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The Kreutzer Sonata by Leo Tolstoy
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The Kreutzer Sonata (1889)

by Leo Tolstoy

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Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
Praised by many as Tolstoy's best short story—or novella, really—I'm shocked that I've never read this until now, if only for the reason that Tolstoy's best inevitably means one of the best novellas ever written. And The Kreutzer Sonata is definitely that; it's also one of the beginning texts of existentialist literature, and I can imagine Camus and even Proust reading this with relish.

In a mere hundred or so pages, Tolstoy attacks everything: the oppressive system of gender inequality; the class system; capitalism, money, and the ignorance in which children are reared; marriage; religion; medicine; the legal system—in short, every subject under the sun is scrutinized and unashamedly bashed to pieces here, in a novella that renders the act of confession as the only means of redemption in a world of lost faith, principles, and morals, a motif that pairs this rather well with Camus's La chute, whose own narrator seems oddly reminiscent at times with Tolstoy's in Kreutzer.

One can see why this was banned and why there was such a scandal when Tolstoy published this in 1889, and many of its subjects and concerns are still sadly relevant today. ( )
  proustitute | Jul 17, 2014 |
Praised by many as Tolstoy's best short story—or novella, really—I'm shocked that I've never read this until now, if only for the reason that Tolstoy's best inevitably means one of the best novellas ever written. And The Kreutzer Sonata is definitely that; it's also one of the beginning texts of existentialist literature, and I can imagine Camus and even Proust reading this with relish.

In a mere hundred or so pages, Tolstoy attacks everything: the oppressive system of gender inequality; the class system; capitalism, money, and the ignorance in which children are reared; marriage; religion; medicine; the legal system—in short, every subject under the sun is scrutinized and unashamedly bashed to pieces here, in a novella that renders the act of confession as the only means of redemption in a world of lost faith, principles, and morals, a motif that pairs this rather well with Camus's La chute, whose own narrator seems oddly reminiscent at times with Tolstoy's in Kreutzer.

One can see why this was banned and why there was such a scandal when Tolstoy published this in 1889, and many of its subjects and concerns are still sadly relevant today. ( )
  proustitute | Jul 17, 2014 |
"The Kreutzer Sonata" is a fascinating short novella by Leo Tolstoy. This is a quick and easy read but also pretty interesting.

The tale focuses on two passengers on a train -- one man talks about how he killed his wife in a jealous rage while promoting the idea of sexual abstinence. There's a lot here to examine in this short work. ( )
  amerynth | Dec 21, 2013 |
A novella. Tolstoy uses this novella to express his ideals of marriage, love, sex and his promotion of abstinence. Pozdynyshev overhears a conversation about love and divorce and becomes so agitated that he interjects himself into their conversation and challenges their ideas of love and he states that the only right state is abstinence. After they leave he tells his story of how he came to kill his wife to an unnamed passenger. Pozdyyshev became so jealous of his wife that he killed her. Tolstoy evolved a new Christianity based on his own interpretation of the Gospels. He did not believe that Jesus created marriage but the church created marriage. ( )
  Kristelh | Nov 16, 2013 |
Two men sitting on a train alone during the night - the main character, Pozdnyshev, lay bare his soul and tells about the reason why he killed his wife - and the event that lead up to it - and why he got away with it. The narrator is the one who hear this brutally honest story.

The main themes of this menage-a-trois are the eternal battle of the sexes - and jealousy within marriage - and infidelity (perhaps).

As a story alone it's shocking, filled with indignation and rage - mainly towards the institution of marriage and the idea of romantic love - but also towards the emancipation of women.

The unfortunate thing is that Tolstoy had to write a "postludium" - sort of a tract telling us readers what moral ideas he wanted to communicate with his story. I would almost say: Don't read it. It will maybe spoil the whole story. I disagreed with almost everything Tolstoy said in this postscript - and it really wasn't necessary - only made me more confused - Tolstoys dismissal of romantic love, the evil of sex, his denial of marriage as an institution, his gloomy look on women in general is not really worth to bother about. ( )
2 vote ctpress | Sep 28, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Leo Tolstoyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kamen, IsaiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Oliver, JonathanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0812968239, Paperback)

When Marshal of the Nobility Pozdnyshev suspects his wife of having an affair with her music partner, his jealousy consumes him and drives him to murder. Controversial upon publication in 1890, The Kreutzer Sonata illuminates Tolstoy’s then-feverish Christian ideals, his conflicts with lust and the hypocrisies of nineteenth-century marriage, and his thinking on the role of art and music in society.

In her Introduction, Doris Lessing shows how relevant The Kreutzer Sonata is to our understanding of Tolstoy the artist, as well as to feminism and literature. This Modern Library Paperback Classic also contains Tolstoy’s Sequel to the Kruetzer Sonata.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:30:56 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

"When Marshal of the Nobility Pozdnyshev suspects his wife of having an affair with her music partner, his jealousy consumes him and drives him to murder. Controversial upon publication in 1890, The Kreutzer Sonata illuminates Tolstoy's then-feverish Christian ideals, his conflicts with lust and the hypocrisies of nineteenth-century marriage, and his thinking on the role of art and music in society." "In her Introduction, Doris Lessing shows how relevant The Kreutzer Sonata is to our understanding of Tolstoy the artist, as well as to feminism and literature. This Modern Library Paperback Classic also contains Tolstoy's sequel to The Kreutzer Sonata."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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