Classification – name: Literary studies
Pages: 287–332
Publisher: A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IWL RAS Publ.)
Rights – description: Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 (СС BY-ND)
Rights – URL:
Language of the publication: Russian
Type of document: Research Article
Collection: L.N. Tolstoy: Moral Search and Creative Laboratory
Year of publication: 2021
Place of publication: Moscow


Author: Valeria G. Andreeva
Andreeva, V.G. “Character System in Leo Tolstoy’s Novel ‘Anna Karenina’: the Role of Secondary, Tertiary and Episodic Characters in the Creation of the Work’s Artistic Integrity.” L.N. Tolstoy: Moral Search and Creative Laboratory. Moscow, IWL RAS Publ., 2021, pp. 287–332. (In Russ.)

About the author:

Valeria G. Andreeva, DSc in Philology, Leading Research Fellow, A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Povarskaya  25 a, 121069 Moscow, Russia


E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



The article examines the role of secondary and tertiary characters in the novel “Anna Karenina” by Leo Tolstoy in creating an artistic whole work, in illustrating the typicality and uniqueness of life situations, in revealing the depths of the human psyche. The study of a complex roll call of images, consideration of parallels between characters, analysis of the similarities of characters in the final text and versions, as well as some episodes that were not included in the novel, allows you to show the movement of the writer’s thought and his attitude to the characters, to understand the author’s system of values. As in his earlier works, in Anna Karenina, Tolstoy depicts the spiritual world of a person and illuminates in detail the inner struggle of the individual. But when creating Anna Karenina, the writer turned not to particular oppositions of heroes, but tried to create a hierarchy containing all human qualities and traits, basing it on the only possible divine idea that embraces everything. The author of the work compares the images and behavioral characteristics of the secondary characters in the final text and draft materials, noting several significant figures and situations not included by the writer in the novel.

Keywords: Leo Tolstoy, character system, storylines, hero, psychologism, artistic world, associative linkages, novel variants, artistic parallels, motive.