The University of Wisconsin Press

Russian & Slavic Studies / Literature & Criticism

Limits to Interpretation
The Meanings of Anna Karenina
Vladimir E. Alexandrov

"A much more exhaustive and detailed analysis of the novel than anyone has ever attempted before—an analysis quite remarkable and illuminating, and nothing less than admirable in its search for the secrets of Tolstoy in the labyrinth of his own text."
—Joseph Frank

Vladimir E. Alexandrov advocates a broad revision of the academic study of literature and proposes an adaptive, text-specific reading methodology that is designed to minimize the circularity of interpretation inherent in the act of reading. He illustrates this method on the example of Tolstoy's classic novel via a detailed "map" of the different possible readings that the novel can support. The novel Anna Karenina emerges as deeply conflicted, polyvalent, and quite unlike what one finds in other critical studies.

"Alexandrov has written an immensely thorough, imaginative, original, and revealing analysis of this great novel that is at the same time a forthright advocacy of more rigorous, text-focused interpretation. The book should thus be of great interest both to Tolstoy aficionados and to adepts of the theory of narrative prose."—Hugh McLean

Vladimir E. Alexandrov is professor of Slavic languages and literatures at Yale University, editor of The Garland Companion to Vladimir Nabokov, and author of Nabokov's Otherworld.

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July 2004
LC: 2003022202 PQ
368 pp.   6 x 9  

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ISBN 978-0-299-19540-3
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“A major contribution to Tolstoy studies. . . . Essential.”

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Updated August 15, 2012

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