Rosamund Bartlett

Rosamund Bartlett and Helen Dunmore

Changing Minds in Anna Karenina

May/
Tue 31 May 2016

Rosamund Bartlett and Helen Dunmore

Changing Minds in Anna Karenina

Rosamund Bartlett
Tue 31 May 2016,

From the moment of publication, Anna Karenina has provoked discussion about the ethics of Anna’s abandonment of her marriage and her child.  Readers have been gripped by the moral dilemma, with passions ignited in favour of Anna’s decision, or against it.  Less attention has been paid, however, to Anna’s mental state, although her descent into alienation, deep depression and finally suicide is described with such intimacy by Tolstoy that it lacerates the imagination.

Rosamund Bartlett and Helen Dunmore explore Tolstoy’s brilliant, intense and pioneering treatment of the mind and its illnesses in Anna Karenina.  They look at how Tolstoy drives the drama of the novel through altered states of mind in his chief characters, from Kitty’s collapse after her sexual rejection by Vronsky to Levin’s existential anguish and Anna’s slow slide into depression and suicide. They discuss how Tolstoy’s own experience of depression informs and illuminates the novel.

Image: Rosamund Bartlett

 

Share this/