Leo Tolstoy's and Joseph Conrad's: Relation to Music

Brygida Pudełko

It is important to stress that Tolstoy’s and Conrad’s texts are to be understood to include not only literary, and thus verbal, texts but also elements of other media, such as music, theatre and visual arts. It should be noted that for Conrad music was also one of the arts that he greatly appreciated. Though Conrad’s main concern was to make us “see,” he was also concerned with making us “hear.” The use of music to accompany sexual desire, frustration and violence is a technique often used by the writer. Likewise, music had an enormous influence on Tolstoy. He was fascinated with its power, just as with the power of sexuality, beauty and war. His favourite composer was Chopin, but he also appreciated Mozart, Haydn, Weber, and Beethoven. In The Kreutzer Sonata and Other Stories Tolstoy expresses his complex and controversial views on marriage and sexuality, focussing on his protagonist Pozdnyshev and his wife, who performs Beethoven’s Kreutzer Sonata with a spirited violinist Trukhachevskii. The obsessive nature of Pozdnyshev’s jealousy is nowhere more obvious than in the sexual power he ascribes to music, and particularly to the initial part of the presto of Beethoven’s sonata.
Słowa kluczowe: Joseph Conrad, Leo Tolstoy, Beethoven, The Kreutzer Sonata, sexual desire, frustration, jealousy, violence

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