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TOLSTOY, Leo (1828-1910). [Kreitserova Sonata (The Kreutzer Sonata).] [Moscow: privately printed, c.1889.]
TOLSTOY, Leo (1828-1910). [Kreitserova Sonata (The Kreutzer Sonata).] [Moscow: privately printed, c.1889.]
TOLSTOY, Leo (1828-1910). [Kreitserova Sonata (The Kreutzer Sonata).] [Moscow: privately printed, c.1889.]
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TOLSTOY, Leo (1828-1910). [Kreitserova Sonata (The Kreutzer Sonata).] [Moscow: privately printed, c.1889.]

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TOLSTOY, Leo (1828-1910). [Kreitserova Sonata (The Kreutzer Sonata).] [Moscow: privately printed, c.1889.]

The Yudin—Library of Congress copy of a rare samizdat edition of Tolstoy's banned novella of sexual love, with the epilogue. 'It would be hard to find anything to compare with the importance of its theme and the beauty of its execution' (Chekhov, letter to Pleshcheev, 15 February 1890). While censors prohibited publication on grounds of moral turpitude – in America as well as Russia – Tolstoy was in fact advocating for sexual abstinence, both in and out of wedlock. In his 'Epilogue', which appeared later c.1890, Tolstoy clarifies the message of his Sonata: 'infatuation and conjunction with the object of our carnal love – whatever the authors of romances and love poems claim to the contrary – will never help worthwhile pursuits, but only hinder them'. The Kreutzer Sonata was notorious in Russian literary circles even before the prohibition: in November 1889, the story was read in public at the publishing house of Tolstoy's friend Chertkov. The manuscript was copied the same night, despite Tolstoy's reluctance, and within three days 300 lithographed copies were already in circulation in St Petersburg; in December 1889, the work was officially condemned. Yudin sold his extensive library of c.80,000 volumes en bloc to the Library of Congress in late 1906; it is the cornerstone of the Library's Russian-language collection.

Tall octavo (273 x 182mm); [2], 108, [12] pp.; mimeographed/hectographed manuscript in black ink, bar a supplied section of 15pp mimeographed/hectographed in purple ink from a part manuscript/part typescript source (the Epilogue leaves with the fore-edges chipped and strengthened; these leaves slightly wider and folded to fit). 20th-century red cloth, spine lettered in Cyrillic (small abrasion on the front board from a removed label). Provenance: Gennadii Vasil'evich Yudin (1840-1912, bibliophile; bookplate, sold in 1907 to:) – Library of Congress (bookplate, binding, small perforated initials; deaccessioned and sold as a duplicate in the 1960s).
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