Bibliography of Willa Cather's Reading
Total Number of Entries in Reading Bibliography: 1056
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Author: Tolstoy, Leo
Title: Anna Karenina
Note Relating to
Cather: In an 1896 Journal article Cather writes: "Tolstoi is writing a new novel. Heaven grant that it is not another Master and Man, and yet the deluded old man once wrote Anna Karenina!"
In a letter to H.L. Mencken, "Cather writes that when she was fourteen she came upon four of Tolstoy's works — Anna Karenina, The Cossacks, The Death of Ivan Ilyich, and The Kreutzer Sonata — and for the next three years read them over and over again. She says that this reading so strongly colored the way she saw her own world in America that she eventually turned to a long apprenticeship with Henry James and Mrs. Wharton to get over it. Yet in writing O Pioneers!, she wonders if she has really recovered from the Russian influence."
In The Song of the Lark, Thea buys a "poor translation" of Anna Karenina and is able to forget the people of Moonstone in her absorption in the story; but "Thea would have been astonished if she could have known how, years afterward, when she had need of them, those old faces [of Moonstone] were to come back to her... that they would seem to her then as full of meaning, as mysteriously marked by Destiny, as the people who danced the mazurka under the elegant Korsunsky," the director of the ball in Part I, Chap. 22 of Tolstoy's novel.
In "Consequences" in Uncle Valentine and Other Stories, Henry Eastman tells Kier Cavenaugh that he thinks most suicides are without motive, merely acts of desperation, like Anna Karenina's.
Note Source: Journal 5/17/1896; O Pioneers! Scholarly Edition, "Historical Essay" 291; Song of the Lark Part I, Chap. 17; Uncle Valentine and Other Stories 76