It is two months after Anna’s death. Koznyshev has published his book after six years’ work. He expects it to cause a great stir in the scholarly world, but nothing happens: there’s one review that makes fun of the book, but other than that, silence, and the book essentially is gone without a trace. Koznyshev realizes that everyone is talking about the Slavic question, not his workers’ rights issues, and he pours himself into the popular cause. In July, he decides to visit Levin for a rest in the country. Levin’s friend from university, Katavasov, joins him.
The fate of Koznyshev’s book—so much work leading up to it, but then no comment once it finally appears—mirrors what the reader probably feels about Tolstoy’s treatment of Anna’s death at this point in the novel: the entire plot has built up to this great moment, but then when it happens, the book has moved on, and no one seems to care. So in the last section of the novel, Tolstoy plunges into another plotline, just as Koznyshev devotes himself to new research. The world marches on, despite the overwhelming intensity of each individual’s life.