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The Kreutzer Sonata and Other Stories

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3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  1,170 ratings  ·  85 reviews
The violent spiritual crisis in Tolstoy’s life that inspired his last period of creativity produced the stories in this compelling and startling collection. This volume includes "Family Happiness"; "The Kreutzer Sonata"; "The Devil" and "Father Sergius". The four stories are all about love, but they take very different attitudes towards it. They portray the multifaceted na ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published May 27th 2008 by Penguin Classics (first published 1889)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,023)
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Rosenkavalier
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
Sierra Abrams
This was my first little bit of Tolstoy that I’ve read. I’m a HUGE fan of Dostoevsky and I knew I would love all kinds of Russian literature, so I was quite excited to get into this. Each of the three stories was better than the last:

◦How Much Land Does A Man Need
◦The Death of Ivan Illych
◦The Kreutzer Sonata (favorite!!)
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
...more
Holly
Such hatred in these disturbing stories. Although I first read this collection years ago at the request of a "friend," I can't put the book on my "re-read" shelf. I retained no memories of the stories themselves nor of the reason that person cherished them (at the time I didn't want to reflect on/contain either thing).

I had to hunt down the "Epilogue to The Kreutzer Sonata" online to confirm my assumption that the novella reflected Tolstoy's own later views on sexuality and love (yes, it does. A
...more
April
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. Tolstoy the moralist...at his best/worst.
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.
Ahmad Sharabiani
این کتاب ترجمه ی بخشی از کتاب 14 جلدی مجموعه آثار لئو تولستوی است، شش داستان کوتاه: «سعادت زناشوئی»، «مرگ ایوان ایلیچ»، «سونات کرویتسر»، «ارباب و بنده»، «پدر سرگی»، «داستان یک کوپن جعلی» است
Sheila
This book contains the following stories by Leo Tolstoy, all which I have reviewed individually.

The Kreutzer Sonata: 3-stars

Ivan the Fool: 2-stars

A Lost Opportunity: 2-stars

Polikuchka: 2-stars

The Candle: 3-stars

All of these five stories basically are of the theme of peasants and serfs. 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
...more
Erin

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
...more
Fatima Bastaki
*How Much Land Does A Man Need?
Since these stories contain a lot of religious themes, I think what Tolstoy tries to portray in this story is that greed or desires can easily consume you because the symbolism of the protagonist’s illusion of the ‘Devil’ could mean that the Devil is the one who bargains with your desires but screws you over in the end anyway. Not very unique I would say. For me, it’s one of those things where you’d criticize the character’s decisions because it could have been avo
...more
Mohsen Rajabi
سونات کرویتسر و چند داستان دیگر از آثار متاخر تولستوی (یا تالستوی) هست. از حجیم نویسی هایی که در آثاری همچون جنگ و صلح یا آناکارنین وجود دارد خبری نیست. راستش، ظاهرا تولستوی در اواخر عمرش آن ها را (به خصوص جنگ و صلح) را زیاده گویی می دانسته و از این در رنج بوده که چرا نمی تواند کوتاه ترشان کند. و هرچند نتوانست چیزی از آنها کم کند، ولی همه سعی اش را گذاشت تا داستان هایی که بعد از تحول درونی اش می نویسد، داستان هایی باشند هرچه کوتاه تر، و با نتیجه گیری های واضح تر... و شاید این، کار را خراب کرده ب ...more
Nicole
These stories each had clear strengths, and the more Tolstoy I read the more impressed I am by how he manages to give just enough weight to the important details that they strike the reader as ones to remember without completely overwhelming the other details that are just there to more fully set the scene. It's a delicate balance and he achieves it admirably well.

That said, though, these stories failed to strike a strong chord with me. The first is essentially a fable, and a rather transparent
...more
Mircalla64 (free Liu Xiaobo)
nel libro di John Reed "I dieci giorni che sconvolsero il mondo" che racconta come un reportage la rivoluzione d'ottobre, c'è un passaggio minuscolo in cui i rivoluzionari entrano in una stanza del Palazzo d'Inverno e trovano un buffo ometto seduto in poltrona, al che chiedono ai compagni chi sia costui e lui si alza in piedi declamando "Tolstoj, conte"
ora che un tipo simile possa nel pieno della Rivoluzione non aver tema di declamare il proprio titolo anzi, che lo tiri in piena faccia ai nuovi
...more
MK
This free Kindle ebook (translator Benjamin R. Tucker) includes:
1. - The Translator's Preface, to 3%
2. - The Kreutzer Sonata, 3% to 53%
3. - Lesson of "The Kreutzer Sonata.", by Leo Tolstoi, 53% to 56%
4. - Ivan the Fool, 56% to 73%
5. - A Lost Opportunity, 73% to 84%
6. - Polikushka, or The Lot of a Wicked Court Servant, 84% to 94%
7. - The Candle, 94% to 100%

Individual Reviews at links:
1. The Translator's Preface - no individual link. Interesting, though.
2. The Kreutzer Sonata - https://www.goodre
...more
pianetino89
"La sonata a Kreutzer" *****
Bellissimo questo breve racconto. La descrizione dei sentimenti, della gelosia, della freddezza con cui tutta la vicenda si svolge, è eccezionale.
Ho trovato molto interessante anche la postfazione dello stesso Tolstoj. Credo abbia un fondo di verità.

"Il diavolo" ****
Un altro bel racconto sulle relazioni tra uomo e donna anche se meno particolare del primo.
Qui vengono analizzati il senso di colpa e l'inganno come causa delle tragedie familiari.
Onestamente non ho comp
...more
Sean
The first story, "Family Happiness," is fine, but it doesn't achieve the depth and complexity of the other stories here. In particular, the title story is unusually constructed, and seems to be told in a way that it's impossible to really know exactly what happens. All of these stories deal in some way with the tension between marital fidelity and other standards of ideal behavior and the temptations of infidelity, but not in a heavy-handed and simplistic way. I must admit that I don't admire To ...more
KC
This book contains three stories: "How Much Land Does a Man Need?," "The Death of Ivan Illych," and "The Kreutzer Sonata."

"How Much Land Does a Man Need" was a quick 14 page read but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I normally try reading long novels rather short stories because I love becoming involved with the characters and seeing them grow and mature. However, I liked this story for the point that it made, which I'll leave at: "Six feet from his head to his heels was all he needed" (The Kreutzer Son
...more
Ken Brimhall
Tolstoy as Propaganda

In the Kreutzer Sonata, Posdnicheff tells how he killed his wife—a terrible and compelling narrative. As Posdnicheff narrates, he philosophizes that love in most marriages is, in reality, sexual attraction. Since sexual attraction leads to jealously, it is better not to marry and live like monks. Manual labor can harness the sexual energy. There will be plenty who break this law; therefore, the human race is in no danger of disappearing. Posdnicheff has a point when he descr
...more
Bucket
In each of these four stories, written over the course of fifty years, Tolstoy's themes are what love really is and the discovery of that meaning over the course of life.

In the Cossacks, written first, Dmitri learns that love is even more than self-sacrifice for the sake of others, it's about loving "the whole of God's world."

In The Kreutzer Sonata and Family Happiness, two stories written around the same time, the "truth" about love (that it changes with time, cannot be based on lust and sex,
...more
David
This collection of some of Tolstoy's short stories were all written after he entered his "radical Christian communist" phase toward the end of his life.

To understand The Kreutzer Sonata, it helps to know that Tolstoy's marriage was miserable at this point, which perhaps explains why the Sonata is basically an extended rant on the evils of sex. According to Tolstoy, it's the duty of all Christians to avoid marriage, and if they do get married, to avoid sex. He expresses this through the words of
...more
Bobby
First off, I had to read this book for my English class. I figured it would be a good read since it was written by Leo Tolstoy, but I was disappointed. This book includes 3 short stories. The book starts off good with"How Much Land Does A Man Need?" but slowly gets worse once you get to"The Death of Ivan Ilych" but picks up again after halfway through "The Kreutzer Sonata". I struggled to get through this book because these short stories would get off topic and dragged on at times. Tolstoy write ...more
Abby
Aug 25, 2007 Abby rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those into Russian authors
This has 3 short stories in it. The first was very thought-provoking, about how much land does it take to make a man happy? Substitute land for $, power, love and you pretty much have it analyzed. The second story I didn't get. About dying and having everyone around you know it, and yet not talk about it. They're all just waiting for the man to die so they can take what he has, his job, his money, etc. But it does say something about the legacy we leave, and how we should frame our lives a littl ...more
Ezra
I recently finshed this book and I loved it. They are like three parables, lessons that teach me about life. They were great and I love a story with deeper meaning. My sister gave me this book to read because she said it was good and I needed a book to read at the time. The one that spoke to me the most was the one about land. Does a man really need more land is something like the title. The part I loved the most was how the story ended with that one line that made me smirk, laugh, think, tell o ...more
Roman Skaskiw
Here on goodreads, comments on this book seem scattered across all of Tolstoy's work. My copy (whose cover matches the nifty little icon depicted above) has four novellas:

Family Happiness - didn't read. (sounded like it was for girls)

The Kreutzer Sonata - wasn't crazy about it, but it's nice to know there's room in literature for a twenty-page diatribe on the issue of the day. I may employ that some time. In this case, one character's rant on love and marriage went on for a very long time with l
...more
Pardis Parto
اوايل بهار بود. دو روز بود كه در قطار بوديم. مسافراني كه راه‌شان كوتاه بود سوار يا پياده مي‌شند اما سه نفر، از جمله من، از آغاز حركت در قطار مانده بوديم. يكي بانوي سالمند زشت‌رويي بود كه سيگار مي‌كشيد و چهره‌اي شكسته و رنج‌نشان داشت و كلاه و پالتويش به لباس مردها مي‌مانست و ديگري مردي بود آشناي او، كه چهل سالي داشت و سر و زبان‌دار بود و لباس رمتبي داشت، همه چيزش نو، و سومي مرد متشخصي بود، نه چندان بلند بالا، با حركاتي خشت و ضربت‌وار. نمي‌شد گفت پير است ولي موهاي مجعدش پيدا بود نابه‌هنگام جوگندمي ...more
Ben
"The Kreutzer Sonata" and "The Devil": Pro-abstinence stories where men driven crazy by their natural urges kill their wives or themselves. I can't say that TKS is a good story, but it is surely a mad story. Tolstoy nearly sustains an insane, frenzied rant for pages and pages, but it all becomes tiresome in the end.

"The Forged Coupon" is another Christian story -- a butterfly effect where a counterfeit bill sets off a whole series of misdeeds, and an act of kindness similarly redeems a whole bun
...more
Brent McCulley
A great collection of three Tolstoy short stories, I thoroughly enjoyed myself reading through these parables. Tolstoy speaks of passion, greed, lust, and desire, as he weaves together intricate themes relating to the depravity of mankind, and how wont we are towards selfishness and evil. "The Kreutzer Sonata" was last of the three, and is the one I enjoyed the most. A startling tale of horrendous paranoia, evil, and madness, Tolstoy shows us how we all can end up if we are not rightly related t ...more
Alistair
these 4 stories are concerned with the temptations of the flesh largely from the man's point of view
i felt particularly in the main story " The Kreutzer Sonata " as if i was being lectured to by a born again , vegetarian , open toes sandled , guilt ridden , earnest , self flagellating , deranged man , and reading a little bit about Tolstoy , i discovered that i was . the remedies for the temptation such as suicide and murder seem extreme but so does the nature of the problem in these stories .
...more
Jennifer
Tolstoy is a brilliant writer. I love his ability to capture human nature. The Kreutzer Sonata, especially, was intriguing. Pozdnischeff recounts the path he and his wife traveled to get to the point where he murdered her.
Rob
This was my first glance into Tolstoy's fiction, and as I expected, I was blown away by his writing. The Death of Ivan Ilyich really captures human depravity and societal indifference to others. Ivan's personal and professional lives hardly serve any other function than to build and reinforce his appearance, and are therefore essentially meaningless; he lacks emotion and sincerity and compassion and love and oh so many things that are essential to life. Finally, all is rectified through a sort o ...more
Rachel
I expected far better from the author of Anna Karenina than the bitter, both self-deprecating and self-righteous diatribe that was "The Kreutzer Sonata". Though I appreciate the work as a personal struggle to articulate philosophies that Tolstoy was attempting to work out within his own head, the judgmental, life-denying tenor of those philosophies left me with a bitter, unpleasant taste in my mouth.

However, a later story in the book, "The Forged Coupon", was far more thoughtful and thought prov
...more
Carolyn
The Kreutzer Sonata contains a tiny, fascinating proto-"The Beauty Myth", proto-Zizekian-analogization-of-females-to-Jews discussion of the objectification of, and materialist/capitalist culture surrounding, the Female. An amazing representation of the conditions that led to the blossom of first wave feminism. Tolstoy writes moderately well from the female first person perspective in 'Family Happiness'. Though the rest of the stories are not particularly impressive, The Kreutzer Sonata is a soci ...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 The Kreutzer Sonata Resurrection

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“A zene arra ösztönöz, hogy elfeledkezzem magamról, a valódi állapotomról, valami más állapotba visz át, nem a magaméba. A zene hatása alatt, úgy rémlik, azt érzem, amit voltaképpen nem érzek, megértem, amit nem értek, meg bírom tenni, amit nem bírok.
(Kreutzer-szonáta)”
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