"The Tolstoy Family Story Contest" by Michael Katz (The Center for the Humanities at Tufts)

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Leo Tolstoy's short story "The Kreutzer Sonata" aroused a storm of controversy and created a tremendous scandal when it was published in 1889. A tale of sexual jealousy, adultery, and murder, it was rejected many times by the Russian censor, revised by the author, and then copied over by his faithful wife, Sofiya Andreevna. Meanwhile she wrote two "counter-stories" of her own in which she dared disagree with the views of her eminent husband. Her stories were sequestered in her archive for over 100 years and were recently published in Russian. Michael Katz is retranslating "The Kreutzer Sonata," translating his wife's stories into English for the first time, as well another "counter-story" by their son Lev Lvovich in which he disagrees with both of his parents, thus resulting in an extraordinary Tolstoy family "story contest."

Michael Katz is the author of The Literary Ballad in Early Nineteenth-Century Russian Literature and Dreams and the Unconscious in Nineteenth-Century Russian Fiction. He has translated and edited the Norton Critical Editions of Fyodor Dostoevsky's Notes from Underground and Ivan Turgenev's Fathers and Children. He has also translated, among other works, Dostoevsky'sDevils, Alexander Herzen's Who Is to Blame?, and N. G. Chernyshevsky'sWhat Is to Be Done?.


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