Anna Karenina: The Lowdown
Anna Karenina is a tragic love story written by one of Russia's greatest authors, Leo Tolstoy. It's his second most famous work after War and Peace. Tolstoy considered it his first real novel.
Set in the late nineteenth century, the novel follows heroine Anna Karenina as she attempts to fix her sister's marriage after an affair. Soon Anna is caught up in a deceitful love triangle of her own as her younger sister's suitor (a Count) falls madly in love with her. He follows her back to St Petersburg but she dismisses her feelings as a crush. Soon, her husband becomes suspicious after he catches them together. Will he grant pregnant Anna a divorce which will no doubt leave her shunned by high society, or will she be forced to give up the man she really loves?
Political themes run heavily throughout the story. Russia was
experiencing an influx of western thought as it slowly modernised at the turn of the twentieth century. The leading thinkers of the time, including Tolstoy were divided on what this meant for the future of the country.
The book was first published as a Russian newspaper serial in the 1870s.
Tolstoy apparently clashed with the editor of The Russian Messenger over
the final installment and he refused to publish it.
The thirteenth film adaptation of Anna Karenina, starring Keira Knightley, Jude Law and Sam Taylor-Wood hits cinemas on 7th September. Watch the official Anna Karenina trailer.
Benedict Cumberbatch (currently starring in BBC2 drama, Parade's End), Cate Blanchett, James McAvoy and Andrea Riseborough all apparently turned down roles in the film.
Moscow and St Petersburgh were the original locations for the film, but this idea was dropped in favour of a run-down theatre near London.
Greta Garbo and Vivien Leigh both played Anna Karenina in early film and TV adaptations.See Anna Karenina at cinemas nationwide from 7th September 2012. Buy Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy.