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 discover that the work is still worthy of his time and energy.
He is writing a chapter in which he claims that poverty in Russia is not simply the result of landed property and failed or misdirected reforms; instead, he contends that the forms of civilization imposed on the country have caused the economic crisis. Things such as communication systems, railways, centralization of towns, the development of luxury, and the resultant development of manufacturing, credit, and speculation have all grown to the detriment of agriculture.
Europe has all of these advances, but they developed in their proper time. The same is not true of Russia. The wealth of a country should increase proportionately and in ways that are in harmony with agriculture. Communications systems, railways, and other modern advances were created in Russia by political rather than economic needs and were developed prematurely. The result is that these advances began competing with agriculture by promoting manufacturing and credit, thus arresting its progress. Agriculture was forced into the background, and the question of how agriculture should be organized moving into the future was ignored.
Kitty does not want to interrupt Levin but has a sudden longing to see his face. She opens her eyes wide at him, willing him to look at her. Levin is pondering Russia’s false sense of prosperity when he senses Kitty...
(The entire section is 550 words.)