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Pevear and Volokhonksky's groundbreaking translation of Tolstoy's epic novel of love, destiny, and self-destruction, now in a new Bickford-Smith designed clothbound edition
Part of Penguin’s beautiful hardcover Clothbound Classics series, designed by the award-winning Coralie Bickford-Smith, these delectable and collectible editions are bound in high-quality, tactile cloth with foil stamped into the design.
Described by William Faulkner as the best novel ever written and by Fyodor Dostoevsky as flawless,” Anna Karenina tells of the doomed love affair between the sensuous and rebellious Anna and the dashing officer, Count Vronsky. Tragedy unfolds as Anna rejects her passionless marriage and must endure the hypocrisies of society. Set against a vast and richly textured canvas of nineteenth-century Russia, the novel's seven major characters create a dynamic imbalance, playing out the contrasts of city and country life and all the variations on love and family happiness.
While previous versions have softened the robust, and sometimes shocking, quality of Tolstoy's writing, Pevear and Volokhonsky have produced a translation true to his powerful voice. This authoritative edition, which received the PEN Translation Prize and was an Oprah Book Club™ selection, also includes an illuminating introduction and explanatory notes, as well as a foreword by critic John Bayley. Beautiful, vigorous, and eminently readable, this Anna Karenina will be the definitive text for generations to come.
Count Leo Tolstoy was born on September 9, 1828, in Yasnaya Polyana, Russia. Orphaned at nine, he was brought up by an elderly aunt and educated by French tutors until he matriculated at Kazan University in 1844. In 1847, he gave up his studies and, after several aimless years, volunteered for military duty in the army, serving as a junior officer in the Crimean War before retiring in 1857. In 1862, Tolstoy married Sophie Behrs, a marriage that was to become, for him, bitterly unhappy. His diary, started in 1847 served as the source from which he drew much of the material that appeared not only in his great novels War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1877), but also in his shorter works. Seeking religious justification for his life, Tolstoy evolved a new Christianity based upon his own interpretation of the Gospels. Yasnaya Polyana, his longtime home, became a mecca for his many converts. At the age of eighty-two, while away from home, the writer suffered a break down in his health in Astapovo, Riazan, and he died there on November 20, 1910.
Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky have produced acclaimed translations of Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Gogol, and Bulgakov. They have been awarded the PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize for both Anna Karenina and The Brothers Karamazov. They are married and live in Paris, France.
John Bayley is a British novelist and literary critic. He has written studies of Tolstoy and Pushkin, among others. His memoir of his marriage to Iris Murdoch, Elegy for Iris: A Memoir, formed the basis of the 2001 film Iris.
Coralie Bickford-Smith is an award-winning designer at Penguin Books (U.K.), where she has created several highly acclaimed series designs. She studied typography at Reading University and lives in London.