Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Inspiration: Anna Karenina

Leo Tolstoy began writing Anna Karenina in March 1873.  He had just completed War and Peace and intended to write his next novel about Peter the Great, but in 1872 Tolstoy had seen an inquest into the death of a cast-off mistress named Anna Pirogova who had thrown herself in front of a train.  He began drafting the novel and through all these drafts his sympathies changed.  At first he describes Anna's husband, Karenin, as long suffering and kind but Anna as harsh and selfish.  These portrayals changed through the draft process and Tolstoy began to sympathize more with Anna's character, therefore crafting a far more complex psychology.
 It is no wonder that Anna Karenina has been made and re- made into classic films starring some of film history's best actresses, from Greta Garbo to Vivien Leigh.  Now Keira Knightley has her turn.  I can't wait to see if she lives up to her predecessors.  I have high hopes because I saw her in The Duchess and she was really wonderful.

The beautiful Swedish actress Greta Garbo in Anna Karenina 1935.

A stunning Vivien Leigh in Anna Karenina (1948).

Ever since I saw Knightley in The Duchess, I have been convinced that she is a fabulous actress who is more than capable of playing this role brilliantly.  We will soon see...


I am so inspired by the look of 17th century Russian aristocracy.  It is lush and ornate.  Obviously this look translates beautifully to the big screen, but how can one do the same in everyday life?  Well, I don't think it takes much.  If fact you can't do this look from head to toe without looking like you are in costume.  A few pieces are all you need to evoke the romantic feel of the era.  A fur collar, a rich hued shoe or a beaded bag or earring.  Whatever you choose, you can't miss.  Even Banana Republic has joined in on the "Anna Karenina trend."

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Day 20  I am thankful that I have a husband who is willing to help with any crazy project I throw his way:  Today he hung a huge branch from the ceiling.  He never asked 'why' he just went to work.  How did I get so lucky?



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