8 Weekly Sessions via Zoom Tuesdays, 6:00 pm EDT - 7:30 pm EDT March 30 to May 18, 2021
The ‘With Book’ option includes a copy of Anna Karenina at a 15% discount.
Is Anna Karenina the greatest novel ever written? Like all the most interesting questions, this one is unanswerable, but that has not stopped many of the book’s readers from making the case. Tolstoy has few rivals when it comes to a feature shared by all great novels – an almost alchemical fusion of the particular and the universal. Along with Anna and her lover, Vronsky, and the couple whose relationship runs parallel to theirs, Levin and Kitty, all of Tolstoy’s characters are rendered in astonishing detail, yet we still see ourselves in them.
The novel’s panoramic scope seems to take in every corner of nineteenth-century Russian society, but the novel’s power arises from its profound investigation of what it means to be human. What is the nature of desire? What constitutes happiness? Above all, as both individuals and as members of a society, how do we weigh our obligations to others against our obligations to ourselves? Tolstoy writes as if there could be nothing about his characters and their world he does not know. At the same time, his novel is about, in his words, something to which words describing “characters, acts, situations” can only refer indirectly. Perhaps he brings us as close as any novelist has to life’s deepest mysteries. But mysteries they remain.
The novel is divided into eight parts, so we will discuss one each week. Please read Part One prior to the first session.
Mike Levine is an independent editor. He was previously an acquisitions editor at Northwestern University Press. Among the authors he published were Jen Beagin (Whiting Award winner), A. E. Stallings (National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry, finalist), and Stephen Karam (Pulitzer Prize in Drama, finalist). He has also been a senior editor at the Great Books Foundation. Since 2000, he has taught literature and film seminars in several continuing education programs. He has a BA from Washington University in St. Louis and a PhD in English from Rice University.
About this series
Whether you’re looking to catch up on great novels or you’re interested in exploring a new writer or literary period, our reading groups offer high-level literary discussion led by experts in the field.
Members Only: The LiterariansFree
Wednesday, 12:30 pm EDT - 2:00 pm EDT May 19, 2021
Experimental Writing for Non-Experimental Writers with Porochista Khakpour$150
Saturday & Sunday 2:00 pm EDT - 5:15 pm EDT May 22 to May 23, 2021
Lining Up the Bones of a YA Story with Emily X.R. Pan$125
Saturday & Sunday 2:00 pm EDT - 4:15 pm EDT June 5 to June 6, 2021
The Spoken Role with Charles Bock$125
Friday & Saturday 6:00 pm EDT - 8:15 pm EDT June 11 to June 12, 2021
NEA Big Read: From the Desk of Zoe Washington Middle Grade Reading Group
Saturday, 1:00 pm EDT - 2:30 pm EDT June 12, 2021
Beyond the Tropes II: African American Voices in Speculative Short Story Form with Marc Abbott
3 Monthly Sessions Sundays, 12:00 pm EDT - 1:30 pm EDT June 13 to August 8, 2021
Writers on Writers with Sheila Kohler
4 Monthly Sessions Wednesdays, 6:00 pm EDT - 7:30 pm EDT June 16 to September 15, 2021
Rachel Cusk’s Outline Trilogy with Miriam Tuliao
3 Monthly Sessions Thursdays, 6:30 pm EDT - 7:30 pm EDT June 17 to August 19, 2021
On Writing Grief with Diane Zinna$495
Once a week Mondays, 7:00 pm EDT - 9:00 pm EDT June 21 to August 9, 2021
Book Adaptations and Hollywood with Phil Cohen$150
Friday & Saturday 5:00 pm EDT - 8:00 pm EDT June 25 to June 26, 2021
How to Get In: Applying to Fellowships, Residencies, Conferences, and Creative Writing Programs with Jonathan Escoffery$150
Friday - Sunday 2:00 pm EDT - 4:00 pm EDT June 25 to June 27, 2021
The Stories and Secrets of Women of Color with Regina A. Bernard
4 Monthly Sessions Wednesdays, 6:00 pm EDT - 7:30 pm EDT June 30 to September 29, 2021
Rethinking Race in Fantasy Literature with Joy Sanchez-Taylor
Every Other Week Thursdays, 6:00 pm EDT - 7:30 pm EDT July 1 to August 12, 2021
Truth and Lies: Autobiographical Fiction and Fictional Autobiography with Lisa Zeidner
Friday - Sunday 11:00 am EDT - 1:00 pm EDT July 9 to July 11, 2021
Introduction to Writing the Short Story with Elizabeth Wetmore (Sold Out)$600
Monday - Thursday 1:00 pm EDT - 3:00 pm EDT July 12 to July 22, 2021