One of Tolstoy’s last published works of fiction, The Devil revolves around the young landowner Yevgeny’s irrepressible lust for Stepanida, a sensual peasant woman. Even when he gets married to a respectable upper-class lady, he finds himself unable to put an end to his encounters with Stepanida, and becomes increasingly consumed by guilt and helplessness in the face of his urges.
In some ways comparable to the controversial Kreutzer Sonata, The Devil shows Tolstoy at his most salacious, and addresses the conflicts between desire, social norms and personal conscience. Also included in this volume is Family Happiness, one of Tolstoy’s earliest works, an entertaining and cynical account of marriage from the perspective of a disillusioned wife, and A Landowner’s Morning.
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