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Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina

by Leo Tolstoy

Anna Karenina Part 8, Chapter 1 Summary

  • This chapter opens almost two months after Anna's death.
  • Koznyshev has finally published his book after six years of working on it. He waits patiently for it fulfill expectations and take Russia by storm.
  • Nothing happens. Attention to his book is minimal. People talk to him about it only out of politeness.
  • Koznyshev is at a loss for what to do with his time now. Luckily for him, there's something new in the air that he can latch onto.
  • (We need some historical background here. In the 1870s [and remember, Anna Karenina is published from 1875-1877], Russia's political world is preoccupied with the so-called "Slavic Question." What's at stake is basically this: starting in the 14th century, the Ottoman Turkish Empire began laying siege to Serbia. The Turks finally conquer Serbia in 1496, and their rule continues until the twentieth century. This sparks both religious and ethnic conflict, as several of the conquered groups living in Serbia (including the Serbs and the Montenegrins) are both Slavs and Christians (the Ottoman Empire was a Muslim empire). In 1875, there began a series of local popular uprisings in Serbia, with which many Russians sympathized because of their shared religion and ethnic heritage. This sympathy contributed to Russia's own declaration of war on Turkey in 1877, which was also an act of revenge against the Ottoman empire for Russia's defeat in the Crimean War twenty years before. We know this history is kind of confusing; if you want to read up more on the Serbian uprisings, check out this article.)
  • Anyway, back to the novel: Koznyshev sees that the Slavic question has conquered the fashionable intellectual world. His old interests in worker reform aren't being discussed anymore Koznyshev sees that the soul of Russia has spoken in favor of the Serbs and Montenegrins, and he hurries to devote himself to the cause.
  • He spends all of spring and part of summer working, but in July he pays Levin a visit. He wants to rest in the heart of the country.
  • Levin's friend Katavasov (that's the professor with whom Levin was associating in Moscow), who had promised to pay Levin a visit, goes along as well.

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