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Tolstoy's epic novel of love, destiny and self-destruction, in a gorgeous new clothbound edition from Penguin Classics. Anna Karenina seems to have everything - beauty, wealth, popularity and an adored son. But she feels that her life is empty until the moment she encounters the impetuous officer Count Vronsky. Their subsequent affair scandalizes society and family alike and soon brings jealously and bitterness in its wake. Contrasting with this tale of love and self-destruction is the vividly observed story of Levin, a man striving to find contentment and a meaning to his life - and also a self-portrait of Tolstoy himself. This acclaimed modern translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky won the PEN/ Book of the Month Club Translation Prize in 2001. Their translation is accompanied in this edition by an introduction by Richard Pevear and a preface by John Bayley 'The new and brilliantly witty translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky is a must' - Lisa Appignanesi, Independent, Books of the Year 'Pevear and Volokhonsky are at once scrupulous translators and vivid stylists of English, and their superb rendering allows us, as perhaps never before, to grasp the palpability of Tolstoy's characters, acts, situations ' - James Wood, New Yorker
During his decades of world fame as a novelist, Tolstoy also wrote prolifically in a series of essays and polemics on issues of morality, social justice and religion. These works culminated in What is Art?, published in 1898. Impassioned and iconoclastic, this powerfully influential work both criticizes the elitist nature of art in nineteenth-century Western society, and rejects the idea that its sole purpose should be the creation of beauty. The works of Dante, Michelangelo, Shakespeare, Beethoven, Baudelaire and Wagner are all vigorously condemned, as Tolstoy explores what he believes to be the spiritual role of the artist - arguing that true art must work with religion and science as a force for the advancement of mankind.