Leo Tolstoy — was born in central Russia. After serving in the Crimean War, he retired to his estate and devoted himself to writing, farming, and raising his large family. His novels and outspoken social polemics brought him world fame. Fiction Classics Literary Fiction. Also by Leo Tolstoy. Inspired by Your Browsing History. Looking for More Great Reads? Download our Spring Fiction Sampler Now. The Kreutzer Sonata and Other Stories.
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LitFlash The eBooks you want at the lowest prices. Marital happiness, he seems to say in the first of these, is illusory and sure to crash on the shoals of sexuality. A "madman" rants on page after page about the impurity of marriage, or "long-term prostitution" as he calls it. Marital life alternates, the madman says, between bouts of sexual indulgence and mutual hate. The only hope, he seems to say, Tolstoy wrote both the novella "The Kreutzer Sonata" and the short story "The Devil" in during the period when his marriage was floundering. The only hope, he seems to say, is for a man and woman to live as brother and sister in a spiritual union that precludes "bestial indulgence.
While Tolstoy was surely losing faith in his own marriage at this time, I am uncomfortable with the common critical gesture of turning this madman, who after all is a murderer, into a simple spokesperson for Tolstoy's own views although I grant there must be some of this! It concerns a young landowner who just wants to put his own "healthy" pre-marital affair with a young peasant woman behind and lead a happy life with his new wife.
But it is not so simple. The enticements of the past have a way of coming back--and "The Devil" becomes a classic study of male obsession and self-destructiveness. Mar 16, April rated it liked it. Do you miss going to church on Sunday and having your preacher tell you the right way to live your life? If you do, this is the book for you. It's still Tolstoy of course, so even while he's moralizing, his reflections on humans and human nature are always engaging.
Still, I prefer many of his other works, where his heart struggled with greater success to overcome the preacher.
The Kreutzer Sonata and Other Stories
Feb 04, Sierra Abrams rated it really liked it Shelves: Each of the three stories was better than the last: All were very impressive and brought their point across nicely. The day I finished it, I eyed my copy of War and Peace for a while, wondering when I should pick it up and hoping it would be very soon. Recommended, most definitely, but not for everyone.
The Kreutzer Sonata talks of a man who stabbed his wife to death, much due to jealousy; also underlying is the way beauty deceives and how easily we lie to ourselves. And The Death of Ivan Illych is about the life of a man who was ordinary, thought he was extraordinary, and when he died realized the truth about himself. Feb 28, Fatima Bastaki rated it it was ok. Not very unique I would say. I just got to connect with it despite the tedious complaints of an old dying man. Not everyone will necessarily feel the torturous pain of dying, but suffering is present. And in suffering, we could find ourselves in solitude.
Almost all of us can find ourselves in that kind of downfall Ivan has experienced. This illness, this suffering has forced him to confront all that went wrong in his life but moreover that he has to confront himself. A woman is happy, and attains all that she desires, when she captivates a man; hence the great object of her life is to master the art of captivating men.
And I am appalled that piece of shit read barely got any 2 or 1 stars from the goodreaders. Throughout the story, he meets someone in the train to reveal his convictions and why he murdered his wife. But really, all I have to say is this man is just the whiniest, deluded, sexist, ignorant, jealous and annoying character. He certainly has nothing interesting to say about the deception of marriage.
He kills his wife with NO evidence of her supposed affair just proves that this guy is really way over his head. I'd like to mention that this is mostly a subjective review, my hate for the third short story is what gave me the initiative to write this review.
The Kreutzer Sonata and Other Short Stories
This book contains the following stories by Leo Tolstoy, all which I have reviewed individually. None of them overly impressed me. I picked this book up after The Kreutzer Sonata was mentioned in Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak , as being read by one of the characters in that book. So this was a diversion re This book contains the following stories by Leo Tolstoy, all which I have reviewed individually.
So this was a diversion read for me, and since the other four stories were included in my copy of Kreutzer, I decided to read them all. Thankfully they are short stories, and not full length novels like Anna Karenina , though Anna was a much more well rounded story than these shorts. I'm shelving this with a read date in so it gets marked as read, yet doesn't show up in my read count for this year, as I reviewed all the stories individually.
Postface to 'The Kreutzer Sonata' Appendix 2: Alternative Conclusion to 'The Devil' Notes. View all 3 comments. After reading Karenina, I had a really hard time to find anything that would make me feel the same involvement as a reader. I did try, but in the end I went back to old Leo and his short stories, recommended by a friend. I have the Penguin Classics edition which includes: Family Happiness, The Kreutzer Sonata, The Devil and Father Sergius - accompanied by a very interesting preface but most of all, of a mind blowing postface by Tolstoy himself, where he tries to explain his intentions and thought After reading Karenina, I had a really hard time to find anything that would make me feel the same involvement as a reader.
Family Happiness, The Kreutzer Sonata, The Devil and Father Sergius - accompanied by a very interesting preface but most of all, of a mind blowing postface by Tolstoy himself, where he tries to explain his intentions and thoughts for the Sonata. Tolstoy is a master of the short form as well - he treats human nature as a crime story, building suspense as to what might be next, what might be the character thinking and where is this narrative going.
The Kreutzer Sonata has one of the most original openings and in my opinion, has the structure of the actual music piece. If you listen to it while reading the story, you might get the same impression. It is a true study of human emotion, its depths and contradictions. It goes well beyond any opinion on love and relationships and faces personal demons. What happens after marriage?
Seems to be the question he wants to answer - most stories end in a wedding but this one is the "after". Having seen Bergman's Scenes from a Marriage again quite recently, there does seem to be an invisible thread linking the two and their questions. The dark horse of this collection is, however, Father Sergius.
A true knock out of a story, in which Tolstoy again lays it all out for religion, God, hypocrisy, society, conflicting emotions and expectations, the crushing of one's ideals and how you can have your own idea of God in a society that is built on institutions. Man-made ones, full of flaws, as he shows in detail. Father Sergius and his life reminded me very much of Francoise Dolto's reading of the Good Samaritan parable in her wonderful book, The Jesus of psychoanalysis: A Freudian interpretation of the Gospel highly recommended.
Here again Tolstoy is ahead of his time and I cannot imagine the Orthodox church being happy to have read this, especially back then. His postface is full of ideas and arguments that are extremely rational and at the same time, extreme "What we need is not an ideal, but rules and guidance that are within our power to follow. A struggle which only contributed to making him such a great writer, that is still very relevant and very modern.
Mar 30, Aslihan rated it really liked it. Mar 02, Erin rated it it was amazing.
The Kreutzer Sonata and Other Stories - Leo Tolstoy - Oxford University Press
What I love about Tolstoy is the conflict evident in his novels; he wants humanity to strive towards spiritual goodness but humanity is composed of individuals who are only capable of striving stubbornly for this and that and Tolstoy is overcome by compassion for their random strivings. He is a great writer because he does not force his characters to strive for goodness, and I think this broke his heart, he follows them as they follow their own destinies and this sadness about the intractabilit What I love about Tolstoy is the conflict evident in his novels; he wants humanity to strive towards spiritual goodness but humanity is composed of individuals who are only capable of striving stubbornly for this and that and Tolstoy is overcome by compassion for their random strivings.
He is a great writer because he does not force his characters to strive for goodness, and I think this broke his heart, he follows them as they follow their own destinies and this sadness about the intractability of human nature permeates all of his stories. The Kreutzer Sonata is an extreme example of this conflict between what people want and what is right and good. I had not read this story in a long time and had remembered the Sonata itself as taking up most of the story. I was surprised to discover that although the Sonata is performed at a crucial point in the narrative and the echoing chords ring in the ears of poor Pozdnischeff, the music itself is only briefly mentioned.
The Kreutzer Sonata and Other Stories
What I love about this story is the structure; it is a story within a story told by a murderer to an impartial first person narrator, as they travel through the night on a train. At first the murderer seems to be a madman, he behaves strangely, drinks a poisonously strong tea, smokes compulsively, admits to strangers that he killed his wife, he raves about indecent clothing and fashionably lax morals which I take as symbols of the most superficial aspects of society that lure the individual away from spiritual goodness. The betrayal that lies at the stabbed heart of the story is in fact, his betrayal of her, because for all his jealous rage, it turns out that the unthinkable thing which he imagined she had done was not adultery but murder.
And because humanity refuses to strive towards goodness it is only through remorse that they can perceive the truth and recognize the folly of their ways. Molto diverso dagli altri libri del grande Tolstoj ma comunque un'ottima lettura. Mi ha ricordato molto tralasciando le prime pagine la struttura delle Memorie dal sottosuolo: Le prime pagine sono invece simili alle altre opere di Tolstoj: Tutto il libro racconta poi un'unica scena: Le sue teorie riguardano l'amore, il matrimonio, il sesso: Breve romanzo sconsigliato a chi cerca il coinvolgimento emotivo di "Guerra e pace".
Consigliato a chi ama i libri brevi ed intensi, come La novella degli scacchi , Ventiquattr'ore nella vita di una donna e agli appassionati di Dostoevskij.
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