HARRY HILL WALSH A B u d d h i s t i c L e i t m o t i f in Anna Karenina The most cursory reading of Anna Karenina reveals it to be a sort of Er- ziehungsroman developing in two directions. Along one axis the title charac- ter is brought by stages to u t t e r disillusionment with her worldly milieu and to eventual suicide. Along the other axis Tolstoi's alter ego Konstantin Levin arrives finally at a tentative faith in an unknowable God, whose immanent manifestations appear t o lie in pastoral harmony and the extended family. In bringing these two main subplots to resolution Tolstoi uncharacteristically re- sorts t o the hackneyed literary symbolism o f darkness and light. Thus is Levin transfixed by lightning flashes at the culmination o f his interior monologue on the transcendental nature o f God at the novel's end. And thus is the death o f Anna at the end o f Part 7 likened to the blowing o u t o f a candle. The in- cremental repetition o f the m o t i f o f light and darkness is
Canadian-American Slavic Studies – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1977
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