Great Short Works of Leo Tolstoy

Leo Tolstoy is one of my favorite writers of all time, although I’ve only read his novels. While I was doing one of my favorite pastimes, browsing around a bookstore, I stumbled across this anthology of some of his short works.

The one that really caught my interest was “The Kreutzer Sonata.” It takes place on a train ride, to and from  undisclosed places, the narrator recounts various conversations that take place in the cabin during the train ride. Each conversation generally focuses on that character’s opinion (and it probably could be said, Tolstoy’s) on some issue in society, ranging from how educationo can affect marriage; how the institution of marriage has changed from marrying for property, to marrying for love, to marrying for lusts and leaving because of the same lusts; have women’s rights and equality really been achieved or is just a trick of the mind; what is normal behavior; the difference between friendly girls and coquettes, etc.

I thought it was interesting the idea that the women’s rights movement is a sham, that instead of giving rights and equality to women, the movement is simply smoke and mirrors to make women think that they have rights and equality when in reality the act of giving those “rights” have actually given men more power over them.

In several stories, it talks about the familial obligations that young men have in 19th century Russia, some of it for financial reasons and some because of social pressures and some because of just being surround by a particular life. Which makes me wonder about some of the athletes and other celebrities (particularly in the States), since so many of them are children of actors, musicians, athletes, etc. did they really ever have the chance to be anything else other than someone in the spotlight?

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