Authored by: Antti Kauppinen

The Routledge Handbook Of Philosophy Of Well-Being

Print publication date:  August  2015
Online publication date:  July  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415714532
eBook ISBN: 9781315682266
Adobe ISBN: 9781317402657


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When he loses his brother, Konstantin Levin, the true hero of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, faces a kind of existential crisis:

From that moment when, at the sight of his beloved brother dying, Levin had looked at the questions of life and death for the first time through those new [atheist] convictions [. . .] he had been horrified, not so much at death as at life without the slightest knowledge of whence it came, wherefore, why, and what it was . . . . “Without knowing what I am and why I’m here, it is impossible for me to live. And I cannot know that, therefore I cannot live,” Levin would say to himself. [. . .] And, happy in his family life, a healthy man, Levin was several times so close to suicide that he hid a rope lest he hang himself with it, and was afraid to go about with a rifle lest he shoot himself.

(Tolstoy 1877/2001: 528, 530)

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