Study Guide

Anna Karenina Part 7, Chapter 5

By Leo Tolstoy

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Part 7, Chapter 5

  • At the matinee concert, a fantasia entitled King Lear on the Heath and a quartet dedicated to Bach are performed.
  • Levin is confused regarding the fantasia. He tries to formulate some sort of intelligent opinion, but the fantasia jumps around chaotically and doesn't make any sort of sense. He feels that is like listening to a madman: parts are good, even moving, but the music shifts unexpectedly.
  • Levin chats with Pestsov about Wagnerian music; the conversation segues into art. Levin feels that the problem with Wagner (a German composer of the late 19th century) is that he tries to use music to express things better expressed in other arts. Wagner was a proponent of music as total art, while Levin believes that each sphere of art—poetry, painting, sculpture—is best for expressing only certain things. So, poetry should not describe a person's face; depicting faces is what painting is for. Pestsov disagrees, arguing that art is at its best when it can unite all of its forms.
  • Levin sees Count Bohl during intermission and remembers that he has to call on the Bohl family.
  • He takes his leave of Nataly.

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