La reine est morte. Vive la reine. We have been arguing not so much a replacement queen as some kind of vivid, enduring presence who is created during the novel, and lives on after it. But the fact remains that in order for this to happen, Anna had first to die. Her death may well have been the inevitable destiny of an extravagantly passionate character, and it may also in part have been the result of the affront she caused to the society in which she lived; but both of these issues occur after the primal event of her creation. They are the symptoms rather than the causes of a situation that is already posed as irremediable. So the triumphalism which attempts to claim Anna as victor rather than victim, as able to vanquish her own death through that very death, must probe a question which comes from further back. We should now be wondering by what right Tolstoy created her at all. To what extent can a male author assume a feminine persona and write her ‘from the inside’? What are the conditions and limitations of such a presumptuous act of creation?
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