Saturday, April 12, 2014

Amorous K: the Kiss


"Kreutzer Sonata" by Rene Francois Xavier Prinet, 1901
What could be more appropriate or wonderful than Kiss for the letter K?

In 1889 Leo Tolstoy created a novella entitled Kreutzer Sonata, in which forbidden discussions of sexuality, love and lust, morality and immorality emerge.  

Marriage, divorce, and love were examined in a conversation on a train with Pozdnyshev and other passengers. 

He later marries and time goes by with relative happiness and children.  He discovers his wife has started using contraceptives.  There is a schism in the relationship and his wife begins a relationship with a violinist (whose name is 15 letters long). 

This is the first movement of the sonata, lasting about 7 minutes.

Well, then....

They begin practicing this challenging sonata, with the wife accompanying the violinist.  Pozdnyshev discovers them in a passionate kiss and kills the wife.  The violinist flees.

 The Russian Government prohibited Tolstoy's story to be published.  

Portions of the story made their way to the United States where these chapters were published in the newspaper.  

Not able to suppress free speech, President Theodore Roosevelt forbid the U. S. Post Office to deliver any newspaper containing the story.  

He called Tolstoy “…a sexual, moral pervert.”

Leo Tolstoy, 1828-1910

The title chosen by Tolstoy was based upon Beethoven’s Violin Sonata No. 9, (which is another story in itself)!

All this happened as the result of an illicit kiss between a married woman and her lover. 

A kiss is a powerful thing.


  1. A tragic story... Can you imagine the president telling the PO NOT to deliver newspapers that contained and "objectionable" story? There'd be riots! The illustration you use of The Kiss was used for advertising the Perfume, Tabu, which my mother used to wear.

  2. What would one do today if one caught one's life width here lover? Say, "Carry on!" perhaps? Intersting how imagination become reality. Tolstoy was brilliant.

    Blessings and Bear hugs

  3. No one would blink an eye to such things now a days

  4. That's quite a story! Lots of drama!

  5. A kiss is a powerful thing! The violin is beautiful. :)

  6. I imagine that Tolstoy is spining in his grave if he can see the changes. Mind you, he won't be alone. Perhaps this accounts for some of the turbulence in the world. All those spinners...

  7. Thanks for the story, Susan. Wow, fifteen-letter name, that, somehow, got stuck in my head. Tolstoy was a great storyteller for that time, but am having a heck of a time trying to go through his Anna Karenina today. Yeah, he probably wouldn't have liked any of this, but the truth is ... a kiss is a very powerful thing, indeed. :)

  8. Suddenly I've taken an interest in this author. Lol

  9. I love Leo Tolstoy! And Kreutzer Sonata was one of my favorite novellas by Tolstoy.
    I wrote about it here. His wife did not really have an affair with the musician, but her husband thought she did. It is never clear if she truly had an affair. I think they were just friends. Tolstoy wanted to delve into the nature of friendships between men and women among other things. Here's my essay:

    1. Yes! You are absolutely correct! My source was a condensed version of the Tolstoy writing, leaving room for speculation. Tolstoy, with much of his volume of work, was intent on focusing upon the conflict of sexual expectations.
      Thanks for your input. I will check out your essay, and encourage bloggers to do the same. Tolstoy was brilliant.

  10. You know, I've never read Tolstoy. I should probably get on that. Anyone who Roosevelt called a sexual, moral pervert has got to be fun.

  11. Nice. You're almost halfway through the alphabet :)

  12. Isn't it interesting how emotions control our thinking, behavior and actions.

  13. I've never read Tolstoy, it doesn't seem like my kind of book.

  14. That must have been the Twenty Shades of Grey of it's time.

  15. An interesting and informative post! A kiss can definitely be a powerful thing.

    Madeline @ The Shellshank Redemption
    Minion, Capt. Alex's Ninja Minion Army
    The 2014 Blogging from A-Z Challenge


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