• Reading the suprasensual in Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina: a thesis in eight parts

      Short, Nicole (2022-08)
      Throughout the text of Anna Karenina, there is a means of experience that is suprasensual, repeated moments in the text that seemed to me to deviate from Tolstoy’s apparently slavish devotion to writing objective, observable reality, departing from what can be represented concretely via the five senses. I wrote a small paper arguing that Tolstoy’s novel represented a reality that was shaped and created by human emotion, in a modernist way, and as such, the strength of Anna’s and Levin’s emotion could explain the supernatural bits of reality created around them. This thesis was sound and generally well argued, but in the years that followed the completion of that paper, I couldn’t shake my curiosity about the peasant dream; there was much more to be said, much more to incorporate and to grapple with in terms of that peasant dream, of Kitty and Levin’s wordless communication, of Anna and Levin’s ability to sense sans senses.