonders why she is determined to put him in this position.

He leaves for the...

(The entire section is 532 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 6, Chapter 1 Summary

Darya Alexandrovna and her children spend the summer with her sister, Kitty Levin. Her own house in the area is in ruins, and both Kitty and Levin persuaded her to spend the summer with them. Stepan Arkadyevitch is happy with the arrangement. Though his duties keep him in Moscow much of the time, he does come to the country to visit his family for several days at a time throughout the summer. The old princess also spends her summer in the country, seeing it as her duty to oversee her inexperienced daughter’s pregnancy. And, as she promised to do when she married, Kitty’s friend from abroad, Varenka, comes to visit.

All of these visitors are from Kitty’s side of the family, and Levin often regrets not being able to...

(The entire section is 490 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 6, Chapter 2 Summary

The old princess and her two daughters are on the terrace while the others are out hunting for mushrooms. They enjoy sitting there after dinner where they knit and sew baby clothes, a task which is keeping them all busy these days. This afternoon, Agafea Mihalovna is also making jam on the terrace. She has to do this job in the ladies’ presence because she refused to make jam using the method which Kitty always used in her home. Now, to prove that the method works, in their presence the housekeeper is angrily stirring the raspberries over the charcoal stove and hoping they would not cook properly.

While the jam is being made and the women are watching stealthily, they talk about what gifts they give their servants....

(The entire section is 524 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 6, Chapter 3 Summary

Kitty is glad to have an opportunity to talk with her husband privately, as she had seen his face when he realized the women on the terrace were talking about something they did not want him to hear. Levin has already forgotten the incident and is simply enjoying the walk with his wife. The thought of her approaching motherhood is never far from his mind, and he only wants to hear her talk; there is a new softness and seriousness in her voice, as if she is always concentrating on “some cherished pursuit.”

Kitty tells him she loves her family but misses the quiet evenings they spent by the fire last winter. Both are content at this moment, though, and Kitty broaches the subject of the earlier uncomfortable moment....

(The entire section is 462 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 6, Chapter 4 Summary

Varenka has never looked more beautiful to Sergey Ivanovitch. She is surrounded by children and is happily looking after them; there is a visible excitement at the possibility of receiving a declaration of love from the man she cares for and he finds her utterly attractive. He cannot stop admiring her and knows he has not felt this way except for once when he was very young. This feeling of happiness at being near her continues to grow until he looks straight into her flushed face and smiles. It is a smile that “says too much.”

Sergey Ivanovitch decides he must have time to think things over and make up his mind rather than act like a boy and react to the impulse of the moment. He walks about forty feet away and...

(The entire section is 549 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 6, Chapter 5 Summary

As he walks toward Varenka, Sergey Ivanovitch rehearses what he will say when he asks for her hand in marriage. It is a pretty speech. He approaches the woman he loves; she sees him coming and is glad. She is thronged by the children and only gets up to point out a mushroom to one of them, moving closer to the man she loves. They walk a few steps in silence, and Varenka senses that he wants to speak to her. She guesses what he would like to say and feels both joy and panic.

They have walked far enough away now that no one can hear them, but still Sergey Ivanovitch does not speak. It would have been better if Varenka had remained silent, for after silence it would have been easier for them to speak their hearts. But...

(The entire section is 543 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 6, Chapter 6 Summary

While the children have their tea, the grownups sit on the balcony and talk as if nothing significant has happened; however, all of them (and especially Sergey Ivanovitch and Varenka) are quite aware that something momentous, though negative, has transpired. Levin and Kitty are especially happy and conscious of their love that evening.

The old princess is sure that her husband will not be with Stepan Arkadyevitch when he arrives on the train from Moscow, though he had written that he might come. If he does not come, Kitty’s mother says with a sigh that she will be going home to keep her husband company. The emotion in her voice is real; her daughters do not know that though she has been happy and felt useful here, she...

(The entire section is 553 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 6, Chapter 7 Summary

Levin only returns when he is called to supper. Kitty and the housekeeper are talking about wines, and Kitty is telling her that Stepan Arkadyevitch only drinks a certain kind. Levin walks right past her, though she tries to stop him. In the dining room, Stepan Arkadyevitch and Veslovsky talk with him about hunting. Both men are rather insolent and act far too familiar in a home that is not their own. They decide to hunt early in the morning, and the two guests suggest that all three of them should stay up all night so they can leave early. Dolly ironically says her husband is very good at that.

Stepan Arkadyevitch announces that Veslovsky has been to stay with Anna Karenina, and the Shtcherbatsky women are all eager to...

(The entire section is 551 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 6, Chapter 8 Summary

The next day, before the ladies get up, the men prepare to go hunting. The first to appear is Veslovsky, dressed impeccably and greeted by Levin’s dog Laska. The next hunter is Stepan Arkadyevitch with his dog, He is dressed in much more rustic hunting clothes, and Veslovsky is surprised. He had no idea until now that it is the custom of sportsmen to dress in tatters but have the best shooting equipment; now that he knows, he vows he will adopt the custom. Veslovsky asks about their host, and Stepan Arkadyevitch says Levin had come downstairs ready to go but must have run back upstairs to his young wife.

That is what Levin did, wanting to be sure that Kitty has truly forgiven him for his idiocy of the night before. He...

(The entire section is 537 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 6, Chapter 9 Summary

The hunters will arrive at the hunting grounds towards evening and do a little shooting; tomorrow they will continue on to better hunting grounds. They may be able to stop and do some shooting along the way, but it is hot and there may be nothing to shoot. It is a bit of a lie, for Levin can shoot anytime in these smaller spots, and he is hoping to pass them by without notice. Unfortunately, Stepan Arkadyevitch has a trained eye, and he spies some reeds. Before they can even stop, the dogs have already flown one bird. Levin hopes they find nothing but little birds so they can move on, and that is what happens. Nevertheless, the two visitors enjoy it immensely.

The horses take off with a start, and Levin bumps his head...

(The entire section is 544 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 6, Chapter 10 Summary

Veslovsky drove too fast and they arrive at the marsh too early, for it is still hot. This is their primary hunting ground for the day, and Levin considers how he can free himself of Veslovsky. Stepan Arkadyevitch is thinking the same thing; and when Levin explains that they must split into two parties, he quickly says with apparent carelessness that he will go to one side and Levin and Veslovsky can go to the other. Veslovsky is excited, and Levin can do nothing but agree.

Levin is familiar with his dog’s hunting habits and tells Veslovsky to walk beside him rather than splashing through the water behind him. Since the accidental shot in the carriage, Levin feels a distinct interest in where the man’s gun is...

(The entire section is 546 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 6, Chapter 11 Summary

Veslovsky is waiting for them at the peasant hut where Levin usually stays. He has been fed and given drink by the happy peasants, and Veslovsky is still marveling at their generosity to him. The hut is filthy with the mud and stench of the marsh, but the hunters eat their tea and eat their supper with great relish. After washing, they go to the hay barn which has been readied for them. Though it is dusk, none of them is ready to sleep.

Stepan Arkadyevitch tells them about a delightful hunting trip he participated in last summer. It was lavish party hosted by a well known capitalist who made his fortune by speculation in railway stocks. Levin wonders how such people do not disgust his brother-in-law, for such...

(The entire section is 532 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 6, Chapters 12-13 Summary

Levin tries to wake his companions very early but has no success, so he dresses and goes out to hunt on his own. Laska runs eagerly ahead of him and Levin enjoys a pleasant but dewy walk to reach the marshes. He lets Laska run, and soon she is excited at the scent of the bird she loves most to find in the marshes. Though she cannot find them right away, the dog starts to circle the area in which she senses them. Suddenly her master calls her off and points her in another direction. Laska is confused because the spot to which he points is covered with water and there could be nothing there.

Levin repeats his command in an angry voice and Laska obeys. Now that she is redirected, Laska picks up the scent again until she knows...

(The entire section is 466 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 6, Chapter 14 Summary

At ten o’clock the next day, Levin knocks on the door to Veslovsky’s room. The man is just finishing his morning ablutions and is only wearing his underclothes. He is ashamed that the ladies are already up and asks Levin to show him his stables. After their walk, Levin escorts his guest back to the house where the ladies are sitting in the drawing room.

Veslovsky immediately finds Kitty and tells her they had a delightful time. Levin watches and says to himself that the man has to say something to his hostess, but again he fancies he sees something in the man’s smile and “all-conquering air” with which he addresses Kitty.

The old princess calls Levin over to her and begins to talk to him about...

(The entire section is 557 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 6, Chapter 15 Summary

Levin seeks out his sister-in-law for advice and finds her quite upset at the mischief one of her daughters has been in; when she is finally calm, Levin says he and Kitty have quarreled twice since the two men have arrived. Dolly looks at him shrewdly, comprehending what he means, and asks if Veslovsky has done something which a husband might find offensive. If so, the world says it is simply the way of young men and he, as Kitty’s husband, should be flattered that his wife is the object of such attention.

Both Dolly and Stepan Arkadyevitch have noticed the behavior, and Levin says he must send the man away. Dolly suggests that it would be better if her husband simply takes him away, since Veslovsky does not “fit...

(The entire section is 538 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 6, Chapter 16 Summary

Darya Alexandrovitch is going to visit Anna Karenina, though she knows it might be hurtful to Levin and Kitty who are justified in not wanting anything to do with Vronsky. In order to be independent of them for this journey, Dolly arranges to hire horses from the village. When Levin hears this, he is distraught that she did not tell him and insists that she take his horses. Finally she agrees to accept his offer. Levin is aware of Dolly’s financial stresses, and he is not sure the village horses would get her there safely. In truth, providing four horses and their relays is a strain on his resources, as he has to provide horses for both Kitty’s mother and the midwife; however, he feels he must do it.

Dolly leaves...

(The entire section is 554 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 6, Chapter 17 Summary

The carriage nears Vronsky’s family estate and is met by working peasants who give them the final directions. Dolly learns that many visitors arrived at the manor house yesterday and more are to come. Though the peasants ask her business, she does not tell them. Vronsky and Anna Karenina are home, and the carriage continues to their house.

The coachman is about to make the required turn when he is stopped by a peasant directing his attention to some approaching riders moving at a walking pace. They are Vronsky with a jockey, Anna Karenina and Veslovsky on horseback, and Princess Varvara and Sviazhsky in a small carriage; they have been to see a new reaping machine. Dolly is impressed by her sister-in-law. Anna...

(The entire section is 530 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 6, Chapter 18 Summary

Anna Karenina looks at her sister-in-law and sees a worn face with dust from the road settled into the wrinkles and wants to tell her that she is thinner; however, she knows that in contrast she has gotten prettier, and she can see in Dolly’s eyes that she has noticed. So, she sighs and says Dolly must be wondering how she can be so happy in such an unconventional situation. Anna Karenina only knows that something wonderful has happened to her. After living through misery and dread for many years, she is now happy.

Dolly is glad for her sister-in-law’s happiness, but when she tells her so it is with a colder voice than she intends. Anna Karenina has not written because she did not have the courage to do so in her...

(The entire section is 537 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 6, Chapter 19 Summary

Darya Alexandrovitch scans her room. Everything in it gives her the impression of wealth and sumptuousness, the kind of modern European luxury she has read about in English novels but had never seen in Russia. Everything is new and expensive. The maid who comes to help Dolly get settled is more fashionable than she is and is well suited to her surroundings. Dolly likes the maid’s neatness and her deferential manners, but she feels ill at ease and even ashamed when the woman unpacks Dolly’s clothing. Her old, patched dressing jacket had been packed by mistake, and here the patches and darned places seem quite out of place. (At home she is quite proud of her thriftiness, as she has to make every shilling count.)


(The entire section is 555 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 6, Chapter 20 Summary

Anna Karenina brings Dolly to see Princess Varvara on the terrace then leaves to gather everyone else. The princess explains that she is here because she has always cared more for Anna Karenina than her sister (the one who had raised Anna Karenina), and now that everyone else has abandoned her she feels it is her duty to help her through this difficult time of transition. Once Alexey Alexandrovitch gives her a divorce, the princess will return to her solitary life; for now, though, she is doing her duty. She cites other couples in such circumstances who have since been received back into society. She praises Vronsky for his lovely home and all the good he does for the village.

Their conversation is interrupted when Anna...

(The entire section is 515 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 6, Chapter 21 Summary

Vronsky asks to walk Dolly home so they can have “a little talk,” and an astonished Dolly says she would be delighted. Dolly’s imagination thinks of many requests Vronsky might make of her: to bring her children and come stay with them, to create a circle of friends who will accept Anna Karenina in Moscow, to talk about his part in Kitty’s illness. All of them are unpleasant but none of them are correct.

Because she has so much influence with Anna Karenina, he asks for Dolly’s help. That is all he says for a long while as they walk in silence. Finally he says that he believes Dolly came to visit not because she thinks their situation is normal but because despite their circumstances she loves Anna Karenina and...

(The entire section is 552 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 6, Chapter 22 Summary

Anna Karenina wonders what Dolly and Vronsky talked about but does not ask. They do not have time to talk before dinner. The meal in the dining room and everything about both the room and the meal are even more sumptuous and modern than the rest of the house. As a good household manager, Dolly scrutinizes every detail. None of the men she knows, including her husband, would ever even consider such a thing, believing that it all simply happened without any cost or trouble to themselves. The organization and attention to details in this household is maintained by Vronsky.

Anna Karenina’s only obligation is conducting the conversation. This is a rather difficult task given the diversity of people at the table, but she...

(The entire section is 551 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 6, Chapter 23 Summary

Anna Karenina comes to Dolly’s room. Several times throughout the day, Anna Karenina started to speak about important things but had stopped, saying they will talk later; however, now that the time is here she does not know what to talk about. Finally she begins by asking if Kitty is angry with her.

Dolly assures Anna Karenina that Kitty feels no anger toward her, though she may not have forgiven her. The conversation wanders a bit, and it is clear that Anna Karenina does not want to talk about anything too serious. Dolly finally begins, and Anna Karenina interrupts to ask what Dolly thinks of her and this life. Before Dolly can make a complete answer, Anna Karenina reminds her that she is seeing them at their best....

(The entire section is 557 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 6, Chapter 24 Summary

Dolly says she must legalize her position, but Anna Karenina does not want to talk about anything concerning her husband. When Dolly tells her she should not always take a gloomy view of things, Anna Karenina insists she is always cheerful—and she even has an admirer in Veslovsky. Dolly says she is not impressed with the man’s tone, but Anna Karenina insists he is just a boy and she has him quite under control. Suddenly the conversation turns again, and she tells Dolly that there is not one moment when she does not think about marrying Vronsky and it is likely to drive her mad. She often has to take morphine to sleep.

They finally talk about divorce. Anna Karenina says she has thought about it a thousand times and...

(The entire section is 552 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 6, Chapter 25 Summary

Vronsky and Anna Karenina spend the summer and part of the winter in the country. Nothing has changed. There has been no divorce, and they both know they should not go away; however, they both feel like the longer they live alone without guests in the house, the less they can bear their lives. Something must change.

It appears that their lives are perfect. They have the best of everything in abundance, they have a child, and they stay busy. Anna Karenina pays attention to her appearance whether she has guests or not, and she does a great deal of reading. She reads novels which have been praised in foreign papers, but she also reads books and journals about any subject which interests Vronsky. She becomes so...

(The entire section is 552 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 6, Chapter 26 Summary

Levin leaves for Moscow in September for Kitty’s confinement. After a month of being there with little to do, his brother Sergey Ivanovitch, who owns property in Kashinsky province, invites him to attend the provincial elections. Levin has other business to conduct along the way, but he does not want to leave Kitty in her condition. He agrees only after Kitty urges him to go and after she purchases him, on her own, the proper nobleman’s uniform.

He spends six days doing his business; it is impossible to get anything accomplished quickly because all the district officials are consumed with preparations for the elections. It is a long, frustrating experience for Levin; however, he has changed since he has been...

(The entire section is 554 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 6, Chapter 27 Summary

The election of the marshal of the entire province takes place on the sixth day, and the room is overflowing with noblemen in all sorts of uniforms. Many of them came just for this day and have not seen one another in four years, since the last elections. These noblemen are grouped at various discussion tables and they grow silent when someone walks by; each group clearly has its secrets. By appearance, there are two categories of nobles: the older group in their old-fashioned (and often too tight) uniforms and the younger men, among whom are some court uniforms, as well.

But this division of young and old does not correspond with their political views, for there are both old and young nobles on both sides. Levin is...

(The entire section is 412 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 6, Chapter 28 Summary

Levin is unable to hear everything distinctly due to all the noise of people around him, but he knows there is a disagreement about the interpretation of some act and the meaning of the exact words “liable to be called up for trial.” The disagreement continues until Sergey Ivanovitch, waiting until the angry gentleman has finished speaking, makes his way to the table through the crowd which parts for him. He says the best solution to the problem is to read the actual act, and he sends the secretary to find it. The act says that if there is a disagreement, there must be a ballot.

As Sergey Ivanovitch reads the act and begins to explain it, a large, whiskered nobleman advances to the table, strikes it, and shouts...

(The entire section is 538 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 6, Chapter 29 Summary

Great excitement is in the room as the leaders of both parties gather their troops like generals preparing for battle. They have reckoned every vote and are getting ready for the fight. Many noblemen are relaxing before the voting, but Levin does not want to eat, smoke, or join his friends, for he sees that Vronsky has joined their group. Levin saw Vronsky yesterday and assiduously avoided him. Now he sits with one lone, toothless old man who also has no interest in the proceedings.

First Levin hears a few gentlemen complaining near him. Next a crowd of country gentlemen hurriedly come near, obviously looking for a place where they can talk in private and spew their grievances. Another group is following a drunken...

(The entire section is 551 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 6, Chapter 30 Summary

Sviazhsky introduces Levin to his friends. This time Levin cannot avoid Vronsky, as he is standing with Stepan Arkadyevitch and Sergey Ivanovitch. Vronsky is quick to extend his hand and says he remembers meeting Levin at Princess Shtcherbatsky’s. Levin blushes, says he remembers, and turns to talk to his brother. Vronsky continues his conversation oblivious to Levin, but Levin keeps thinking about how he might “gloss over” his blushing.

Levin asks about what is happening in the election process, but his questions simply demonstrate his complete lack of understanding of the process. Stepan Arkadyevitch winks at Vronsky, suggesting this is as exciting as a race one might bet on. Vronsky sets his jaw and says it...

(The entire section is 510 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 6, Chapter 31 Summary

The newly elected marshal and his faction dine with Vronsky that night. Vronsky had come to the elections because he was bored and needed to assert his independence from Anna Karenina. He also wanted to repay Sviazhsky for all his help in his district election; he did not expect to find the elections so exhilarating and now knows he would be quite good at this business.

Vronsky is new to the province, but already he has obtained a certain influence among his peers. His success is due to his wealth and reputation; to the fact that he has borrowed a fine house in town and brought his excellent cook with him; and to his long-time friendship (they were schoolmates) with the governor. But more importantly, it is his direct,...

(The entire section is 551 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 6, Chapter 32 Summary

Before Vronsky left, Anna Karenina realized that their bitter parting scenes would push him away from her rather than attach him to her. She resolved to remain composed at this parting; however, his look was so cold that her “peace of mind was destroyed.”

Later, she concludes what she always does—that she has been humiliated. She grows bitter that he has every right to go away, to leave her, and she has none. Knowing that she is trapped, he should not go. Instead he looks at her coldly, and she believes it reflects the beginning of his indifference to her. The only option she can see to end the misery of her sleepless nights and her fears that he will stop loving her is divorce and...

(The entire section is 553 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 7, Chapter 1 Summary

The Levins have been in Moscow for three months, but Kitty is no closer to delivery than she was two months ago. The doctor, the nurse, Dolly, Kitty’s mother, and especially Levin are growing impatient and uneasy; Kitty is the only one who feels “perfectly calm and happy.” She already feels an uncanny love for her unborn child; this child is both part of her and independent of her. Everyone she loves is here, and everything around her is so utterly pleasant that she could have wished to live this life always. The only thing which spoils this life for her is that Levin does not act here as he does in the country.

In the country, Levin is serene, friendly, and hospitable; in the city he is always uneasy and on his...

(The entire section is 552 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 7, Chapter 2 Summary

Levin is leaving for the day. He will dine at the club with Kitty’s father and meet with Katavasov, who has promised to introduce him to Metrov, a distinguished man of science her from St. Petersburg. He might also go to the court to do some business. He is not particularly excited about going to the concert, but Kitty encourages him to go. Levin will be back for dinner, so he will decide then. Her final request is that he go visit Countess Bola to reciprocate a visit.

Dismayed at the thought, Levin asks if it is absolutely necessary that he make this social call. He always feels awkward and uncomfortable and sees such perfunctory visits as a boring waste of time. Kitty laughs at him and says it is such an easy thing...

(The entire section is 545 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 7, Chapter 3 Summary

While in Moscow, Levin spent a lot of time with his old friend at the university, Professor Katavasov. While they have differences, Levin appreciates Katavasov’s clarity of thought and Katavasov enjoys Levin’s “abundance of untrained ideas.” After reading some of Levin’s book and liking it, the professor told Levin he would like to introduce him to Metrov, who is also interested in Levin’s work.

Now Levin has arrived for that meeting, and the three talk first about the latest war news. When the other two men disagree on what they have heard the Tsar might have said, Levin imagines a scenario in which both of them can be right. They quickly change the topic of conversation to Levin’s book. Katavasov is...

(The entire section is 521 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 7, Chapter 4 Summary

Kitty’s older sister Natalia is married to Lvov. Just a year before, he left the diplomatic service and was transferred to the department of the court so he could ensure his sons the best possible education. There was no unpleasantness when he left. Lvov never has any unpleasantness with anyone. He is a refined and rather delicate gentleman, and his glistening silver hair gives him an aristocratic appearance. Though the two men are nothing alike in their habits and views and Lvov is older than Levin, the two men saw each other often over the winter and like one another very much.

Levin’s brother-in-law greets him warmly and the men talk politics for a bit, and then Levin shares his discussion with Metrov and the...

(The entire section is 508 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 7, Chapter 5 Summary

Levin and Natalia see two interesting performances at the concert. One is a fantasia titled King Lear and the other is a quartet dedicated to the memory of Bach. Both are new and done in the newest style, so Levin is eager to form an opinion of them. After escorting his sister-in-law to her seat, Levin stands against a column and tries to listen as attentively as possible. He tries to eliminate all distractions and merely listen to the music; he does not watch the gesticulating conductor or the great ladies in their fancy bonnets who are undoubtedly thinking of everything except the music. He tries to avoid getting trapped in conversations of any kind and simply looks at the floor in front of him and listens.


(The entire section is 483 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 7, Chapter 6 Summary

Levin is unlucky, for the Countess Bola is at home when he goes to call on her. In the drawing room are two of the countess’s daughters and a Moscow colonel whom Levin knows. After greeting them, Levin sits uncomfortably beside the sofa with his hat on his knees. He and the colonel discuss Kitty’s health, the death of a society woman, and the concert. When the countess arrives, they talk about the same things.

Because he does not care what anyone in this room thinks of him, he begins repeating everything they had undoubtedly already heard hundreds of time about the characteristics of the young opera star who is so much the rage at the moment. When he finally falls silent, the colonel talks about opera and culture....

(The entire section is 542 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 7, Chapter 7 Summary

Levin reaches the club at just the right time. It is a place he has not been to since he lived in Moscow, left the university, and was entering society. It is a place of great tradition, and everything feels the same to him now. Levin feels a rush of familiarity; this is a place of “repose, comfort, and propriety.” The porter, older now than when Levin had first come here, opens the door for him and greets him personally.

The dining room is noisy and full of people; every table is nearly full. As he walks, Levin sees people of every kind, some of whom he knows well and others he only knows a little. Not one face shows worry or unhappiness; they all seem to have left their cares and anxieties at the porter’s room...

(The entire section is 505 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 7, Chapter 8 Summary

Levin feels particularly at ease as he is leaving and he is met by his father-in-law who wants to show him the club. Prince Shtcherbatsky knows Levin is looking around and seeing many old men who have been coming to the club for years. The name for such men, those who have made the club their primary source of socialization and amusement in their later years, is shlupik, and the prince tells Levin a humorous story about one of them.

As they talk and greet old friends, Levin and Shtcherbatsky walk through all the rooms. There are rooms for playing cards, chess, and billiards, and other rooms are dedicated to reading or intellectual conversation. One of the prince’s card party comes to retrieve him, so Levin...

(The entire section is 409 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 7, Chapter 9 Summary

The porter calls loudly for Stepan Arkadyevitch’s carriage and soon he and Levin are on their way to visit Anna Karenina. Soon after driving away from the clubhouse, Levin’s mood of repose and comfort dissipates and he is aware of the jarringly bumpy roads beneath them and the raucous sounds on the streets outside the carriage. Now Levin begins to wonder if this was a prudent thing to do and what Kitty will say.

As if sensing his doubts, Stepan Arkadyevitch addresses them. He reminds Levin that Dolly has wanted him to meet Anna Karenina for a long time, Lvov has been to see her, and he knows Levin will find her a remarkable woman. Her position is quite painful now, especially, as she is in the midst of negotiating a...

(The entire section is 546 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 7, Chapter 10 Summary

Anna Karenina rises with unconcealed pleasure to meet Levin. As she holds out her hand to him, introduces him to her other guest, and indicates a young girl in the room whom she calls her pupil, Levin recognizes and likes the manners of a well bred woman, always self-possessed and natural. Anna Karenina’s words assume a special significance for Levin. She tells him she has liked him for a long time, both for his friendship with her brother and because she thinks so highly of Kitty.

Levin feels immediately at ease with her and feels as if he is making a positive impression. Stepan Arkadyevitch and his sister share a few pleasantries as Levin continues to examine the portrait. He looks from the likeness to the original,...

(The entire section is 524 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 7, Chapter 11 Summary

As he leaves Anna Karenina, Levin is thinking that she is a marvelous, sweet, but unhappy woman. She is clever, but it is not her cleverness which has won him over; it is her depth of feeling. Levin spends his journey home thinking of her.

At home Levin reads two letters. The first is from his bailiff, telling Levin they cannot sell the corn, for the price is much too low right now. The second is from his sister, scolding him for not yet completing her business. He quickly decides they must sell the corn, even at such a low price. This is usually the kind of weighty decision which Levin ponders for a long time, but he decides this immediately and without any painful deliberation. Levin knows his sister is right, but he...

(The entire section is 553 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 7, Chapter 12 Summary

Once her guests leave, Anna Karenina paces the room. She had done her utmost to arouse in Levin a feeling of love, something she has been doing lately with all young man. She knows she attained her goal, as much as is possible in one evening with a conscientious married man. She likes Levin very much; though he and Vronsky are nothing alike in many ways, she sees something they have in common which makes her able to love both men. Yet, as soon as Levin is gone, she does not think of him again.

Only one thought consumes her: if so many other men can fall so easily and devotedly in love with her, why is Vronsky so cold to her. Though he does love her, there is something new which is drawing them apart. Why, for example,...

(The entire section is 553 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 7, Chapter 13 Summary

Levin now believes there are no conditions which a man cannot become used to if he sees that everyone around him is living in those conditions. Three months ago, he would not have believed that he could have slept soundly after a day like he had today. He is living an aimless, irrational life, and today he lived beyond his means, drank to excess, formed an excessively friendly relationship with a man with whom his wife was once in love, called on what society has called a “lost woman,” and became fascinated with that woman which caused his wife to become distressed. All of that, yet Levin’s sleep is untroubled.

He is awakened by the creak of a door at five o’clock and jumps up and looks around. Kitty is not in...

(The entire section is 554 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 7, Chapter 14 Summary

The doctor’s servant tells Levin the doctor was up late the night before and gave instructions not to be awakened. After some impatient waiting, Levin decides to send his carriage for another doctor while he goes to the pharmacist for the requested opium. If, by the time he returns from his errand, the doctor is not awake, Levin will bribe the servant to wake him. The apothecary is wary of giving opium to him, but Levin finally just grabs it from him and goes back to the doctor, who is still asleep. Levin deliberately bribes the footman with a ten-rouble note and the reminder that the doctor has promised to come any time he is needed and would not be happy to know he was not informed of the need. The servant goes to wake the...

(The entire section is 520 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 7, Chapter 15 Summary

Levin does not know whether it is late or early. The candles have all burned out and Levin has slept for a bit. He panics when he hears an unearthly scream, but the doctor listens and smiles approvingly. Everything is so extraordinary than nothing strikes Levin as strange in this moment. The scream has subsided, but something has changed. The women are suddenly intent on Kitty, and when Levin sees her he is convinced that Kitty will not survive this ordeal. She tries to comfort him and tell him she is not afraid, but when a sudden paroxysm of pain strikes her, she yells at him to go away for she is dying.

Though everyone tries to comfort him, Levin knows it is all over for his wife. He had long ago stopped caring for...

(The entire section is 428 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 7, Chapter 16 Summary

At ten o’clock, the old prince, Stepan Arkadyevitch, and Sergey Ivanovitch are sitting with Levin in his home. After ascertaining that Kitty is well, the men talk about other things. Levin hears them, but yesterday seems a hundred years ago to him and he studiously brings himself down from the heights of ecstasy to talk with them so he does not hurt their feelings. Even as he talks, though, all he can think about is his wife and the son he almost believes exists. He thinks differently about all women now, and their position is so exalted that it is almost beyond his imagining. As the men talk about yesterday’s dinner, Levin wonders what is happening with her now, what she is thinking, and whether the baby, Dmitri, is crying. In...

(The entire section is 532 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 7, Chapter 17 Summary

Financially, Stepan Arkadyevitch is in serious trouble. The money for two-thirds of the forest land he sold is already gone; he has borrowed against the remaining third at ten percent interest, The merchant will not give him any more, as Darya Alexandrovna has asserted herself for the first time, insisting that it is her property and she will not sign the receipt for payment of the remaining third. All of Stepan Arkadyevitch’s salary goes to household expenses and unavoidable small debts which must be paid. There is absolutely no money.

Stepan Arkadyevitch finds this situation awkward and embarrassing, and he believes something must change. The only thing he knows to change is his salary. His position was perfectly...

(The entire section is 536 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 7, Chapter 18 Summary

Stepan Arkadyevitch finally broaches the subject of his sister’s divorce. As soon as he hears Anna Karenina’s name, Alexey Alexandrovitch’s face loses all of its life and looks weary and dead. He asks what Anna Karenina wants from him specifically. Stepan Arkadyevitch asks the man to have pity on her and for her awful position in society.

In a high, almost shrill voice, Alexey Alexandrovitch says he would have thought she would have everything she desired for herself. She has refused the divorce if he retains custody of their son, and Alexey Alexandrovitch shrieks that the matter is finished. Ever the statesman, Stepan Arkadyevitch speaks calmly about his sister’s position.

She is quite aware of the...

(The entire section is 497 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 7, Chapter 19 Summary

Stepan Arkadyevitch is about to leave when Seryozha is announced into his father’s study. Anna Karenina had asked him to try to get custody of her son in the divorce, but Stepan Arkadyevitch knows now that will never happen. Nevertheless, he is glad for the opportunity to see his nephew. Before the boy enters, Alexey Alexandrovitch begs him not to mention Anna Karenina’s name to the boy, as they never speak of her.

After his mother’s last visit, Seryozha had been so upset they had actually feared for his life. With “rational treatment” and sea-bathing in the summer, he has regained his strength and the doctor has finally allowed the boy to return to school. School and the companionship of others have been good...

(The entire section is 556 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 7, Chapter 20 Summary

Stepan Arkadyevitch does not waste his time in St. Petersburg. After he does the few things he came here to do, he spends his time refreshing himself from what he calls the “mustiness of Moscow.” When his stresses get too heavy, he likes coming here to renew himself. One of his friends in St. Petersburg is Prince Tchetchensky. The prince has two families, one of them illegitimate; he even takes his oldest son from his first family when he spends time with the second family, saying it is good for the boy because it enlarges his ideas. This kind of thing would never be tolerated in Moscow.

In St. Petersburg, the children go to school and their lives do not supersede their parents’ lives as they do in Moscow. Here...

(The entire section is 551 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 7, Chapter 21 Summary

After a sumptuous meal and a great deal of cognac, Stepan Arkadyevitch is only slightly late for his appointment at Countess Lidia’s. Alexey Alexandrovitch and Count Bezzubov are already there, and Stepan Arkadyevitch intends to make a good impression, both to gain his sister’s divorce and a recommendation for the appointment he is seeking. Though it is still light outside, the drawing room is nearly dark and Alexey Alexandrovitch is talking quietly with Countess Lidia. Across the room, a very thin, pale, and handsome man is standing and examining the portraits on the wall.

Countess Lidia introduces her guest to the count and he immediately goes back to gazing at the portraits; Alexey Alexandrovitch and Countess...

(The entire section is 460 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 7, Chapter 22 Summary

Stepan Arkadyevitch is completely nonplussed by the strange talk about religious matters. Though he is generally inspired and stimulated by his time in St. Petersburg as it rouses him from his “Moscow stagnation,” this experience is disconcerting to him. As Countess Lidia reads and as Landau’s eyes are focused on him, Stepan Arkadyevitch is aware of a peculiar heaviness in his head.

The story has something to do with a dead child and faith, and these images combine with others in his head to create great confusion. He is growing quite sleepy and even finds himself on the verge of snoring when he hears the countess say that he is asleep. He starts, guilty at being caught, but her comment referred to Landau. While...

(The entire section is 514 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 7, Chapter 23 Summary

In a family, there must either be complete division or loving agreement. If the couple is vacillating, nothing will be accomplished or changed. Even if both are miserable, they will generally do nothing because they have neither complete agreement nor complete disagreement between them. Both Vronsky and Anna Karenina find life in Moscow impossible during the summer, but they do not go to the country. They stay in the place they both loathe because there is no agreement between them.

There is no external cause for their disagreement, and everything they do to ameliorate it only makes it worse. In fact, any attempts to come to an understanding create more irritation. She is convinced that Vronsky’s love is waning; he...

(The entire section is 541 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 7, Chapter 24 Summary

Anna Karenina greets Vronsky. He is glad she is in a good mood because he is feeling particularly good tonight as well. He sees the boxes and is glad she wants to go back to the country. His condescending tone is infuriating to her, and Anna Karenina feels the “lust of strife” rising up in her again; however, she conquers it. She explains that she can wait for the divorce in the country as easily as in the city, and she is no longer going to let the divorce influence her life. Vronsky is uneasy at her excited face but agrees. He tells her about the dinner and the woman from Sweden who came to give then a swimming demonstration; immediately Anna Karenina is jealous again. She shakes her head as though trying to get rid of an...

(The entire section is 547 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 7, Chapter 25 Summary

After her reconciliation with Vronsky, Anna Karenina begins preparing for their departure. They had each conceded, so they may leave on Monday or Tuesday. (She now realizes it was possible to rearrange his meeting if he had wanted to.) When Vronsky joins her, she has several more pangs of doubt and resentment but the plan remains in place. At breakfast, Vronsky receives a telegram and hastily tries to get rid of it. Anna Karenina insists on reading it when she discovers it is from her brother in St. Petersburg.

Stepan Arkadyevitch writes that he is doing all he can but a divorce does not seem likely. Anna Karenina reads the telegram with trembling hands and reminds Vronsky that the divorce no longer means anything to...

(The entire section is 537 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 7, Chapter 26 Summary

Anna Karenina cannot believe Vronsky saw that her heart was breaking with despair and still walked out with callous coldness and silence. It is clear to her that he hates her because he loves someone else. Since he did not speak, she invents the words she is certain he wanted to say: she can go where she likes, even back to her husband, and if she needs money he will give her whatever she needs. These are the cruelest things a man could say to her, and she cannot forgive him for them, though he actually said nothing to her.

Anna Karenina worries and wonders whether a reconciliation is possible or if she should simply go away now. After expecting Vronsky all day, she leaves directions for the maid and goes to her room....

(The entire section is 551 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 7, Chapter 27 Summary

Anna Karenina stands at the window and watches Vronsky leave. She tells herself he is gone and their relationship is over; her heart grows cold and she sees the shadows of death. These images are so terrifying that she is afraid of being alone and rings the bell for a servant. Without waiting for him to get there, she runs out to meet him and asks where the count has gone. The servant tells her Vronsky has gone to the stable but left word that if she cared to go out today the carriage would be back immediately.

She writes a note telling Vronsky she was wrong and he must come home to her immediately and has it delivered to him at the stable. Once the servant leaves on his errand, Anna Karenina is again afraid of being...

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Anna Karenina Part 7, Chapter 28 Summary

Anna Karenina rides comfortably in her carriage on the way to Dolly’s house and now she sees her position quite differently from how it had seemed at home. Death seems more distant and less inevitable. She scolds herself for her humiliating behavior and wonders how she will live without Vronsky.

The question is too difficult, so she looks out the window and thinks about telling Dolly everything, even though she will be ashamed. When she was young she would never have imagined that she would come to such humiliation. Anna Karenina is afraid Dolly will think she is leaving her second husband so she must be the one in the wrong. Anna Karenina thinks about losing everything, including her son. Everything will be...

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Anna Karenina Part 7, Chapter 29 Summary

In the carriage, Anna Karenina is in an even worse frame of mind than when she left home. To all her other torturous experiences is added the mortification of being an outcast, something she felt distinctly when she met Kitty. She imagines both women looking at her as something “dreadful, incomprehensible, and curious.”

Though Anna Karenina intended to confide in Dolly during her visit today, now she thinks it is a good thing she did not. Though she would have concealed it, she is sure Dolly would have felt delight that she is being punished for the happiness for which Dolly once envied her. Anna Karenina knows Dolly thinks she is an immoral woman, realizing that she could have made Stepan Arkadyevitch fall in love...

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Anna Karenina Part 7, Chapter 30 Summary

In the carriage on the way to the railway station, Anna Karenina’s thoughts are again tangled, and she struggles to remember her last coherent thought—Yashvin’s philosophy that the “struggle for existence and hatred” is the only thing which holds men together. Everything she sees reminds her of her despair and the futility of life. Now she wonders what Vronsky first saw in her; she decides it was not love as much as the satisfaction of winning her. She remembers how he used to look at her; though there was some love, there was mostly the pride of success. He boasted of his conquest but there is no longer anything of which he can be proud.

In fact, there is now much to be ashamed of; he has taken from her...

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Anna Karenina Part 7, Chapter 31 Summary

Anna Karenina is seated on the train, and everyone around her seems hideous and disgusting to her. She imagines people are whispering about her, and even the children are appalling to her. She moves to an empty carriage, near the window and away from the detestable people. Outside her window, a “misshapen-looking peasant” covered with dirt, tangled hair sticking out from under his dirty cap, passes by and stoops to look at the train wheels. Anna Karenina thinks there is something familiar about the hideous man, and then she remembers her awful dream. Shaking with terror, she moves to the opposite door; the conductor opens the door for some incoming passengers and asks Anna Karenina if she wants to get off the train.


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Anna Karenina Part 8, Chapter 1 Summary

Almost two months have passed and the hot summer is nearly half over, but Sergey Ivanovitch is just getting ready to leave Moscow. A year ago he finished his book about the principles and forms of government in Europe and Russia (a six-year project), and several sections of it were talked about and written about enough that the public became aware of his theories. After making conscientious revisions, he published the book, distributed it to booksellers, and expected that it would create a revolution in social science—or at least make a “great stir” in the scientific world.

Sergey Ivanovitch studiously avoided talking about it unless asked or asking the booksellers how the book was being received, but he was...

(The entire section is 521 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 8, Chapter 2 Summary

Sergey Ivanovitch and Katavasov arrive at the train station just as a group of volunteer soldiers are arriving; they are met by ladies with bouquets of flowers and followed by an enthusiastic crowd. One of the flower-waving ladies, a princess, sees Sergey Ivanovitch and asks if he came to see the soldiers off. He tells her he came to take the train to his brother’s home in the country.

More than eight hundred soldiers have left from Moscow and another two hundred have been sent from nearby places; more than a million Russian soldiers have already been conscripted. She is excited at the news today that the Turks have been beaten at all points for the last three days; the Turks have taken flight and a decisive...

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Anna Karenina Part 8, Chapter 3 Summary

Sergey Ivanovitch and Katavasov enter their compartment. At the next station, the soldiers are again hailed by the locals; they stick their heads out of the windows in greeting. Sergey Ivanovitch is not at all interested in anything to do with the volunteers. He has spent enough time with them that they no longer interest him; however, Katavasov has been occupied with his scientific work and has not had the opportunity to observe them and is interested in doing so now. Sergey Ivanovitch suggests he go to the second-class cabins and talk with them directly, and that is what Katavasov does.

At the first train stop, Katavasov visits the volunteers; the men are obviously aware that all the attention outside the train is...

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Anna Karenina Part 8, Chapter 4 Summary

When the train stopped in a small town, Sergey Ivanovitch does not go to the refreshment room but walks up and down the platform. The first time he walks past Vronsky’s compartment, the curtain is closed, but the second time he passes, the curtain is open and Vronsky’s mother invites him to join her. She explains that she is traveling with her son for part of the journey; Sergey Ivanovitch tells the old countess that what her son is doing is quite noble. She agrees, adding that there is little else for him to do after his great tragedy. Sergey Ivanovitch enters the cabin and sits down beside her.

The countess begins to talk about her son. For the first six weeks after Anna Karenina’s tragic death, Vronsky would...

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Anna Karenina Part 8, Chapter 5 Summary

Vronsky walks up and down the platform in his long overcoat, slouched over with his hands stuck in his pockets. He is pacing like a “wild beast in a cage” and pretends not to notice Sergey Ivanovitch when he approaches; that does not deter him in the least from speaking to Vronsky. In that moment he sees Vronsky as a noble man willing to fight for a cause, and he considers it his duty to show his appreciation and to encourage him. When he approaches Vronsky, the pacing man stands still long enough to recognize Sergey Ivanovitch and steps forward to greet him warmly.

Vronsky says there is no one he would “less dislike seeing” than Sergey Ivanovitch; it is the best he can say, since there is nothing now in life...

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Anna Karenina Part 8, Chapter 6 Summary

Sergey Ivanovitch did not telegraph his brother regarding his arrival, for he did not know exactly when he would be leaving Moscow. When he and Katavasov arrive, covered with dust and grime, Levin is not home but Kitty recognizes her brother-in-law and leaves her father and sister to go greet him. Though she scolds him for not letting them know he was coming, she is obviously happy to see him.

Sergey Ivanovitch explains that he was too busy to be sure when he could leave and that this way, she did not need to interrupt her peaceful life worrying about his coming. He introduces Kitty to Katavasov and assures her they enjoyed their ride through the countryside. Levin is out working on the farm, but Kitty knows he will be...

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Anna Karenina Part 8, Chapter 7 Summary

Agafea Mihalovna leaves the nursery on tiptoe; the nurse lowers the blinds and sits down to wave a birch branch over Kitty and her son. Kitty rocks a little and tenderly squeezes Mitya’s plump little hand as it waves feebly. She wants desperately to kiss his hand, but he is wavering between sleeping and waking and she does not want to wake him. Finally Mitya’s hand is still and his eyes close. Occasionally he continues sucking and looks up at his mother with dark, wet eyes that look black in the twilight. The nurse is no longer fanning, as she, too, has fallen asleep.

Above her, Kitty hears her father’s voice and Katavasov’s chuckle. Though she is a bit vexed that Levin is still out while they have guests, she...

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Anna Karenina Part 8, Chapter 8 Summary

At his brother’s deathbed, Levin faces the questions of life and death in a new light. His new convictions about such matters had developed between the ages of twenty and thirty-four, imperceptibly replacing what he considered his childish and youthful beliefs. As Nikolay lay dying, Levin was stricken with horror, but not at death itself. What frightened him was his lack of knowledge about life: from where it came, and why, how, and what it is.

His old beliefs on life and death had been replaced with such ideas as the decay of man, the indestructibility of matter, and evolution. These things and the ideas associated with them are all fine topics for intellectual discussion, but in terms of life, Levin now discovers,...

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Anna Karenina Part 8, Chapter 9 Summary

Though his spiritual doubts grow weaker and stronger at times, they never leave Levin. He reads and thinks, and the more he reads and thinks the further away he feels from his goal of spiritual understanding. His time in Moscow and the country has convinced him that he will not find what he seeks in the materialists, so he begins studying philosophers such as Plato, Kant, Hegel, and Schopenhauer who give a non-materialistic explanation of life.

The ideas of these men seem fruitful to him while he is reading or when he is seeking to refute the arguments of other theories; however, as soon as he tries to apply these theories to his real life, everything falls apart. Once, for a few days, Levin exchanges the word...

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Anna Karenina Part 8, Chapter 10 Summary

When Levin thinks too much or too often about what he is and what he is living for, he has no answers and sinks further into despair; finally he stops asking the questions. After returning to the country in June, Levin resumes his usual activities. He manages his estate; he interacts with the peasants and his neighbors; he takes care of his household; he acts as steward for his sister’s and brother’s property; he loves his wife, son, and relatives; and he works on his newest hobby, bee-keeping.

Levin is disappointed by the failure of his former efforts to enhance the general welfare. Now he spends his time on things which seem to him to be the only things he can do, and he works only for himself and for the benefit...

(The entire section is 513 words.)

Anna Karenina Part 8, Chapter 11 Summary

The day Sergey Ivanovitch arrives is one of Levin’s worst days. It is the middle of the harvest, when every peasant in the village is working sacrificially for three or four weeks to accomplish the task. These actions happen all across Russia every year and they would be deemed heroic if the results of such intense labor were not so simple. Having lived in the country for years, Levin feeds on the quickened energy of the peasant workers.

This morning he stands in the cool granary and is overwhelmed with the sights and sounds of the peasants working, the swallows swooping and nesting, and the thrashing on the dusty threshing floor below him. All of this noise and motion causes Levin to wonder why he is standing here...

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Anna Karenina Part 8, Chapter 12 Summary

Levin walks about and is absorbed by his new spiritual condition, which is unlike anything he had ever before experienced. All the disjointed, impotent, separate thoughts that have incessantly occupied his mind are suddenly being transformed and combined into a unified whole, as if moved by an electric shock. There is something new and joyful in his soul, though he does not yet know what it is.

He thinks about living not for his own wants, attractions or desires, but for something incomprehensible, for God, whom no one can understand or define. Though he does not understand God, Levin knows he understands the thresher’s words. He does not doubt their truth; the words were not “stupid, obscure, inexact.” More than...

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Anna Karenina Part 8, Chapter 13 Summary

Levin thinks about a scene he recently witnessed between Dolly and her children. The children were cooking berries in teacups over candles and squirting milk into each other’s mouths with a syringe. Dolly scolded them with a typical lecture about wastefulness, ending with the fact that, if they continued such behavior, they would have nothing to eat or eat with one day.

Levin had been struck by the children’s “weary incredulity” as they listened to their mother; they simply wanted to continue their amusing play and were annoyed that their mother had interrupted them. The children did not believe what Dolly was telling them; in fact, they could not believe it, for they could not understand the enormity...

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Anna Karenina Part 8, Chapter 14 Summary

Levin observes his carriage and sees his coachman stop to talk to a herdsman before moving on toward the barn. He is so “buried in his thoughts,” however, that he does not even wonder why the coachman has come for him until the man shouts that Kitty wants him to come home. He also learns his brother and another gentleman have arrived.

Levin drives home, but it as if he is waking from a long sleep and he has trouble collecting his thoughts. Soon he realizes that Kitty must be uneasy at his long absence, and remembers that Sergey Ivanovitch had promised to come; he wonders who the other visitor could be. All three of them seem different to him now, just as his relationships with everyone will be different now. There...

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Anna Karenina Part 8, Chapter 15 Summary

Dolly tells Levin that Sergey Ivanovitch traveled on the train with Vronsky, who was on his way to the war with a squadron he hired to go with him. Levin agrees that this is the best thing for Vronsky and wonders if volunteers are still going to the front, looking deliberately at his brother as he asks. He wonders who the volunteers are fighting and why. Sergey Ivanovitch smiles strangely and says that, though there is no war, they are fighting the Turks because people sympathize with their neighbors’ sufferings and are eager to help them.

Levin argues that war is different than help, and the old prince has said that private citizens cannot participate or help without the government’s permission. Katavasov...

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Anna Karenina Part 8, Chapter 16 Summary

Sergey Ivanovitch is a practiced debater, and he turns the conversation to another aspect of the discussion on whether or not the Russian people should be involved in the Serbian war. He agrees that there is no mathematical computation which will accurately reveal the will of the people in this matter, but there are other ways of discerning the people’s will. When every facet of society, when every intellect speaks the same thing, the current carries the country in one direction and toward one goal.

The old prince is not convinced and says that the papers may all say the same thing, but so do all frogs croak before a storm, drowning out all other sounds. Sergey Ivanovitch ignores the old man and tells Levin that he...

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Anna Karenina Part 8, Chapter 17 Summary

The old prince and Sergey Ivanovitch drive the carriage; everyone else walks hurriedly back to the house. Despite their haste, they do not arrive before the swiftly moving rain clouds descend on them. They are still two hundred yards from home when the violent winds begin; the rain is imminent. The children run ahead, and Dolly does her best to follow them, despite her entangling skirts. The men hold their hats on and take long strides to close the gap. They all just arrive at the steps when the first huge drop falls, and everyone races into the safety of the house without getting wet.

As soon as Levin enters the house, he asks the housekeeper where his wife and son are; she tells him they, and the nurse, must still be...

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Anna Karenina Part 8, Chapter 18 Summary

Throughout the entire day, during a variety of conversations in which he uses only the surface part of his mind, and despite the disappointment of not finding the change he expects in himself, Levin is joyfully conscious of the fullness of his heart. It is too wet to go for a walk after the rain, so the entire group spends the rest of the day in the house. There are no more discussions, and after dinner everyone is in a particularly amiable mood.

At first, Katavasov amuses everyone with his original jokes; then Sergey Ivanovitch convinces the professor to tell them all about his findings after studying the common housefly. After tea, Levin asks his brother to explain his views on the future of the “Eastern...

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Anna Karenina Part 8, Chapter 19 Summary

Alone again, Levin ponders one thing that is still unclear to him. He stops at a window and gazes out at the stars in the cloudless sky; there are flashes of lightning and rumbles of thunder in the distance. He thinks again about the question to which he has no answer, though he feels it is already somewhere in his soul. He is a Christian and part of a body of men known as the church, but he wonders about the Jews, Muslims, and Confucians. He wonders if God would deprive these souls of the highest blessing without which life has no meaning.

He ponders for a moment, then realizes he is questioning the relationship of God to all of mankind, but the knowledge he has is revealed to him as an individual; now he is trying to...

(The entire section is 471 words.)