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195 years since the birth of Leo Tolstoy. Pavel Basinsky – about the fate of the last part of “Anna Karenina” – Rossiyskaya Gazeta

Date: May 26, 2024 Time: 08:49:53

There was a curious story in the history of its publication. The novel consists of eight parts, but in its first publication only seven appeared. Russkiy Vestnik editor Mikhail Katkov refused to publish the eighth part. This provoked Tolstoy’s anger and his break with the magazine. Tolstoy never forgave Katkov for this betrayal and never published again in the Russian Bulletin, where “Cossacks” and “War and Peace” were published before “Anna Karenina”.

Let me remind you that Anna Karenina does not end with the main character throwing herself under a train. This is the end of part seven. The eighth part describes in detail the village life of Konstantin Levin and his wife Kitty.

But Katkov did not publish the eighth part not because he did not like the “Levinian” story itself. Katkov was above all an editor. Any Russian Messenger book with a continuation of an incredibly successful novel would pass from hand to hand and the magazine’s circulation would increase. Katkov simply had his own political games with the government and public opinion. Yes, and your beliefs. He did not agree that in the eighth part Levin, together with the old prince Shcherbatsky, condemned the movement of Russian volunteers during the Serbian-Turkish war in the mid-70s.

The issue was political and complex. Although the government did not officially support the volunteers, it did not condemn or discourage them. In 1877, when Katkov’s diary published the last chapters of the seventh part of Anna Karenina and promised a continuation of it, Russia officially declared war on Turkey.

Tolstoy, who had a negative attitude towards the volunteers, perceived the declaration of war on Turkey not only with enthusiasm, but also with keen interest. He wrote to his aunt, the lady-in-waiting AA Tolstoy: “How little Serb madness occupied me and how indifferent I was to it, the real war now occupies me so much and moves me so much.” I will suggest that pride and memory of the Russian defeat in the Crimean War awoke in the former military officer, when before his eyes the Turks and their Franco-British allies took Sevastopol in flames.

The ending of the seventh part of Anna Karenina appeared in the April book of the Russian Messenger. And in April, Russia entered a “real” war with Türkiye. The “Epilogue”, which later became the eighth and final part of the novel in a separate edition, was already on Katkov’s table. And there they condemned the volunteer movement, which was the prelude to the “official” war. Katkov’s situation was difficult.

Photo: TASS

In his letters he urged the author to eliminate or at least soften these fragments. But Tolstoy only agreed to the editors’ comments. He wrote to NN Strakhov: “It turns out that Katkov does not share my views, which cannot be otherwise, since I condemn precisely people like him and, murmuring, politely asks to smooth this out, to release him. I am terribly tired of this. , and I already told them that if they don’t print it the way I want, then I won’t print it with them and that’s what I’ll do.”

What should Katkov do? In the April book it was already announced that the novel would be finished in the May book, but for political reasons it was impossible to publish it! And Katkov acted cunningly. In the May issue of the magazine, instead of ending the novel, a letter from the editor appeared:

“In the previous book, under the novel “Anna Karenina”, it was written: “The end follows.” But with the death of the heroine, the novel, in fact, ended. According to the author’s plan, there would have been another short epilogue. , of two pages, in which readers could discover that Vronsky, “confused and grieved by Anna’s death, volunteered for Serbia and that everyone else is alive and well, but Levin remains in his village. and he is angry with the Slavic committees and with the volunteers. The author will perhaps develop these chapters for a special edition of his novel.”

Photo: RIA Novosti

Katkov did something wrong. The most unpleasant thing about this editorial letter was that “with the death of the heroine, the romance, in fact, ended.” This, so to speak, obviously deprives its continuation of meaning. In addition, Katkov, in today’s parlance, gave readers a “spoiler” for the still unpublished eighth part.

An angry Tolstoy wrote two versions of an indignant letter to the newspaper “Novoye Vremya”, but for unknown reasons he did not send it. In the first version, he sarcastically asked why the magazine even published this novel, if he could simply retell it in this spirit: “There was a lady who left her husband. Having fallen in love with Count Vronsky, she began to rage in Moscow about various things and threw himself under the carriage.” A telegram was sent to Katkov: “I ask you to return the original epilogue. “I will never have any future business with the Russian Courier.”

Tolstoy’s wife, Sofya Andreevna, sent an indignant letter to Novoe Vremya on behalf of an allegedly unknown reader, signed with the initials GS ***. And it was published.

In turn, the angry Katkov published his critical article about the eighth part of the novel, which was already published as a separate publication.

“The novel remained endless even in the ‘eighth and final’ part,” he wrote. “The idea was not fully developed… But if the play was not completed, if a natural resolution did not appear, then it seems better to interrupt the novel with the death of the heroine “than to conclude it with rumors about volunteers who in no way have blame for the events of the novel. A wide river flowed gently, but did not flow “It went into the sea, but was lost in the sand. It was better to land early than to swim to the sandbar.”

After reading the article, Tolstoy wrote to N.N. I have calmed down.”

The editor-writer relationship is a delicate thing!

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Hansen Taylor
Hansen Taylor
Hansen Taylor is a full-time editor for ePrimefeed covering sports and movie news.
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