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Limits to Interpretation
The Meanings of Anna Karenina

An imaginative, revealing analysis

Vladimir E. Alexandrov advocates a broad revision of the academic study of literature, proposing an adaptive, text-specific approach designed to minimize the circularity of interpretation inherent in the act of reading. He illustrates this method with 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.


Vladimir E. Alexandrov Vladimir E. Alexandrov is the B. E. Bensinger Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Yale University, editor of The Garland Companion to Vladimir Nabokov, and author of Nabokov's Otherworld and The Black Russian.




“A major contribution to Tolstoy studies. ... Essential.”

“I find this book particularly attractive because it is rooted in formalist and structuralist theory, skeptical about both the premises and the results of much (especially American) later criticism, and respectful of the text of Anna Karenina.”
Slavic Review

“Alexandrov does not insist on the resolution of the novel's basic contradictions but leaves it to his reader what to make of Anna Karenina: a work whose tumult of meanings ultimately undoes it or makes it mysterious and rich, like life.”
Modern Philology


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Limits to Interpretation

New in Paperback!
October, 2017
LC: 2003022202 PQ
368 pp. 6 x 9

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Paper $21.95 s
ISBN 978-0-299-19544-9
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Cloth $34.95 s
ISBN 978-0-299-19540-3
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