The Kreutzer Sonata
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The Kreutzer Sonata

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  7,359 ratings  ·  369 reviews
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 1889, 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...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published September 9th 2003 by Modern Library (first published 1889)
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Anna Karenina by Leo TolstoyWar and Peace by Leo TolstoyThe Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo TolstoyThe Kreutzer Sonata by Leo TolstoyResurrection by Leo Tolstoy
The Best of Tolstoy
4th out of 19 books — 412 voters
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Paquita Maria Sanchez
Lookie here, folks, this is me giving a 4-star rating to a massively sexist, pro-Christian, anti-sex, anti-birth-control novella about a guy who murders his wife for maybe cheating on him, feels justified in doing so, and gets away with it! (All of that plot-reveal is in the book's description, spoiler-markers. This story isn't about that basic series of events, but about a man's rationalization process concerning that quickly-summarized back-story, so keep your dirty mouse-clicks off of my revi...more
Fionnuala
I read this after finishing Sofia Tolstoy's wonderful diaries because the theme of The Kreutzer Sonata so exactly mirrored an episode in her life when her husband became jealous of a musician friend of hers and of the hours they spent playing music together. That real life episode gave the novella an extra relevance for me but otherwise I found it difficult to understand. I think I prefer the Tolstoy of War and Peace and Anna Karenina to the more fundamentalist Tolstoy who wrote this novella. Ho...more
Shovelmonkey1
Jan 12, 2012 Shovelmonkey1 rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: misogynists and fragile vessels
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: 1001 books list

Well that was a short, sharp burst of Tolstoy all wrapped up in the pleasingly presented package that is the Great Loves series by Penguin. Constrained to the length of a train journey, two men sharing a carriage also share a secret. One explains to the other how you can be transformed from ardent lover to cold blooded killer within a few short years of marriage. So how does one make the smooth transition from Don Juan to homicidal maniac?

There are some fairly sexist, misogynist and antiquated...more
Tatiana
Aug 05, 2011 Tatiana rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Tatiana by: 1001 Must Read Before You Die List
This must be the most disturbing view of love, sex and marriage I've come across in classical literature. I wish Tolstoy in his time had an opportunity to explore his feelings about his sexuality with a good psychotherapist. According to him, sex is vile and degrading, being sexually attracted to even one's spouse is disgusting, having sex for any reason other than procreation is disgusting, women are disgusting objects of men's disgusting desires. Every person's life goal should be chastity and...more
Jeanette
I drew my conclusions about this novella prior to reading Tolstoy's Afterword. In the Afterword, he reveals his intended messages for the book---and also reveals himself to be a serious headcase!
I waited until I'd finished the book before reading Doris Lessing's introduction about Tolstoy's life. He was a total hypocrite, making demands on his wife that were entirely at odds with the "ideal" he promotes in the Afterword.

But no matter. My rating is based on my experience of the story. What I go...more
Katherine
Opening scene: Three passengers on a train are hotly debating the future of marriage. One man, a lawyer working on a divorce case, complains that people and their values have fallen since the old days. His traveling companion, a woman intellectual, argues that the propriety of the old days was harmful to women and that the future of marriage will bring them greater freedom of choice.

And the third passenger disagrees, stating that marriage is bad for men, bad for women, and bad for society - beca...more
Lee
I will admit, since it suggests something about this one's clarity/readability and the effectiveness of its short chapters, that I read this under blankets with a cat in my lap on a sleepy January Saturday spent watching the riveting NFL divisional playoff games almost on mute -- the double OT Broncos/Ravens game was an epic worthy of Tolstoy, although this late-style gripping polemical narrative essay of course didn't meet the seven-star standards set by Leo's masterpieces. Like Zwieg's Chess S...more
Noce
Leo ed Henri culo e camicia
Nonostante questo libro continui a non piacermi un granché, ci sono validi motivi per leggerlo, oltre naturalmente al fatto che la vostra amica Noce Moscata l’abbia letto e quindi anche voi vorrete fare altrettanto. (vero?)

A) Stilisticamente parlando, Tolstoj avrebbe scritto bene anche col delirium tremens o con una pistola puntata alla testa.

B) Inizia con una normale e casuale conversazione in treno. Normale un par de palle. L’ultima volta che ho preso il treno (era...more
Elisa
Sono un rudere, io, un menomato. Una cosa sola c'è in me, so "io": e ho fede di sapere quello che non tutti riusciranno a conoscere tanto presto.

Qualche tempo fa, nel tentativo di consolare un'amica che, avendo lasciato il proprio ragazzo e avendolo rivisto con un'altra, si sentiva quantomai sola e ripeteva "Alla fine rimango sola sempre e solo io", ho compiuto uno degli errori più grossi della mia carriera di consolatrice. Le ho risposto, con la convinzione di darle sicuramente molto sollievo,...more
Deepthi
Though I do not agree with all the arguments which Tolstoy's protagonist raises, I think this novella is very well written and has many controversial opinions on sex, marriage, love etc. I give this one 4.5/5 stars because it asks many important questions though it might not answer everything perfectly as some of the readers would prefer it to. Tolstoy might have been in great anguish and frustration when he wrote this one as it is filled with anger and cynicism. Read at your own risk. It might...more
Cheryl
Beethoven wrote the Kreutzer Sonata during a time of personal crisis while recognizing his encroaching deafness. His music referenced struggle and heroics during this period.

Tolstoy wrote the novella by the same name during a time of religious crisis. Unable to reconcile his behavior with the ideals of religious dogma, his view of life became dark and uncompromising. Love, marriage, sensuality, children were compared with the words of scripture, and none measured up to the rules applied, the pro...more
Carmo Santos
"Pergunte a uma mulher qual é preferível, passar por mentirosa ou parecer mal arranjada...Ela preferirá a primeira alternativa." pág21

"Desde que um homem se aproxima de uma mulher, deixa-se influenciar pelos seus sortilégios e torna-se louco." pág.26

"A paixão sexual, qualquer que seja o cenário que a envolva, é um mal horrível que é preciso combater e não encorajar..."

"No fundo de mim borbulhava continuamente um ódio hediondo. Odiava-a por tudo, porque levava a colher à boca, porque sorvia o chá...more
Don
May 14, 2014 Don rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: russian
Second time through with this one. My least favorite Tolstoy. I suppose, for his time and culture, it may have carried a moral message but it does not seem to have aged very well. Today, the wikipedia entry on genital herpes probably carries a more persuasive argument for carnal restraint. Its really hard to endorse a lot of yammering from a character who has just gotten away with stabbing his wife. Count Leo you really need not have troubled yourself about other peoples' sex lives. They can man...more
Melanie
Unbelievably didactic...
This novella was so caught up in its own ideology and notions about marriage and the relations between men and women that it forgot to deal with inhabited, changing, flesh and blood characters.
The writing felt forced and crude and surprisingly artless.
A fail for me. Sadly.
Pavel
Ludwig van Beethoven dedicated his 9th sonata to Rodolphe Kreutzer, French violinist. Later Kreutzer refused to play the sonata and treated it as "incomprehensible". Tolstoy wrote his jealousy homicide story 90 years later and this is the most misogynistic text I ever read. The novel is set against women and against sexual relationships overall. 90 pages of an explosive rant against coitus, told from a point of view of a wife-killer who couldn't stand his wife, who maybe cheated on him. What she...more
Lisa
I don't know how to rate this bizarre novella! Tolstoy's ideas are both prescient and bizarre, but it is so well-written that it held my interest throughout.
The plot is well-known, and it's constructed so that the reader knows right from the start that Posdichneff has killed his wife in a jealous fit of rage. That's not the point of the story anyway - it's really a very thinly veiled diatribe against 19th century Russian marriage, starring Woman as The Seducer Who Becomes Enslaved and The Haple...more
Gloria Mundi
This book encapsulates everything I hate about the sanctimonious pontificating hypocritical nob (technical legal term) that is Leo Tolstoy. The premise is so absurd it is laughable. What we have here is a religious manifesto promoting abstinence and castigating physical love by a man who spent a significant proportion of his life deflowering virgins and impregnating his wife.

It is a short story, so it would be petty to bemoan time spent on it, however, I do sincerely regret having ever picked i...more
Maria João Fernandes
"A música não eleva a alma. A música também não diminui a alma. A música exaspera-a. (...) A música obriga a esquecer-nos da nossa verdadeira personalidade, transporta-nos a um estado que não é o nosso. Sob a influência da música temos a impressão de que sentimos o que não sentimos; que compreendemos o que na realidade não compreendemos;que podemos o que não podemos. É como o bocejo ou o riso. Não temos sono mas bocejamos quando vimos alguém bocejar. Não temos vontade de rir, mas rimo-nos, ouvin...more
Marius
Mare figură Tolstoi ăsta!...

Povestioara e plină de idei exotice. Dar nu aş merge aşa departe ca puritanul de Theodore Roosevelt să spun că Tolstoi e un pervers sexual.

O recomand ca lectură obligatorie pentru cei care vor să se căsătorească. Nu în felul unei povestioare moralizatoare din care să se extragă înţelepciune de viaţă, ci ca o pauză, un respiro înainte de saltul în viaţa de cuplu.
Lau

Antes de comenzar a hablar de la novela en sí quiero hacer una aclaración sobre algo que me gustaría haberme enterado antes: hacia la época en que Tolstói escribió este libro, estaba atravesando un profundo cambio en su forma de pensar y una crisis espiritual que lo llevó a cuestionar y juzgar muy severamente a la sociedad y a todo aquello que, basado en la palabra de Cristo, consideraba pecado.
Se dice que lo que lo llevó a escribir La sonata a Kreutzer fue un arranque de celos y desconfianza q...more
Sunny in Wonderland
Sep 26, 2012 Sunny in Wonderland rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of Gone Girl
Recommended to Sunny in Wonderland by: Boxall's 1001 Books to Read Before You Die
Jealousy is a madman's sickness.

I recently read Gone Girl and this was a perfect follow-up. I experienced the same sense of schadenfreude, even going so far as breaking out into fits of giggling at all of the inappropriate times.

This book is a wonderful trip down Crazy Street. Podznischeff tells the tale of his marriage, their immediate decline into an extremely dysfunctional relationship, and his ultimate descent into jealous rage about his wife's assumed affair with her music partner.

Once you...more
Elizabeth (Alaska)
Oh my!

This ended on a 5-star note, but the beginning was more essayish. It starts with a fellow offering a solution to a problem not yet stated. He suggests that, since man cannot be monogamous, he should be celibate. Really? And you think men will just rush out and adopt your solution?

Another statement is made that women are brought up from little girlhood to do nothing other than to attract a husband. In spite of all of our advances, this largely (though not the "nothing other" part) remains...more
Betti
Ami megdöbbentő, hogy Tolsztoj gondolatai manapság is helytállóak és aktuálisak, nagyon sok férfi mai napig hasonlóképp tekint a nőkre, azaz mint egy gyerekszülésre alkalmas, csendes háztartási gép, egy birtokolható tárgy, a kéjvágy eszköze.
Tulajdonképpen ez egy kerettörténetbe helyezett remekül megírt filozófiai fejtegetés, ami felháborított, felbosszantott és elkeserített. Ezek után kíváncsian várom, hogy mit reagált Tolsztoj felesége:
Sophia Tolstoy's Rebuttal of Her Husband Leo's Accusation...more
Carol Apple
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Célia Loureiro
Um livrinho tão pequeno e com tanta intensidade! Foi a minha estreia com Tolstoi e maravilhou-me. É daqueles livros em que, de termos experienciado apenas a amargura de um lado da moeda, nunca saberemos o que sucedeu de resto. Este é um livro sobre um ciumento doentio, inseguro, cronicamente insatisfeito? Ou sobre um homem honesto que, na tentativa de se tornar num modelo de moralidade, casa como de si é esperado e é vítima duma vil traição? Haverá, de facto, traição?
O livro começa com uma viage...more
julieta
Me dejó un poco en shock este libro, por varias razones. Primero porque me pareció muy violento, no solo por lo obvio de que el marido mata a la mujer, sino por toda la violencia que cuenta entre una pareja, y como va deformándose más hasta llegar al asesinato. El queda mal de por vida, y ella, pues muere sin que realmente sepamos qué pasa por su cabeza, cosa que es muy frustrante.
Pero también me pareció que muestra una manera de pensar de Tolstoy. Yo sabía que era muy Cristiano, pero antes que...more
Brixton
Tolstoy, once again, speaking truth to power: men and women both are degraded, trapped and victimised by the social and cultural restraints put on women which prevent them from becoming, behaving, and being seen as human beings, and everything we "prove" with art and science to elevate ourselves as the most superior of animals is really just denial of the likelihood that we are the most slovenly and vicious animals of them all. If Tolstoy sounds pissed, I think it is only because he does wish fo...more
Maria Ella
Review posted in my blog Markings Of A Dreamer

Dearest Leo,

Come and have a shot of Chivas (sorry, I don't have any Russian rum right here) with me, and let's do the Love talk. Let me gather my thoughts before I use them in this review. What I can say in the meantime is this:

Leo, you really are frustrated.

Yes, I do understand your sentiment, which is why in this novella of yours, the first time it was released; it was censored by the Russian Authorities. You dare to open their eyes wide open throu...more
Simona
"La sonata a Kreutzer e altri racconti" comprende romanzi brevi o lunghi come "La morte di Ivan' Il'ic" e "Padre Sérgij" che sono definiti le opere della maturità di Tolstoj.
"La sonata a Kreutzer" è un romanzo sull'amore carnale in netta contrapposizione con l'amore platonico, sulle gelosia che acceca e uccide, come quella che vive il protagonista. E' un romanzo di denuncia in cui Pozdnyscev si scaglia contro il matrimonio definendolo una prigione e non una salvezza dalla depravazione; contro la...more
Maegen Schmidt
Now before you get freak out, I don't hate Tolstoy's writing style. I read a short story by him several years ago and remember enjoying it and I definitely plan on reading his notable novels like "War and Peace" and "Anna Karenina".

Sadly, what could have been an interesting, dark story about the inner workings of a psychopathic abuser's sick mind, we are given a lecture for most of the story that pretty much circulates around the same topics for the bulk of the story which are annoying from the...more
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Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy (Russian: Лев Николаевич Толстой; commonly Leo Tolstoy in Anglophone countries) was a Russian writer who primarily wrote novels and short stories. Later in life, he also wrote plays and essays. His two most famous works, the novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina, are acknowledged as two of the greatest novels of all time and a pinnacle of realist fiction. Many consider To...more
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Anna Karenina War and Peace The Death of Ivan Ilych Resurrection Childhood; Boyhood; Youth

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