Anna Karenina - University of Ottawa

Anna Karenina - University of Ottawa

Anna Karenina Final thoughts Tolstoy vs Dostoevsky Spirituality: Old Testament vs. New For Dostoevsky the Jesus and the Gospel are central: Sonia reads the story of the resurrection of Lazarus. In Tolstoy Lidia Ivanovna talks of He (i.e., Jesus) a manifestation of a false religiosity For Levin the task is to believe in God: What am I asking? Im asking about the relation to the

Deity of all the various faiths of mankind. Im asking about the general manifestation of God to the whole world (815-16) Tolstoy vs Dostoevsky: Genres Epic: Tolstoys descriptive creation of a plausible world; time flows in long cycles of birth and death; change is slow; individuals travel through large spaces Dramatic: Dostoevskys evocation of a world of conflict; time and space are compressed into a few weeks in one city, radical change in

personality Tolstoy vs Dostoevsky: Poetic Dostoevsky: Symbolic reality achieved through dialogue, conflict (often physical); different characters incarnate different ideas; characters have an element of caricature, exaggeration Tolstoy: observed reality depicted through metonymy; poet of the real, material world captured in representation of detail; plausible characters; much less dialogue.

Dostoevskys influence Philosophy: revival of Orthodoxy, eschatology, Nietsche Politics: shapes Russian nationalism Psychology: delves in a individuals motivations in a way that presages Freud. Critique of utopianism, revolution Leads to the dystopian visions of the 20 th century Tolstoys influence

Politics: non-violence, rejection of progress Religion: rejection of the established church Life-style: the commune, vegetarianism Literature: the historical and realist novel: especially influential on English literature - E.M. Forster, D.H. Lawrence Literary technique and theatre: representation of

the material world rejection of artificial convention in art. Tolstoys influence: Art and estrangement War and Peace Natasha at the opera 8/9 The floor of the stage consisted of smooth boards, at the sides was some painted cardboard representing trees, and at the back was a cloth stretched over boards. In the center of the stage sat some girls in red bodices and white skirts. One very fat girl in a white silk dress sat apart on a low bench, to the back of which a piece of green cardboard was glued. They all sang something. When they had finished their song the girl in white went up to the prompter's box and a man with tight silk trousers over his stout legs, and holding a plume

and a dagger, went up to her and began singing, waving his arms about. First the man in the tight trousers sang alone, then she sang, then they both paused while the orchestra played and the man fingered the hand of the girl in white, obviously awaiting the beat to start singing with her. They sang together and everyone in the theater began clapping and shouting, while the man and woman on the stage- who represented lovers- began smiling, spreading out their arms, and bowing. After her life in the country, and in her present serious mood, all this seemed grotesque and amazing to Natasha. She could not follow the opera nor even listen to the music; she saw only the painted cardboard and the queerly dressed men and women who moved, spoke, and sang so strangely in that

brilliant light. She knew what it was all meant to represent, but it was so pretentiously false and unnatural that she first felt ashamed for the actors and then amused at them. She looked at the faces of the audience, seeking in them the same sense of ridicule and perplexity she herself experienced, but they all seemed attentive to what was happening on the stage, and expressed delight which to Natasha seemed feigned. "I suppose it has to be like this!" she thought. She kept looking round in turn at the rows of pomaded heads in the stalls and then at the seminude women in the boxes, especially at Helene in the next box, who- apparently quite unclothed- sat with a quiet tranquil smile, not taking her eyes off the stage. And feeling the bright light that flooded the whole place and the warm air heated by the crowd, Natasha little by little began to pass into a state of intoxication she had not experienced for a long

while. She did not realize who and where she was, nor what was going on before her. As she looked and thought, the strangest fancies unexpectedly and disconnectedly passed through her mind: the idea occurred to her of jumping onto the edge of the box and singing the air the actress was singing, then she wished to touch with her fan an old gentleman sitting not far from her, then to lean over to Helene and tickle her. Impact on Theatre Stanislavsky: sought a renewal of theatre through bringing theatre closer to a believable representation of reality. Levin mowing: the moments of oblivion occur

when the actor (Levin) fuses with his role (peasant-worker) Conventional theatre a reaction to Stanislavskys Tolstoyan theatre which sought to make everything believable Twentieth-century directors and dramatists: Meyerhold (Russia), Berthold Brecht (Germany) strive to make a theatre that stresses its artificiality Would you like to know Mr Tolstoy?

A prude, hates dcollet dresses Old-fashioned views on just about everything Hates doctors! Loves dogs Loves nature Can you add to the list?

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