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The Kreutzer Sonata And Other Stories
by Leo Tolstoy, Trans. By Benjamin R. Tucker
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?Moments of dramatic genius: a wracking vision of marriage as jealousy nourished, hatred voluptuously fed, rage taken for breakfast.??Elizabeth Hardwick
`To love him was not enough for me after the happiness I had felt in falling in love. I wanted movement and not a calm course of existence. I wanted excitement and danger and the chance to sacrifice myself for my love.' Leo Tolstoy, known to the world for his famous novels, also created throughout his sixty-year career as a writer a significant body of works of shorter ficiton. These fictions, like his novels, tend toward a uniqueness in form, even as they explore a set of themes common in the longer works. The four novellas selected here stand closest to the novels, and represent Tolstoy at his creative best, exploring in a specific and focused way his characteristic themes: life understood as a journey of the discovery of identity and vocation, the meaning of one's life in the face of death, and the redemptive role of suffering and compassion. Family Happiness (1859) traces the psychology of failed married love yet is written against the tradition of the novel of romance, marriage and adultery. The Kreutzer Sonata (1889) recounts a husband's addictions, jealousy, sinister guilt and subsequent isolation, while The Cossacks (1863) focuses on the experiences of a young Russian on in the Caucusus whose quest for romantic love becomes one for the love of 'the whole of God's world'. Finally, the superbly crafted Hadji Murad (1905) juxtaposes the military and civilian worlds, and relates a tale of the human violation of the natural through a series of parallel episodes. Written over a period of almost fifty years, these works display Tolstoy's changing views on art and sexuality, women and marriage, nationalism and ethnicity, war and empire. All four novellas develop, each in its own unique way, the central Tolystoyan theme of love. This edition, which updates a classic translation, has explanatory notes and a substantial introduction based on the most recent scholarship in the field.
Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Russian
Inside Flap Copy
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 art and music in society.
In her Introduction, Doris Lessing shows how relevant The Kreutzer Sonata is to our understanding of Tolstoy the artist, as well as to feminism and literature. This Modern Library Paperback Classic also contains Tolstoy?s Sequel to the Kruetzer Sonata.
From the Back Cover
“Moments of dramatic genius: a wracking vision of marriage as jealousy nourished, hatred voluptuously fed, rage taken for breakfast.”—Elizabeth Hardwick
About the Author
Richard F. Gustafson is Professor of Russian at Barnard College, Columbia University and a specialist in Russian literature and religious philosophy. He is the author of Leo Tolstoy: Resident and Stranger (1986).
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