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The Kreutzer Sonata and Other Stories

3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  294 Ratings  ·  45 Reviews
While "The Kreutzer Sonata" caused a public sensation, Tolstoy's wife, Sonya, was hurt and furious that he should have enriched his scathing indictment of marriage with private details from theri own life together. Tolstoy, during two years of obsessive unhappiness, had become convinced that the idea of a "Christian marriage" was an impossibility. Here he lets loose all hi ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published January 7th 1986 by Penguin Classics
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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: la prima metà un monologo e la seconda gli effetti del monologo nella realtà. Le prime pagine sono invece simili alle altre opere di Tolstoj: tanti personaggi dialogano su un treno.

Tutto il libro racconta poi un'unica scena: il protagonista viene avvicinato da uno sconosciuto che gli racconta tutte le sue teorie e tutta
Stephen Durrant
Jan 17, 2015 Stephen Durrant rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tolstoy wrote both the novella "The Kreutzer Sonata" and the short story "The Devil" in 1889 during the period when his marriage was floundering. 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, ...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
Further Reading

--Family Happiness
--The Kreutzer Sonata
--The Devil
--Father Sergius

Appendix 1: Postface to 'The Kreutzer Sonata'
Appendix 2: Alternative Conclusion to 'The Devil'
May 26, 2015 Briynne rated it liked it
Tolstoy sure is an odd duck, isn’t he? I enjoyed this collection of short stories, and was utterly intrigued the title piece, The Kreutzer Sonata. It was, in essence, a rant on the moral degeneracy of nineteenth century Russia told through the lips of a fictional madman who had murdered his wife in a fit of jealous rage. The murderer (who was acquitted through the excuse if it being an understandable crime of passion) recounts his rather unique philosophy to the narrator, who is simply a passer- ...more
May 06, 2015 T.J. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Tolstoy’s most famous line, the opening of Anna Karenina, states “All happy families are alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Yet time and again throughout The Kreutzer Sonata, another story about unhappy families and adultery, the speaker tells us that unhappy families are a universal, that “marriage is not a joy, but a painful trial” and “ninety-nine families out of every hundred live in the same hell, and that it cannot be otherwise.”

This is not a happy story nor is Posdnic
This collection--a public domain book offered by Amazon in Kindle format--contains the "Kreutzer Sonata," "Ivan the Fool," "A Lost Opportunity," "Polikushka," "The Candle," and an essay by Tolstoy on the "Kreutzer Sonata." What the stories have in common is that they are all morality tales or religious parables; the longest, most complex, most famous, and probably most interesting to the modern reader is the "Kreutzer Sonata." Here, Tolstoy propounds his belief that sex in any context is a sin-- ...more
Mar 16, 2011 KC rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
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
Ken Brimhall
Nov 27, 2012 Ken Brimhall rated it liked it
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
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,
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
Roman Skaskiw
Jul 04, 2008 Roman Skaskiw rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 15, 2009 Ben rated it liked it
"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
May 13, 2014 Antonella rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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
Jul 14, 2008 Alistair rated it liked it
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 .
Jul 21, 2014 Sean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
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
Tim O'Neill
Mar 27, 2016 Tim O'Neill rated it really liked it
in The Kreutzer Sonata Tolstoy rants against marriage and doctors. Also included are 'The Devil', 'The Forged Coupon', and 'After the Ball'
In my opinion, only two of these stories, Family Happiness and Father Sergius, are actually good. I didn't like The Kreutzer Sonata - it is really more of a diatribe than a novella, and I find Tolstoy's argument for abstinence kind of amusing since he had by that time fathered no less than 14 children (13 with his wife, and one with a serf.) The Devil is slightly better again – at least it is more of an actual story, though the ending is a bit too melodramatic. The male protagonists (and the fem ...more
Mark Dickman
Mar 25, 2016 Mark Dickman rated it really liked it
"The Kreutzer Sonata" is, after Shakespeare's, Othello, one of the great fictional studies of jealousy. "The Death of Ivan Illyich" is one of the most realistic treatments of dying.
May 21, 2016 Thom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Family Happiness 3/5
The Kreutzer Sonata 4/5
The Devil 4/5
Father Sergius 4.5/5
Becca Niles
My copy included "The Forged Coupon," "Memoirs of a Madman," "After the Ball," "The Devil," and of course, "The Kreutzer Sonata." I thoroughly enjoyed the first four stories mentioned. "Kreutzer," however, was probably the most thundering, oppressive work I've ever read. I would rate the other three stories as 5s based on their brevity and masterful arrangement; but I just...I can't justify that as an overall rating considering how horrendous my reading experience of "Kreutzer" was.
Good Lord. I
Dec 17, 2007 Rumman rated it it was amazing
i love tolstoy. this isn't exactly the book i have, but it probably contains the same short stories.

every girl needs to read "family happiness"

anyone who's ever jealous in relationships needs to read "the kreutzer sonata"

and everyone out there needs to live by "the death of ivan ilytch"
Apr 04, 2015 Neil rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

"tis better to have loved and lost , than never to have loved at all," Sad beautiful tragic.

Jun 27, 2007 Tatesha rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Tolstoy Lovers
One of my favorite short stories of all time is in this book. It's called, "The Devil" and it is in my opinion the best of all the stories in this collection.
Oct 04, 2015 Vanjr rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: russia
Most do not like this book, but I enjoyed the stories and some of the lessons they teach. It is certainly a welcome change from War and Peace.
Of this collection, I just read the novella "The Kreutzer Sonata," in which Tolstoy outlines his philosophies about love and sex. Crazy stuff!
Apr 03, 2014 Shannon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The Kreutzer Sonata" is an interesting story about a man who kills his wife because he is driven mad by the idea of her having an affair.
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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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