The Kreutzer Sonata by Leo Tolstoy: Reviews, Summary and Analysis

Explore Tolstoy's 'The Kreutzer Sonata' with insightful reviews, a concise summary, and in-depth analysis. Uncover the masterpiece's hidden depths.

Welcome to an insightful journey through the world of 'The Kreutzer Sonata by Leo Tolstoy: Reviews, Summary and Analysis,' written by Muhiuddin Alam on the book recommendations and reviews site, ReadingAndThinking.com

Over the years as a leading authority on literary expertise, I've created numerous articles, many of which can be found on this site.

I have received many requests to review 'The Kreutzer Sonata by Leo Tolstoy'. In response, I'm pleased to offer my expert Reviews, Summary, and Analysis in this article.

Content Introduction: The Kreutzer Sonata

"Kreutzer Sonata" is the work of Russian writer Leo Tolstoy. The peculiarity of this work is that it was once banned due to the sensitivity of its subject matter. 

It has not been published as a single volume and is only available in the complete collection. Ordinary people cannot afford the thick and expensive complete collection, so this work has not been widely read. 

Judging from the content, it is indeed a very excellent work, and it is reasonable for it to be blocked politically. 

The title of "Kreutzer Sonata" is taken from Beethoven's symphony of the same name, in which the protagonist is inspired by the music. 

The reason why "Kreutzer Sonata" is very good is that the author wrote about the psychology of men very honestly. 

In fact, the author has never seen such a psychological description in any work, and this kind of psychological description is very real. 

Human beings often hide their true emotions based on ethics and shame. Those who can honestly tell the truth are very brave people. 

So I can't help but respect Toweng. The first half of "Kreutzer Sonata" describes men's uncontrollable carnal needs for women and the nature of men's erotic obsession. 

The second half describes the jealousy of men after entering into marriage. This unreasonable jealousy drives the protagonist to kill his wife. Extremely strong literary tension. 

This article discusses the nature of marriage by the way. Is it really necessary to have a distorted marriage due to the conflict between lust and love? 

The dilemma of marriage in "Kreutzer Sonata" is actually a reflection of Toon's own troubled marriage. Almost hysterical. 

The protagonist can't stand his wife, he can't help having sex with her, and he can't stand his wife...a vicious cycle. 

And, in the text, nothing can save a marriage. The so-called love is a castle in the air and has never happened. 

The protagonist and his wife had no love before they got married. After they got married, they hated each other and had no chance of love. 

Or maybe the two don't understand each other at all. Children cannot be the lubricant of a marriage, or even worse. 

The child born to the protagonist and his wife has become a tool of quarrel between the couple. He is really unworthy of being a parent, and this kind of married life is really hell on earth. 

Marriage is an unavoidable topic in human history, and Toon is deeply troubled by it. The protagonist of "Kreutzer Sonata" has wanted to commit suicide many times. 

Really good literature is about human misery and pain, and it's painful to read. "Kreutzer Sonata" is among the outstanding literary works.

Book: The Kreutzer Sonata by Leo Tolstoy

The Kreutzer Sonata is a novella by Leo Tolstoy, named after Beethoven's Kreutzer Sonata. The novella was published in 1889 and was promptly censored by the Russian authorities. The work is an argument for the ideal of sexual abstinence and an in-depth first-person description of jealous rage. ---- Wikipedia

    • Originally published: 1889
    • Author: Leo Tolstoy
    • Adaptations: The Kreutzer Sonata (1987), MORE
    • Pages: 118 (Pollard's 1890 English edition)
    • Genre: Philosophical fiction
    • Language: Russian
    • Original title: Крейцерова соната

the-kreutzer-sonata-by-leo-tolstoy
The Kreutzer Sonata by Leo Tolstoy

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About the Author: Leo Tolstoy

Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) was a great Russian critical realist writer in the 19th century and one of the most outstanding writers in the history of world literature. 

He is known as a talented artist with the most sober realism style. His main works include the novels "War and Peace", "Anna Karenina", "Resurrection", etc.

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Original Excerpt

The example of the syllogism he learned in Kiesewert's "Logic": Kai is a human being, and all people are going to die, so Kai will also die. This example he thought was right all his life, but it only applies to Kai, and never to him. That refers to Kai as a person, an ordinary person, so that is absolutely correct; but he is neither Kai nor an ordinary person, but a completely special person who has never been different from all others; He is Vanya. He first stayed with his mother, father, Mitya, and Volodya, hanging out with toys, coachmen, and nannies all day long. Later he stayed with Katenka and experienced childhood, adolescence, and youth. The joys and sorrows of the period. Has Kai also smelled the striped leather ball that Vanya likes to smell so much? Did Kai kiss his mother's hand in the same way? Did the silk pleats of mother's clothes rustle to Kai like that? Did he also make a fuss over pie in law school? Is this how Kai fell in love? Can Kai also hold court trials like this?

Kai is indeed going to die, and he deserves to die, but for me, for Vanya, for Ivan Ilizi, who has feelings and thoughts, - this is another matter. I want to die too, this is absolutely impossible. This is absolutely terrible. 

------ Quoted from page 129

Book Summary

"Kreutzer Sonata" is both simple and shocking. The technique is simple. People who met by chance on the train talked about love and marriage, which touched a lonely and excited passenger. After people dispersed, he told "me" about the experience of killing his wife.

In court, people said he killed his wife to defend his honor, so he was acquitted. Indeed, he broke up his wife's midnight tryst with a violinist, but he thought it was not because of this or at this time that he killed his wife. He had already killed his wife many years ago.

In his early years, he lived a dissolute life, but just like Nekhludoff in "The Resurrection", everyone thought that a wealthy aristocratic man should live such a life. Not only was there nothing to criticize, but everyone was vying to marry his pure daughter to him. 

In fact, as long as you have money and status, you can happily marry a syphilis patient, and it is not incurable anyway. He also hopes to get married and desires to live a noble and holy married life. 

He fell in love with a girl from a declining aristocratic family and believed that it was a kind of holy love, but in fact, it was just an illusion given to him by her beautiful appearance and appropriate dress. 

She was just one of the daughters that thousands of mothers worked hard to sell to get married, and there was nothing special about her.

A few days after their marriage, the two realized that there was no love between them, but physical desire deceived them time and time again. The ensuing pregnancy, childbirth, and childcare made their lives busy and antagonistic. 

The two have become enemies. He hates everything about her, including her various little actions, which were what he loved at the beginning.

After giving birth to five children, the wife no longer had children, and she felt passionate about finding love. Just then, a violinist who was good at seducing women from good families appeared. 

In fact, it doesn’t have to be a violinist. Any man may become the landing point of her love at this time. 

He is aware of the ambiguity between her and the violinist, but cannot stop it because social customs do not prohibit married women from having in-depth interactions with other men. 

He even has to hypocritically welcome their interactions. Tormented by jealousy, he deliberately returned home early during a business trip and saw the two of them in the same room in the middle of the night. 

So he killed her. In fact, this may not be the case. Any trigger may cause him to kill her. After killing her, he realized that he had killed a living person and that nothing could be undone.

After he was found not guilty, he wanted to pick up his children from his wife's sister but was rejected. He sadly discovered that the children were growing into savages, just like everyone around them. 

He wanted to educate children in another way and wanted to expose the lives of pigs and dogs, but people didn't understand what he knew.

This is not a personal tragedy, but a social tragedy. Society tolerates men seducing women from good families, visiting prostitutes, and doing whatever they want. It seems that this is what makes them courageous and worthy of their status as superior people. 

Society also tolerates women's vanity, pretentiousness, and excessive interactions with men. In the end, upper-class women become nothing more than long-term prostitutes. 

How can such a society where men steal and women prostitute produce healthy love? So the wife-murderer asked other travelers what love was but could not get an answer.

In a deformed society, one has to either go with the flow or be driven crazy. The former kind of people are like Duke Vasily in "War and Peace", completely heartless and moral, but they are like a fish in water and are the mainstay of society; the latter kind of people are the losers of society, although they are often influenced by themselves. 

His conscience drives him crazy. Therefore, people often suffer because of their own advantages.

Tolstoy was a man tortured by his own conscience, so many of the articles he wrote often made the world unhappy. Therefore, although he was rich and well-established, he chose to run away when he was eighty years old. He hates all hypocrisy and writes without technique or rhetoric. 

This novella is mainly narrated in the first person, speaking directly from the heart, tearing open the wounds of society, and showing them directly to the readers. "Rough clothes and messy hair do not hide the beauty of the country."

Book Review

In the power of effect, in the concentration of enthusiasm, in the vividness and wildness of vision, in the fullness and maturity of form, no Tolstoy work can compare with the "Kreutzer Sonata". —— Romain Rolland

the-kreutzer-sonata-by-leo-tolstoy
The Kreutzer Sonata by Leo Tolstoy: Reviews, Summary and Analysis

If love and death are eternal themes in literary works, then the greatness of Tolstoy's short story is that it vividly explores the inevitable relationship between the most common but also most terrifying way of love and death in human nature. connect. 

The main plot of the novel is that the protagonist Poznyshev recounts his complete mental journey of killing his wife in a dark carriage. 

Unless there are accidents, readers can easily capture the shell of a love-murder story, but if they are willing to analyze the protagonist's sensitive and complex psychological activities more deeply, they may also find that this guy does not only belong to Russia at the end of the nineteenth century, nor The representative of a certain social identity, he is a very modern barbarian, an arrogant innocent and a spiritual dwarf.

When encountering cases like Poznyshev, psychology and social science often teach people to reflect on the power relationship in marriage, and then guide people to learn how to love and cherish rather than possess and control. 

It is obvious that Poznyshev's entire married life was indeed a history of power struggle with his wife. The husband and wife have no control over their speech and body, even to the point of being unable to communicate. 

In Poznyshev's opinion, everything his wife said was vicious, and she deliberately distorted his every word and tried to hurt him as much as possible. 

At the same time, he himself was not to be outdone: "No matter what she said, I already disagreed in advance." 

However, the issue of power is still only examined at the level of social relations, without exploring the underlying causes behind this desire. 

Therefore, in the end, the only way is to dogmatically formulate three chapters to teach people to castrate their desires, and then embrace that empty emotion, which they call "love". 

Unfortunately, none of these human nature experts have ever explained the true content of this word.

In fact, Poznyshev himself is an excellent psychologist. In the carriage, he described in detail his guilt for visiting prostitutes for the first time, his disdain for the upper class, his marriage mentality, his hostility towards his wife, and his revenge for catching an adulterer. The fun and so on. 

He described his treatment of married life like this: "We were like two prisoners who hated each other, locked in a chain, poisoning each other's lives and trying not to see it. 

I didn't know it at the time, 99% of the time All couples are living in the same hell as we are, and it can’t be otherwise.” 

So if Poznyshev can consciously maintain a respectful relationship between husband and wife, as psychologists suggest, then things must not be the same in the end. This is the direction of the novel.

The fact is that the clever Poznyshev, like his author Tolstoy, was unwilling to sugarcoat the situation and would rather push things to extremes. 

Because they have seen through the hypocritical nature of preaching, why should they love? Why respect? It's really disgusting. In the final analysis, it's nothing more than self-deception and pretense.

In an argument with his lawyer and his wife at the beginning of the novel, Poznyshev openly doubts the existence of love beyond sex: "Every man experiences what you call love for every beautiful woman." 

What most people call the essence of marriage, he confidently declared: "Here in our country, people despise marriage. 

They see nothing in marriage except sexual intercourse, and the result is either deception or violence." Then he concluded: "People make It look as if something despicable and embarrassing is beautiful and sublime.”

Faced with Poznyshev's sharp accusations and doubts about love and marriage, it may be difficult for most people to give an answer that is enough to refute his non-preaching. 

As a result, this "wise man" who refused to compromise or self-deceive became more confident in his own theory and vented his anger by repeatedly cursing the hypocrisy, despicability, and filthiness of the world. 

But Poznyshev, who hates hypocrisy so much, still chose to marry a woman. So what truth about love did he find?

In fact, Poznyshev always retained his naive illusions about the moral ideals of sincerity and purity. Looking back on his boyhood, he not only regretted his depravity but also grieved that he would "never have that simple, bright, pure brotherly attitude" towards women. 

In his imagination of his future wife, he wanted to find a "girl who is pure enough to be worthy of me." 

In the face of all kinds of disputes after marriage, this husband who was clean and honest after marriage always promoted himself as honest. 

As he said, "I live an honest family life" and "always thought that he was an honest person in front of her (wife)." saint". 

It can be seen that Poznyshev has always regarded purity and sincerity as the basis of his theory of human nature and his view of love, and has set himself according to the standards of a saint.

But the problem lies precisely here. Behind Poznyshev's rejection of hypocrisy is his obsession with his own purity and sincerity, but the core of the soul is not a ready-made entity and cannot be grasped like a ready-made object. 

Poznyshev doubted all external hypocrisy but stopped at doubting himself. 

This innocent man silently objectified himself and lost the ability to reflect. In this way, he fell into a greater hypocrisy than hypocrisy, that is, hypocrisy.

In this way, without doubting the purity of his motives, Poznyshev used a mask of honesty to cover his ears in a dehumanizing manner. He built an arrogant moral siege for himself and forcibly concocted a myth of absolute sincerity.

Due to his blind confidence in his sincere nature and neglect of awareness of his own hypocrisy, Poznyshev became a completely self-centered and naive devil in personality. 

When the conflicts between the couple accumulated and finally reached the point of irreconcilability, the only choice left to Poznyshev was what he said: "Either debauchery, divorce, suicide, or self-destruction" His wife was killed.” 

He did file for divorce after a quarrel with his wife, and on his way home to "catch the rape" he also thought about committing suicide by lying on the train like Anna Karenina, but he didn't. In fact, Poznyshev had to kill You can't kill your wife.

The difference with Anna Karenina is that Poznyshev is not only arrogant about his "sincerity", but he is also full of conceit about his extremely smart mind. 

Not only was he unashamed of his sincerity, but he also did not feel there was anything questionable about his theory, which made him lose the possibility of final self-salvation. 

If Anna Karenina's suicide was partly based on an intuition that she did not understand, then Poznyshev's actions were based on a "sincere performance" dominated by a rational mind.

Another distinguishing characteristic of Poznyshev was that he was always easily angered and hurt, and was tortured by jealousy. 

Behind being manipulated by emotions is actually a high degree of performance that lacks consciousness, and its essence is still a kind of self-objectification. 

Sincerity as a mask was mistaken for the true nature, and therefore the depth of the soul was lost. The flat Poznyshev was naturally unable to jump out of his emotions and step back to examine them. 

Be it jealousy or resentment, these seemingly real and direct emotional experiences are never that simple. 

Even the most personal feelings, the most natural true feelings, are all personality masks, behind which a deeper personality can be discovered.

A flat personality is not independent, and those whose souls are visible at a glance are either dependent or authoritarian. 

Reflection on the performance nature of personality (that is, hypocrisy) is the first step in establishing an independent personality. 

Without any reflection on the authenticity of emotions, life will become a puppet show manipulated by "beautiful souls."

Poznyshev was so deeply involved in the play that he even mobilized his shrewd mind to help him perform the play more thoroughly, so there was the final highlight that he carefully planned, directed, and acted - tortured by jealousy A drama about a husband murdering his cheating wife. 

Throughout the process, Poznyshev took the initiative to create an external environment suitable for the role, strictly required the entire process to be controllable, and rejected the interference of accidental factors until the pre-conceived expectations were completed step by step. 

Careful readers may find that it was Poznyshev who intentionally or unintentionally created that avoidable episode. 

He took the initiative to introduce the young music lover to his wife, although he knew full well the consequences of this. The purpose was clearly to create the conditions for anticipated retaliation. 

In the end, just as he secretly designed, director Poznyshev used violent means to implement the "ultimate trial" on his wife. Therefore, Poznyshev is by no means a man who kills with passion. 

His whole performance process has a high degree of rational participation, otherwise he would not be able to retell it in detail to the passengers on the train, and the emotionally exciting Kreitzer Sonata is just an excuse. That’s all.

After a thorough analysis of Poznyshev's inner personality, we will find that the necessary conditions for love are the mutual attraction of two independent personalities and respect for each other's personalities, while the ability to self-reflection is a must for independent personalities. 

Prepared spiritual qualities. Anyone who claims to be absolutely sincere and rejects the performative nature of personality is a self-objectified, depersonalized dead soul. 

Such soil is most likely to breed the seeds of deception and violence, and will certainly not allow love to sprout. If a person is smart, calm, and determined enough, then Poznyshev is his inevitable fate. 

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