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Thread: is 'anna karenina' the best novel ever or not?

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    Question is 'anna karenina' the best novel ever or not?

    oppinions please. cant have my own oppinion since i havent read it yet, but ive heard so much about this book... is it really the most valuable book ever? if you dont think its 'anna karenina', then what book do you think its THE ONE?

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    Bibliophile JBI's Avatar
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    Best novel ever, from my experience, would have to probably be Pushkin's Evgeny Onegin. It was perhaps the first novel I fell in love with, and nothing I have read has past it. Don Quixote perhaps is the classic example of "best novel" but I think Pushkin is far more interesting and enduring. What he asks is still so terribly relevant to today's audience, in a way I feel no other novel could be, and in truth, his style is the greatest.

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    Learning Not Learned Mopey Droney's Avatar
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    I don't think it's Anna, though I don't know what it would be. There can never be one.

    I'll seek out that Pushkin, JBI.
    "To try to be informed and literate today is to feel stupid nearly all the time, and to need help." - DFW

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    JBI - your words make me add 'evgeny onegin' to my ~to read~ list. *goes to wikipedia for more information*

    Mopey Droney - but what was the book that impressed you the most from everything you read until now? whats your all time favorite?

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    Asa Nisi Masa mayneverhave's Avatar
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    There are a few plays and poems that challenge my favorite novels but I would have to say either The Sound and the Fury or Ulysses. I seem to be one of the few people to actually like the book - many people praise it but few like it.

    I haven't read Tolstoy, aside from The Death of Ivan Illych, but I'm aware of Anna's reputation. Tolstoy, like many other great writers, is still waiting for me to read.

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    Learning Not Learned Mopey Droney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by evening_read
    Mopey Droney - but what was the book that impressed you the most from everything you read until now? whats your all time favorite?
    Oh, it's easy for me to say my personal favorite is Great Expectations, though sometimes I think it might by Ulysses. It depends on my mood. I am antsy about calling any one book "the best".
    Quote Originally Posted by mayneverhave
    There are a few plays and poems that challenge my favorite novels but I would have to say either The Sound and the Fury or Ulysses. I seem to be one of the few people to actually like the book - many people praise it but few like it.
    Me too! I loved Ulysses. Whenever I say it is one of my favorites people give me a look like I'm just trying to impress them, but I genuinely enjoyed it, not just for all the style and language, but I also loved Bloom as a character.
    Last edited by Mopey Droney; 01-10-2009 at 10:02 PM. Reason: names into quotes
    "To try to be informed and literate today is to feel stupid nearly all the time, and to need help." - DFW

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    i guess that after all the greatest book isnt the one which is considered the best in general but the one that impressed each of us the most. its all about taste. personally i love 'iliad' the most

    mayneverhave - can you please recommend me some of those poems that challenge your favorite novels? maybe i'll love and add them to my magical poems collection. but only if theyre in english or spanish since these are the only foreign languages i controll...

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    Of Subatomic Importance Quark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by evening_read View Post
    is it really the most valuable book ever?
    The last half might be, but the beginning is rather slow. The Levin story is particularly tedious early on, but the novel does pick up as it progresses. Some parts of it are amazing, and it's certainly worth a read. I'm not even much of a Tolstoy fan and I say that.
    "Par instants je suis le Pauvre Navire
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    Asa Nisi Masa mayneverhave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by evening_read View Post
    mayneverhave - can you please recommend me some of those poems that challenge your favorite novels? maybe i'll love and add them to my magical poems collection. but only if theyre in english or spanish since these are the only foreign languages i controll...
    In terms of poetry, just a few examples might be: The Waste Land, Paradise Lost, the Great Odes of Keats, poetry of W.B. Yeats, etc.

    In terms of plays: Waiting for Godot, Hamlet, King Lear, etc.

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    Vincit Qui Se Vincit Virgil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by evening_read View Post
    oppinions please. cant have my own oppinion since i havent read it yet, but ive heard so much about this book... is it really the most valuable book ever? if you dont think its 'anna karenina', then what book do you think its THE ONE?
    I don't know about the best ever, but it's damn close. It is a masterpiece. I think I had it in my top five.
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  11. #11
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    I read that book over a summer and in no uncertain terms it stands as the worst book I ever read. He goes on for 16 pages about managing a farm and the peasants who distrusted him even though he, a gentleman, sat and ate his lunch with them. And that description of him cutting the field with a scythe. Drown me.

    C'mon. We need to stop exaggerating the novels of the same handful of authors, from Homer and that other one, James the Leprechaun Joyce, and that other bum, D.H. Lawrence. I read his Letters From Iceland, another snore.
    Last edited by jon1jt; 01-10-2009 at 11:35 PM.
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    Bibliophile JBI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jon1jt View Post
    I read that book over a summer and in no uncertain stands it stands as the worst book I ever read. He goes on for 16 pages about managing a farm and how the peasants distrusted him even though he sat and ate his lunch with them. And that description of him cutting the field with a scythe. Drown me.

    C'mon. We need to stop exaggerating the novels of the same handful of authors, from Homer and that other one, James the Leprechaun Joyce, and that other bum, D.H. Lawrence. I read his Letters From Iceland, another snore.
    It's a two way street, if those are exaggerated, whose aren't? What is the best novel? Some posters have stated their favorites, or their vote, but you haven't provided yours for similar ridicule or agreement.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JBI View Post
    It's a two way street, if those are exaggerated, whose aren't? What is the best novel? Some posters have stated their favorites, or their vote, but you haven't provided yours for similar ridicule or agreement.
    Best novel or my favorite novel? The difference is that I would not recommend my favorite novel because we live in a doleful age, whereas a best novel should be read by others for its message, one that educates, that is human and rises above the body.

    My pick for best novel, then, would have to go to Richard Bach's Jonathan Livingston Seagull.
    Last edited by jon1jt; 01-10-2009 at 11:47 PM.
    "He was nauseous with regret when he saw her face again, and when, as of yore, he pleaded and begged at her knees for the joy of her being. She understood Neal; she stroked his hair; she knew he was mad."
    ---Jack Kerouac, On The Road: The Original Scroll

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    Of Subatomic Importance Quark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jon1jt View Post
    I read that book over a summer and in no uncertain stands it stands as the worst book I ever read. He goes on for 16 pages about managing a farm and how the peasants distrusted him even though he sat and ate his lunch with them. And that description of him cutting the field with a scythe. Drown me.
    Yes, this is horrible monotony of the first four hundred pages of Anna Karenina. Hearing about Levin's management style is less than exciting, but Tolstoy apparently thought this stuff was just great. It does improve, though.
    "Par instants je suis le Pauvre Navire
    [...] Par instants je meurs la mort du Pecheur
    [...] O mais! par instants"

    --"Birds in the Night" by Paul Verlaine (1844-1896). Join the discussion here: http://www.online-literature.com/for...5&goto=newpost

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    Having read my share of Russian literature, I don't think it is that good. I also don't think very highly of War and Peace, Crime and Punishment, or Eugene Onegin. Nor would I rank Don Quixote very highly on my list of truly great literature. The best novel that I have read is probably Madame Bovary. I've seen people do almost everything in that book better, but I've never seen such a flawless novel. Moby Dick was more awe-inspiring to read, but at the same time it was deeply flawed. The Great Gatsby shares a similar polish but it's subject is inferior. Pere Goriot has a magnificent plot but nowhere does it combine all the beauties of modern literature so completely and harmoniously as does Flaubert's novel. Compared to Madame Bovary, Tolstoy's books are little more than loose baggy monsters. However, I do respect the opening lines of Anna Karenina, and hold them in the same high esteem in which I place the opening lines of The Aeneid and A Tale of Two Cities. Tolstoy's accomplishment is in psychological portraiture, his realistic depiction of a large and complex cast of characters, a clarity of style, and a remarkable evenness uncharacteristic of long novels.
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