This seminar will dive into some of the most remarkable moments in the best novel of the nineteenth century, Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina.  We will explore the historical context of the novel, its development in Tolstoy’s imagination, and its appearance as a kind of anti-soap opera in serial publications of the time.  Because the novel is more than 700 pages, we will plan each class session around specific passages, our aim being to enrich your understanding of the characters and social dynamics that shape them.  We will also look at Tolstoy’s unusual writing style, which, until the Schwartz translation, had been smoothed and civilized by translations into English.

Required text
Anna Karenina: Translated by Marian Schwartz Tolstoy: ISBN:  978-0300216820

Recommended background reading
Leo Tolstoy by Andrei Zorin  ISBN:  9781789141993
Tolstoy: A Russian Life by Rosamund Bartlett  ISBN:  9781781251911
Tolstoy: A Biography by A.N. Wilson  ISBN: 9780393321227

Peter Thomas has been teaching Russian language and culture in the Russian Department at Lawrence University since 2006.  Before coming to Lawrence, he taught courses in comparative literature, and in Russian language, culture, and film, at Northwestern University, Beloit College, and St. Olaf College.  Since arriving at Lawrence, Thomas has received the Young Teacher Award (2013) and the Freshman Studies Teaching Award (2015).  This is his eleventh summer seminar at Bjӧrklunden.


Sunday, July 10, 2022 to Friday, July 15, 2022