Off the Bookshelf: Signs of That Thrill

Short excerpts from long reads

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"The whole ball up to the last quadrille was for Kitty an enchanted vision of delightful colors, sounds, and motions. She sat down only when she felt too tired and begged for a rest. But as she was dancing the last quadrille with one of the tiresome young men whom she could not refuse, she chanced to be vis-à-vis with Vronsky and Anna. She had not been near Anna since the beginning of the evening, and now again she saw her suddenly quite new and surprising. She saw in her the signs of that thrill she knew so well in herself; she saw that she was intoxicated with the delighted admiration she was exciting. She knew that feeling and knew it's signs, and saw them in Anna; saw the quivering, flashing light in her eyes, and the smile of happiness and excitement unconsciously playing on her lips, and the deliberate grace, precision, and lightness of her movements.

"'Who?' she asked herself. 'All or one?' And not assisting the harassed young man she was dancing with in the conversation, the thread of which he had lost and could not pick up agian, she obeyed with external liveliness the peremptory shouts of Korsunsky starting them all into the grand rond, and then into the chaîne, and at the same time she kept watch with a growing pang at her heart. 'No, it's not the admiration of the crowd that has intoxicated her, but the adoration of one. And that one? Can it be he?'" ~ from Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Image credit: Reuters

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Conor Friedersdorf is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he focuses on politics and national affairs. He lives in Venice, California, and is the founding editor of The Best of Journalism, a newsletter devoted to exceptional nonfiction.

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