Anna Karenina

A series of images inspired by the emotional and atmospheric impressions gleaned from key scenes in Leo Tolstoy’s classic.

Coming out of a semester with my head wrapped around existentialism, I came across a review of Anna Karenina on the New Yorker by Joshua Rothman [link] that set the tone for this thesis project. In it, Rothman argues that this famous Tolstoy piece was not so much about a love story or the consequences of love, but more so observing the tensions of freedom, choice, and fate. Like the rushing train that ultimately kills Anna or the slightest position change by Vronsky breaking the horse's back and causing him to lose the race, Tolstoy implies that while we play our part in the choices we make, what becomes of us in the end is outside of our own volition. To Rothman the parallel narratives of Anna and Levin suggest that not even Tolstoy knows the answer, but that whatever our lot in life, the world outside us goes on, life is unfair, and if by God's grace we are happy we are very blessed indeed.