Anna Karenina was the next major novel of Tolstoy after his War and Peace. “In order for a work to be good, one must love its main basic idea. In Anna Karenina I love the family idea while in War and Peace I loved the national idea,” Tolstoy said once to his wife.
The first idea of the plot occurred to Tolstoy as early as seven years before the novel was written. “Yesterday he told me,” wrote his wife in her diary, “that he imagined the character of a married woman belonging to the highest circles of society, but having lost herself. He said that his aim would be to make her pitiful but not guilty…”