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The Kreutzer Sonata

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3.90  ·  Rating Details  ·  11,479 Ratings  ·  597 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 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 ...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 27 books — 437 voters
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Best Russian Literature
32nd out of 392 books — 1,659 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Paquita Maria Sanchez
Feb 12, 2012 Paquita Maria Sanchez rated it really liked it
Shelves: literature
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
Fernando
Apr 07, 2016 Fernando rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Es evidente que Tolstoi atravesaba una crisis que abarcaba lo matrimonial, lo ético y lo religioso cuando escribió este libro, dado que todas las ideas que él tiene claramente ordenadas en la cabeza (repito: en ese momento de su vida) las plasma en la mente del verdadero narrador principal de la historia que es Pozdnishev y no el supuesto personaje que sube al tren y se mezcla en una acalorada discusión los pasajeros que se encuentran en ese vagón.
Se nota también que la historia es demasiado fu
...more
Stephen P
Oct 24, 2015 Stephen P rated it really liked it
Shelves: novella
The novella is a rant, defuse, spending its building rage in scattered directions, assaulting the numerous morbid absurdities in society, life. The aim alters under its own force returning to victims already slain or contradicting what has been said. A delirious but tepid Underground Man. But why? This is Tolstoy. It being Tolstoy is part of the problem. I found no way to read this story without being confined by the Master’s presence, his iconic reflection. The tension that this must be a strat ...more
Shovelmonkey1
Jan 12, 2012 Shovelmonkey1 rated it it was amazing
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
Diane S ☔
Sep 18, 2015 Diane S ☔ rated it liked it
During a train ride a conversation ensues between passengers concerning love and a woman's right to marry for love. Overhearing another man, joins in, full of bitterness and anguish, he recounts the events that led to his irreversible act.

There is so much anger in this novel about the expectations between the sexes. Quite a dark story, but somehow fascinating as well. Common themes in Tolstoy's novels, marriages that end badly, differences between the sexes and what it can lead to. Not my favor
...more
Celeste Corrêa
Um livro intenso sobre o ciúme que tortura e só encontra alívio na explosão da raiva que transforma o protagonista num animal maldoso e astuto; um homem que mata a mulher (que não temos a certeza de o ter atraiçoado), não só devido aos seus ciúmes doentios, mas também com um sentimento de alegria pelo desaparecimento da tortura de desconfiança em que vivia.

Tolstói escreveu no seu “Diário”, em Julho de 1888, referindo-se à “Sonata de Kreutzer”: “Sónia copiou-a e sentiu-se magoada”. “Obra negativa
...more
Duane
Well that was disturbing. Not what I was expecting from Tolstoy. It was the ramblings of a psychopath, which Tolstoy portrayed with way to much energy. And I understand he used an actual event with his wife and a musician as the basis for this story. Scary. I don't know enough about Tolstoy to know his views on romance, marriage, sex, etc. to make judgement's, but the views expressed and acted out by the protagonist were, as I said at the beginning, very disturbing.
Tatiana
Aug 05, 2011 Tatiana rated it liked it
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
Andrei Tamaş
Mar 19, 2016 Andrei Tamaş rated it it was amazing
"Sonata Kreutzer" îmi pare a fi scrierea-cheie din literatura universală care relatează cu lux de amănunte -într-un singur plan narativ, orientat pe o singură idee- metamorfozele geloziei masculine. În nuvelă, interesant mi s-a părut aspectul -des întâlnit de mine în toate genurile literare din literatură universală- conform căruia bărbatul, printr-un fals raţionament, caută mai întâi să impună o concluzie, iar apoi caută nebuneşte anumite premise care să o întărească, el fiind -în mod practic- ...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
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
Sandy
Disbelief. That is what I felt as I read this book. These are the ramblings of a twisted mind and a tortured soul. It is dripping with confusion and contradictions, oozing frustration and self-loathing, seething with anger and jealousy. It is no wonder that the relationship portrayed in this story ended in murder. How tragic. How horrifying. How realistic?
Deepthi
Jan 15, 2015 Deepthi rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
Sandra
Nov 06, 2015 Sandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: russia
Inquietudine ed incanto sono le opposte sensazioni che lascia la lettura di questo romanzo breve di Tolstoj. Un’opera che va contestualizzata per capirne la portata quasi rivoluzionaria per l’epoca. Tolstoj la scrisse in un tardo periodo della sua produzione letteraria, dopo una intensa crisi spirituale che sfociò nella sua adesione esaltata ad un cristianesimo evangelico. Lui la definì la sua rigenerazione morale. Per la scabrosità degli argomenti , sorprendenti per l’epoca, lo scrittore ebbe m ...more
Noce
Jul 31, 2012 Noce rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Miguel
Dec 11, 2015 Miguel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enquanto soa a própria sonata de Beethoven, eu escrevo, tentando conformar as minhas palavras com o reconhecimento da alteridade deste livro. Se, por um lado, me senti crescentemente agoniado com o seu conteúdo, por outro, não conseguia obstar o maravilhamento em consequência deste cozinhado de ideias inusitadas e práticas abjectas... E saber que o adultério era legalizado em função da honradez e das directivas religiosas do mesmo homem irredutível que rebaixava a mulher perante o serviço carnal ...more
Evandro
Como é límpida a sinceridade do criminoso! E a maneira como Tolstói o faz descrever os atos que cometeu é tão convincente, tão perfeita, que nos convencemos de que poderíamos ter feito o mesmo, bastando para isso que fôssemos levados pelas circunstâncias, pelas convicções e pela obsessão. Mas o que realmente confere realismo à história são as incontáveis verdades que o marido expõe sobre a hipocrisia do homem moderno em suas relações sociais, verdades entremeadas de alucinações e exageros de uma ...more
Tiago Diogo
Mar 17, 2015 Tiago Diogo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
-maravilha-
Carmo
"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
Lee
Jan 13, 2013 Lee rated it really liked it
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
Rubi
¿Le queda algo por criticar a Tolstoi en esta novela? He leído que todas sus novelas tienen algo de autobiográfico, pero espero que no tenga todos estos pensamientos porque si no, de ahora en adelante, le odiaré.
No me extraña que "Sonata a Kreutzer" fuese censurada en su época. Primero porque habla de sexo y deseo sexual sin tapujos (y en esos años no se atrevían a hacerlo) y segundo porque puede meter ideas descabelladas en las mentes débiles: ¡ASESINATOOOO!

He odiado que ponga a las mujeres de
...more
Rosenkavalier
Jan 08, 2013 Rosenkavalier rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook
Scene ferroviarie da un matrimonio russo (e proprietari terrieri ossessionati, e monaci ascetici)

Avvertenza: un po' come il racconto, anche il commento a un certo punto degenera

Durante un viaggio in treno (non l'Orient Express, più sul genere accelerato Kazan-Dnepropetrovsk), due persone iniziano a conversare. La conversazione diventa un monologo. Il passeggero racconta la sua storia di uxoricida per causa d'onore, assolto con formula piena ma piuttosto segnato dall'esperienza (la moglie, a occh
...more
Proustitute
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 cla
...more
Pavel
Mar 13, 2014 Pavel rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics, russian
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
Elisa
Feb 05, 2013 Elisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Teresa
Não gostei muito da Sonata...
Depois de terminar a leitura, pesquisei algumas opiniões para tentar perceber porque não gostei como esperava e quase todos os críticos são unânimes em dizer que se trata de "uma obra-prima de estética; pois, seja lá o que isso for, não me impressionou.

Quer na vida real, quer na ficção, irritam-me pessoas permanentemente infelizes e zangadas com a vida, e aquele homenzinho é do pior que existe. Dizia ele:
que o sexo é uma depravação (embora ele fosse um assíduo frequ
...more
Kartik
Apr 18, 2016 Kartik rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Kreutzer Sonata is sordid tale of lust, licentiousness, animalistic passions (jealously featuring prominently among them), and a twisted sense of what constitutes morality, with mangled shreds of Christian guilt thrown in for good measure.

The story is narrated to the main narrator by a passenger, the repulsive Pozdnyshev, a member of the Russian elite, who can scarcely keep his venom against the female gender in check as he tells the story of how he murdered his wife in a fit of rage.

Pozdnys
...more
Norah Una Sumner
"You say that the women of our society live for a different interest from that which actuates fallen women. And I say no, and I am going to prove it to you. If beings differ from one another according to the purpose of their life, according to their INNER LIFE this will necessarily be reflected also in their OUTER LIFE, and their exterior will be very different. Well, then, compare the wretched, the despised, with the women of the highest society: the same dresses, the same fashions, the same p
...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
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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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“It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness.” 4278 likes
“Music makes me forget my real situation. It transports me into a state which is not my own. Under the influence of music I really seem to feel what I do not feel, to understand what I do not understand, to have powers which I cannot have. Music seems to me to act like yawning or laughter; I have no desire to sleep, but I yawn when I see others yawn; with no reason to laugh, I laugh when I hear others laugh. And music transports me immediately into the condition of soul in which he who wrote the music found himself at that time.” 101 likes
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