Russian Literary Masterpieces: Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina" with Dr. Nina Wieda

Russian Literary Masterpieces: Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina" with Dr. Nina Wieda


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Film adaptations often present the plot of Anna Karenina as a dazzling love story. Tolstoy would be terrified to see his novel interpreted like that. He meant Anna Karenina as a study in family happiness, where daily acts of active love are much more important than outstanding passionate gestures. In this masterpiece of psychological realism, Tolstoy’s characters come to life as complex individuals navigating the space between fantasy and reality.

In the seminar, we’ll walk with the characters through their hopes, disappointments, and personal growth. We’ll see them indulge in their delusions and learn to leave them behind. We’ll explore the nature of cruelty and question what it means to be truly honest with oneself. Tolstoy believed that lasting happiness can only be based on little ordinary joys, which often remain unnoticed, “like gold in the sand.” The seminar will help you share Tolstoy’s observant gaze and find the gold of his psychological insights in this vibrant novel.

Led by an expert on Russian Literature, Nina Wieda, this Conversation will illuminate the psychological insights of Tolstoy’s masterpiece. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased passion for Russian literature and a desire to read more of it.

This seminar is part of an extended series, designed to be enjoyed independently or as a collective. We invite you to explore:

Nina Wieda is a native of the Caucasus living in Chicago, USA. She holds a PhD in Slavic from Northwestern University and an MA in Nationalism Studies from Central European University. She worked as a newspaper journalist in the Caucasus and wrote her Master's thesis about the Northern Caucasus region. She teaches at Northwestern University near Chicago.

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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