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The Kreutzer Sonata and Other Stories : Family Happiness; The Kreutzer Sonata; The Devil and Father Sergius - Leo Tolstoy

The Kreutzer Sonata and Other Stories

Family Happiness; The Kreutzer Sonata; The Devil and Father Sergius

Paperback

Published: April 2008
For Ages: 18+ years old
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"Each phase of life has its own love"

In these four stories, Leo Tolstoy (1828 - 1910) depicts desire in its different manifestations - from idealistic romance to sexual jealousy, from desperate lust to relentless longing. Family Happiness, an early work, portrays the struggles of a couple as they move from courtship and passion through disillusionment to the quieter stage of married love. A passenger tells a bitter tale of sex, suspicion and murder when strangers on a train discuss the nature of love in The Kruetzer Sonata, a novella banned for its scandalous content in 1890. In The Devil, a young man finds it impossible to resist a beautiful peasant woman with whom he had an affair before his marriage, while Father Sergius shows a man going to increasingly desperate ends - from a soldier to monk, to hermit to beggar - in order to avoid the temptations of the flesh.

The translations by David McDuff and Paul Foote faithfully convey Tolstoy's candid, vigorous prose. This edition also includes a new introduction by Donna Orwin discussing Tolstoy's depiction of love and sex in these works, as well as a chronology, further reading and notes.

About the Author

Leo Tolstoy was born in central Russia in 1828. He studied Oriental languages and law (although failed to earn a degree in the latter) at the University of Kazan, and after a dissolute youth eventually joined an artillery regiment in the Caucasus in 1851. He took part in the Crimean War, and the Sebastopol Sketches that emerged from it established his reputation. After living for some time in St Petersburg and abroad, he married Sophie Behrs in 1862 and they had thirteen children. The happiness this brought him gave him the creative impulse for his two greatest novels, War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1877). Later in life his views became increasingly radical as he gave up his possessions to live a simple peasant life. After a quarrel with his wife he fled home secretly one night to seek refuge in a monastery. He became ill during this dramatic flight and died at the small railway station of Astapovo in 1910.

Family Happinessp. 1
The Kreutzer Sonatap. 93
The Devilp. 191
Father Sergiusp. 249
Postface to The Kreutzer Sonatap. 299
Alternative Conclusion to The Devilp. 312
Notesp. 315
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.
Leo Tolstoy

Russian author, a master of realistic fiction and one of the world's greatest novelists.

Tolstoy is best known for his two longest works, War and Peace and Anna Karenina, which are commonly regarded as among the finest novels ever written. War and Peace in particular seems virtually to define this form for many readers and critics. Among Tolstoy's shorter works, The Death of Ivan Ilyich is usually classed among the best examples of the novella. Especially during his last three decades Tolstoy also achieved world renown as a moral and religious teacher. His doctrine of nonresistance to evil had an important influence on Gandhi. Although Tolstoy's religious ideas no longer command the respect they once did, interest in his life and personality has, if anything, increased over the years.

Most readers will agree with the assessment of the 19th-century British poet and critic Matthew Arnold that a novel by Tolstoy is not a work of art but a piece of life; the 20th-century Russian author Isaak Babel commented that, if the world could write by itself, it would write like Tolstoy. Critics of diverse schools have agreed that somehow Tolstoy's works seem to elude all artifice. Most have stressed his ability to observe the smallest changes of consciousness and to record the slightest movements of the body. What another novelist would describe as a single act of consciousness, Tolstoy convincingly breaks down into a series of infinitesimally small steps. According to the English writer Virginia Woolf, who took for granted that Tolstoy was “the greatest of all novelists,” these observational powers elicited a kind of fear in readers, who “wish to escape from the gaze which Tolstoy fixes on us.”

Those who visited Tolstoy as an old man also reported feelings of great discomfort when he appeared to understand their unspoken thoughts. It was commonplace to describe him as godlike in his powers and titanic in his struggles to escape the limitations of the human condition. Some viewed Tolstoy as the embodiment of nature and pure vitality, others saw him as the incarnation of the world's conscience, but for almost all who knew him or read his works, he was not just one of the greatest writers who ever lived but a living symbol of the search for life's meaning.

Visit Leo Tolstoy's Booktopia Author Page


ISBN: 9780140449600
ISBN-10: 0140449604
Series: Penguin Classics
Audience: General
For Ages: 18+ years old
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 352
Published: April 2008
Dimensions (cm): 19.6 x 12.8  x 2.1
Weight (kg): 0.26
Edition Number: 1