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'Anna Karenina' Quotes

Love, Adultery & Suicide - Leo Tolstoy's Russian Classic


Anna Karenina is one of the great masterpieces in world literature. The novel was written by Leo Tolstoy, based on an tragic incident he witnessed. Here are a few quotes from this famous Russian book.
  • "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."
    - Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, Book 1, Ch. 1

  • "The place where [Kitty] stood seemed to him a holy shrine, unapproachable, and there was one moment when he was almost retreating, so overwhelmed was he with terror. He had to make an effort to master himself, and to remind himself that people of all sorts were moving about her, and that he too might come there to skate. He walked down, for a long while avoiding looking at her as at the sun, but seeing her, as one does the sun, without looking."
    - Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, Book 1, Ch. 9

  • "The French fashion--of the parents arranging their children's future-was not accepted; it was condemned. The English fashion of the complete independence of girls was also not accepted, and not possible in Russian society. The Russian fashion of matchmaking by the officer of intermediate persons was for some reason considered disgraceful; it was ridiculed by everyone, and by the princess herself. But how girls were to be married, and how parents were to marry them, no one knew."
    - Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, Book 1, Ch. 12

  • "I see a man who has serious intentions, that's Levin; and I see a peacock, like this featherhead, who's only amusing himself."
    - Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, Book 1, Ch. 15

  • "And as soon as her brother had reached her, [Anna] flung her left arm around his neck and drew him rapidly to her, and kissed him warmly, with a gesture that struck Vronsky by its decision and its grace. Vronsky gazed, never taking his eyes from her, and smiled, he could not have said why. But recollecting that his mother was waiting for him, he went back again into the carriage."
    - Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, Book 1, Ch. 18

  • "I've been the cause of that ball being a torture to her instead of a pleasure. But truly, truly it's not my fault, or only my fault a little bit,' she said, daintily drawling the words 'a little bit.'"
    - Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, Book 1, Ch. 28

  • "The highest Petersburg society is essentially one: in it everyone knows everyone else, everyone even visits everyone else."
    - Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, Book 2, Ch. 4

  • "Steps were heard at the door, and Princess Betsy, knowing it was Madame Karenina, glanced at Vronsky. He was looking toward the door, and his face wore a strange new expression. Joyfully, intently, and at the same time timidly, he gazed at the approaching figure, and slowly he rose to his feet."
    - Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, Book 2, Ch. 7

  • "Alexey Alexandorivich had seen nothing striking or improper in the fact that his wife was sitting with Vronsky at a separate table, in eager conversation with him about something. But he noticed that to the rest of the party this appeared to be something striking and improper. He made up his mind that he must speak of it to his wife."
    - Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, Book 2, Ch. 8

  • "She flew over the ditch as though not noticing it. She flew over it like a bird; but at the same instant Vronsky, to his horror, felt that he had failed to keep up with the mare's pace, that he had, he did not know how, made a fearful, unpardonable mistake, in recovering his seat in the saddle. All at once his position had shifted and he knew something awful had happened."
    - Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, Book 2, Ch. 21

  • "He vividly recalled all the constantly recurring instances of inevitable necessity for lying and deceit, which were so against his natural bent. He recalled particularly vividly the shame he had more than once detected in her at this necessity for lying and deceit. And he experiences the strange feeling that had sometimes come upon him since his secret love for Anna. This was a feeling of loathing for something--whether for Aleksey Alexandrovich, or for himself, or for the whole world, he could not have said. But he always drove away this strange feeling. Now, too, he shook it off and continued the thread of his thoughts."
    - Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, Book 2, Ch. 25

  • "To Konstantin, the peasant was simply the chief partner in their common labor."
    - Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, Book 3, Ch. 1

  • "The longer Levin mowed, the oftener he felt the moments of unconsciousness in which it seemed that the scythe was mowing by itself, a body full of life and consciousness of its own, and as though by magic, without thinking of it, the work turned out regular and precise by itself. These were the most blissful moments."
    - Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, Book 3, Ch. 5

  • "He could not be mistaken. There were no other eyes like those in the world. There was only one creature in the world who could concentrate for him all the brightness and meaning of life. It was she. It was Kitty."
    - Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, Book 3, Ch. 12

  • "I want you not to meet that man here, and to conduct yourself so that neither the world nor the servants can reproach you...not to see him. That's not much, I think. And in return you will enjoy all the privileges of a faithful wife without fulfilling her duties. That's all I have to say to you. Now it's time for me to go. I'm not dining at home.' He got up and moved toward the door."
    - Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, Book 3, Ch. 23

  • "Levin said what he had genuinely been thinking of late. He saw nothing but death or the advance toward death in everything. But his cherished scheme only engrossed him all the more. Life had to be got through somehow till death did come. Darkness had fallen, upon everything for him; but just because of this darkness he felt that the one guiding clue in the darkness was his work, and he clutched it and clung to it with all his strength."
    - Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, Book 3, Ch. 32

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