Introduced by Helen Dunmore
Illustrated by Angela Barrett
Said to be ‘one of the greatest love stories in world literature', Tolstoy’s narrative genius shines through in the portrait he paints of Russia in the latter part of the 19th century.
As early as 1870 Tolstoy had the idea of writing about ‘a married woman of high society who lapses morally’ and three years later, moved by the suicide of a neighbouring landowner’s mistress who had thrown herself under a train, the author of War and Peace embarked on what would be his second great masterpiece.
Translated by Louise and Aylmer Maude
Quarter-bound in buckram with cloth sides blocked and printed with a design by Angela Barrett
Set in Ehrhardt with Bulmer display
Frontispiece and 14 full-page colour illustrations
Book size: 9½" × 6¼"
'All happy families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.'
Anna’s story is simple and timeless – bored by her calculating husband and eager to live life, rather than read about it in books, she falls in love. In Moscow and Petersburg, such scandals are the stuff of gossip, not tragedy, but Anna refuses to play society’s game: hers is a high passion, and though she tries to insist that her lover, Count Vronsky, share it, he begins to dread the very word ‘love’ and to hanker after simpler pleasures. Against this ruinous affair are set the stories of other loves, other marriages, including the cautious progress to happiness of Kitty and Levin (perhaps a wistful self-portrait of the Tolstoys’ early married life). For today’s reader, Tolstoy’s narrative genius shines through in the portrait he paints of Russia in the latter part of the 19th century – drawing rooms, racetracks, officers’ clubs, forests and dachas – depicted in all their seductive yet hypocritical glory as the setting for Anna’s doomed passion. The result, as Vladimir Nabokov said, is ‘one of the greatest love stories in world literature’. From its position as first in a list of 125 leading authors’ favourite books, it can equally be called one of the greatest novels of all time.
'Tolstoy towered above his age as Dante and Michelangelo and Beethoven had done'
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Review by Charlie Le Marquand on 13th Aug 2016
"I treated myself to this edition last week and it is beautiful. The picture of the book does not do it justice, the gold used on the figure and also the bits of wheat really sparkle, it looks gorgeous..." [read more]
Review by kanadia on 2nd Jan 2014
"Excellent choice of translators; unlike Constance Garnett, Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, or other translators, the Maudes had the privilege of working personally with Tolstoy on the translat..." [read more]
Review by anon on 15th Nov 2013
"I will call this edition 'flawless',the very term used by Dostoevsky to define the book itself. I was stunned by the binding,the text,and everything.Personally I believe out of all folio books,which..." [read more]