Revitalization or Deception: Anna Karenina's Central Characters in Europe
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- Revitalization or Deception: Anna Karenina's Central Characters in Europe
- Yoon, Saera
- L.N. Tolstoi; ‘Anna Karenina’; Travel; Europe
- Issue Date
- ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV
- RUSSIAN LITERATURE, v.85, no., pp.89 - 108
- While the poetics of space in Tolstoi's work has been extensively discussed, overseas travel in Anna Karenina remains largely unstudied. The significance of travel abroad should not be ignored, considering that all four of the novel's central characters visit Europe. Moreover, their overseas travels serve as counterpoints to one another. This article investigates these trips in an attempt to shed light on how the text's major characters experience Europe and how this experience shapes the novel artistically. To this end, Kiti's trip to Germany contrasts with Anna and Vronskii's sojourn in Italy as they take opposite directions in life. Whereas Kiti's experience in Germany helps her to grow as a person by coming to terms with her own virtues and shortcomings, Anna's quasi-honeymoon in Italy, where she basks in self-deception, only accelerates her moral decline. Petrov and Mikhailov, two Russian painters living abroad, play a role in this contrast. Unlike these travel story lines, the one surrounding Levin's trip to Europe stands out for its lack of concrete details, even though the event is significant and allows him to gain confidence in the realms of both existential and intellectual growth. Levin's “silent” tour of Europe contributes to establishing the contrapuntal parallelism in the novel.
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