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Monthly Archives: December 2013

The Kreutzer Sonata by Leo Tolstoy

Jacqui gave this to me for my birthday. I had read about it in the Rosamund Bartlett biography (of Tolstoy).

The main protagonist, Pozdnyshev, shows a very negative view of women, literally stating that all women are prostitutes and the only role/aspiration for a woman is to get married. I wonder if these are Tolstoy’s views or he is portraying them as extreme and reprehensible. Tolstoy was a forward thinking person, but gender politics and his attitude to women might not be amongst his strong points (though women are a huge topic for his books).

The book also has a parallel with Tolstoy’ jealousy of his wife with Sergei Taneyev (even though I think the book predates this by quite a few years).

In the end this is another book that doesn’t end well for the woman. Even enlightened (by the standards of the 19th century) authors didn’t do well here. Zola is an example.