© 1998

Tolstoy on the Couch

Misogyny, Masochism and the Absent Mother

  • Authors

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-viii
  2. Daniel Rancour-Laferriere
    Pages 1-9
  3. Daniel Rancour-Laferriere
    Pages 10-32
  4. Daniel Rancour-Laferriere
    Pages 33-57
  5. Daniel Rancour-Laferriere
    Pages 58-93
  6. Daniel Rancour-Laferriere
    Pages 94-163
  7. Daniel Rancour-Laferriere
    Pages 164-188
  8. Daniel Rancour-Laferriere
    Pages 189-202
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 203-270

About this book


In his 1889 novella The Kreutzer Sonata Lev Tolstoy declared war on human sexuality. Having fathered thirteen children by his wife and at least two children by peasant women, the great Russian writer now has the arrogance to suggest that people should stop having children. Psychoanalysis of Tolstoy's diaries and other private materials reveals that Tolstoy's anti-sex position was grounded in a sadistic attitude towards women (including his wife Sonia) and a punishing, masochistic attitude towards himself. These feelings, in turn, were related to the trauma of maternal loss in Tolstoy's early childhood.


knowledge misogyny peasant psychoanalysis Russia Russian sonata women

About the authors

DANIEL RANCOUR-LAFERRIERE is Professor of Russian at the University of California in Davis. He has authored many books on Russian Themes, including Out From Under Gogol's Overcoat (1982), The Mind of Stalin (1988), Tolstoy's Pierre Bezukhov (1993), and The Slave Soul of Russia (1995).

Bibliographic information