Anna Karenina in Eight Memes

Michael Bird

Leo Tolstoy’s 1878 epic of adultery and bigotry ultra-condensed into a one-minute read.

The image uses a popular meme format. The image shows Batman slapping Robin across the face. Robin's speech bubble says "Happy families are all alike." Batman's speech bubble says "Every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."
The image uses a popular meme format. A cartoon in three panels. The first panel is a man riding his bike holding a bar as he rides. The text in the first panel says "Passionate, romantic, beautiful Anna." The second panel shows the man sticking the pipe in the spoke of his bike wheel. The text in the second panel reads "Her marriage to Alexei Karenin, a man 20 years older. The third panel shows the man holding his knee after falling off of his bike due to sticking the bar in the wheel.
The image uses a popular meme format. The image shows a little girl close to the camera with a mischievous look on her face. In the background a house is on fire and firemen surround the property. The text at the top of the image reads "Falling in love with Anna Karenina." The text next to the little girl reads "Count Vronsky."
A popular meme format. The image shows Bernie Sanders from a political ad standing on a snowy sidewalk. The text above Bernie says "Count Vronsky" and the text below reads "I am once again asking do you love me, Anna?"
A popular meme format. The image depicts a man in a blue checkered shirt checking out a woman in red in the foreground. The girl in a blue shirt holding hands with the man looks at him with disbelief in her eyes. The label for the man is "Anna Karenina", the label for the woman in blue is "Alexei Karenin" and the label given to the woman in red is "Count Vronsky."
A popular meme format. The top image shows rapper Drake putting his hand up and turned away, his face showing disgust and rejection. The white text below him reads "Imperial Russian Society." The black text to the right says "Married woman having an affair with a single man." The bottom left image of Drake shows him pointing and nodding appreciatively. The white text below him says "Imperial Russian Society." The black text beside him reads "Single man having an affair with a married woman."
A popular meme format. The image shows 2 cartoon panels. The top panel shows a human reaching out to a bright yellow ball. The top text reads "Maybe this will help." The human is labeled as "Anna Karenina" and the yellow ball is labled as "Morphine." The bottom panel shows the same drawing reaching for the ball labeled "Morphine" but a pink figure wraps arms around the image of the human figure. The human figure has a single sweat drop beading from the forehead. The pink figure looming behind the human is labeled "Paranoia."
A popular meme format. The image shows two road signs on a highway. The highway has a straight lane and an exit. The sign for the straight lane reads "Suffer alienation, misogny and emotional uncertainty." The sign for the exit lane reads "Chuck yourself under a train." The car on the highway speeds into the exit lane, smoke billowing out from the car's exhaust. The car is labeled Anna "Karenina."


Which literary classics should we memeify next? Follow us on Twitter @BanditFiction and we’ll turn your favorite works of literature into expressions of our modern world.

About the Contributor

Michael Bird (he/him) is a Romania-based writer and journalist, with stories published by Bristol Short Story Prize, Storgy, The University of Huddersfield Press and Bandit Fiction, among others. As a journalist, he has investigated the last convicted vampire hunter in Romania, Donald Trump’s dealings with Kazakh oligarchs, home-made killer drugs in Georgia, and, currently, how Covid-19 spreads among migrant workers in meat-packing factories across Europe.

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