11 worst couples in literature: Anna Karenina and Alexei Vronsky from Anna Karenina


No. 6.  Anna Karenina and Alexei Vronsky from Anna Karenina

Spoiler alert!

OK – so your husband is as dull as a potato and Count Vronsky is handsome, charming and passionate. But you’re in Russia and look at the calendar – it’s 1873. This is not a relationship with good prospects. For Vronsky: Anna will disturb your well ordered life of affairs and pleasure. Your relationship with her will also ruin your army career.

“I always loved you, and if one loves anyone, one loves the whole person, just as they are and not as one would like them to be.”

For Anna: Vronsky is a man who doesn’t value marriage, he claims it as an absurd social institution. And there will be no ideal family life with him. Your life will be banishment to a country house, being ostracised from society and ending up under a train. For someone with so much to offer that is a huge price to pay. Who said life was fair? It could be worse. You could be Tess of the d’Urbervilles.

                                                                                            The Long Victorian

Waltz Scene from the 2012 film version of Anna Karenina


Worst couples in literature – The complete list

No. 11.  Charlotte Lucas and Mr. Collins from Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)

No. 10.  Rosamund Vincy and Dr Lydgate from Middlemarch (George Eliot)

No. 9.  Lydia and George Wickham from Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)

No. 8.  Dorothea and Edward Casaubon from Middlemarch (George Eliot)

No. 7.  Arabella Donn and Jude Fawley from Jude the Obscure (Thomas Hardy)

No. 6.  Anna Karenina and Alexei Vronsky from Anna Karenina (Leo Tolstoy)

No. 5.  Bertha and Edward Rochester from Jane Eyre (Charlotte Brontë)

No. 4.  Madeline Bray and Arthur Gride from Nicholas Nickleby (Charles Dickens)

No.3.  Laura Fairlie and Sir Percival Glyde from The Woman in White (Wilkie Collins)

No.2.  Angel & Tess and Alec & Tess from Tess of the d’Urbervilles (Thomas Hardy)

No.1  Heathcliff and Catherine from Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)


14 thoughts on “11 worst couples in literature: Anna Karenina and Alexei Vronsky from Anna Karenina

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  1. I suppose you think falling in love is planned. This couple is far more believable than some romance novelist like Jane Austin might conjure, and it seems to me that most of these writers are about as romantic as a set of car keys in real life. But fantasy does outsell reality hands down.
    But it’s ok to have Mystery romance Theater. As for me, i loved it except the ending… 🙂


    1. Good points! The way I look at it there are different personality types and people experience love in different ways. I think Jane Austen understood about types of love, though she was restricted in what she could say because of her social position and what was acceptable at the time. Marianne Dashwood experiences one sort of love for Willoughby – but I think she learns to love Colonel Brandon, just in a different way. Elizabeth Bennet almost lets herself love Wickham, but she has a very different love for Darcy. And Emma feels herself falling in love with Frank Churchill, but finds a deeper love with Mr Knightley

      I suspect we connect to classic love stories because we all have some capacity for love like Anna and Vronsky in us, as well as the capacity for a quieter love. We can relate to these relationships – if we couldn’t we wouldn’t still be reading them after 100-200 years. That said, some love does seem to have “DOOMED” written above it. That’s my tuppence worth, anyway.

      Life is magic, but we forget it sometimes. These great writers remind us.

      Thanks for the comment 🙂


      1. hmm you remind me of Lizzy and are obviously well versed in classic romance. You write very well and have a splendid imagination. It has been my experience that passionate love just is, and some refuse to see it or feel it because they fear how out of control it might make them. Yes, I agree there are many different types of love but for me there is one in true romance, and that is Lizzy and Darcy kind, the kind you would die for – and sometimes do inside of your heart and soul. Of course, few can weather than kind of obsessive devotion, as Eric found out along with all other phantoms of the night… here’s to your 1st NY Times Best seller! Cheers! 🙂


  2. Oooh … thank you for your kind words – I shall be autographing copies of my non existent first novel any time soon. 🙂

    I can’t think of many passionate relationships in literature that last – they are like a candle lit at both ends, tending to be hot, bright and short. But I suppose a relationship is measured by quality rather than quantity. Cheers!


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