April 20, 2016

JUST ANOTHER STORY WHERE YOU ROOT FOR THE TRAIN:

Is "Anna Karenina" the Russian "Republic"? (T. Renee Kozinski, 4/20/16, Imaginative Conservative)

In Plato's Republic, we find that there is one 'natural' or 'healthy' state based on justice, one kind of healthy, just soul, but there are many degenerate forms of state and soul (Rep.,445c). Because justice is the state of balance and virtue in which a soul, or a state, lives according to the Good, according to Truth, according to reality, it is necessarily of one kind, as the Good is of one kind. It is Good.

This does not preclude a good kind of variety, however; if one contrasts it to degenerate forms of state and soul, one understands that there are many images, or appearances, or imitations, of the Good, but there is only one Good. The nature of evil is to be a supplementation, in a sense, a falling away from perfection; thus it is legion. Perfection, like Euclid's circle, has a unity and a simplicity, a one-ness that is not boring, but rather infinite.

anna kareninaOddly enough, Tolstoy's novel Anna Karenina begins with a pithy, arresting, and eerily similar line to that found in the Republic: "All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."

Did Tolstoy write a novel-version of the Republic?  

Tolstoy's novel about a woman falling into degeneration and finally, madness and suicide, intertwines a number of families and individuals in the Russian aristocracy of the 1800s. Anna Karenina is the wife of a high-ranking political man, Karenin; her brother, Stiva, is a philanderer married to a good woman; Levin is somewhat a philosopher and a loner, but marries the good Princess Kitty; and Count Vronsky is the seducer, whose life is destroyed along with his lover, Anna Karenina.

The major characters in the novel correspond more or less to the parts of Plato's soul and state. 

Posted by at April 20, 2016 6:36 PM

  

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