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The Devil 
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Post The Devil
Here's some quick background on Tolstoy's "The Devil."

Leo Tolstoy married Sofya Andreyevna Bers when he was 34 and she was 18. They stayed together for almost 50 years and she bore him 13 children. Right before the wedding, in a spirt of "full disclosure and complete honesty," Tolstoy insisted that Sofya read his private diaries, which described in much detail many of his bachelor affairs with various local women. Sofya had already forgiven Tolstoy for his womanizing before they were married, but reading the diaries were reportedly very painful for her, especially with respect to one affair in particular, Tolstoy's ongoing affair with a peasant woman, Aksinya, with whom he had a son.

That particular entry reads: "Today, in the big old wood, I'm a fool, a brute. Her bronzed flush and her eyes.... I'm in love as never before in my life."

The Devil was written by Leo Tolstoy in 1889, but the story wasn't published until after his death. According to Tolstoy's daughter Aleksandra, Tolstoy set a draft of the story aside for 20 years before revising it. He was afraid that publishing the story would reignite Sofya's hurt feelings.

Another possible reason that Tolstoy set the story aside was that the ending wasn't particularly satisfying, and neither was an alternative ending he wrote later.

Both "The Devil" and "The Kreutzer Sonata" (finished 1889; published 1891) are sometimes referred to as Tolstoy's "sexual stories." Each has an autobiographical basis which is particularly evident in "The Devil"—a story of sexual obsession.

Here's a link to the story:

http://www.cyberspacei.com/jesusi/autho ... _devil.htm

And here's a good web site that talks about Tolstoy's later works.

http://www.ourcivilisation.com/smartboa ... chap10.htm


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Suzanne
Wed Oct 06, 2010 2:04 pm
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Post Re: The Devil
I'm going to try my luck at the library tomorrow or Friday and see if this is available. Reading lots of text online hurts my eyes, but I'll read it if I don't have any luck. Thanks for posting the link again.



Wed Oct 06, 2010 6:59 pm
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Post Re: The Devil
reader2121 wrote:
I'm going to try my luck at the library tomorrow


I'll be doing this myself.

There is a variation to the ending in the link provided. Geo, do you know if this variation was writen by Tolstoy? I find this odd, a nice suprise, but odd.



Sat Oct 09, 2010 8:54 pm
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Post Re: The Devil
Yes, Tolstoy wrote an alternative ending. I'll have more to say later. Hopefully we'll get a few people to read the story and get a good discussion going.


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Sat Oct 09, 2010 11:15 pm
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Post Re: The Devil
I took a look at this. I haven't read Tolstoy in years. I was surprised to see how contemporary his writing seems. I'll be interested to see opinions from others.



Mon Oct 11, 2010 4:43 pm
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Post Re: The Devil
In the first part of The Devil:

6,000 rubles = $200
100,000 rubles = $3,342

*by today's conversion rates, of course



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Mon Oct 11, 2010 5:44 pm
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Post Re: The Devil
Just in time, I'm starting "The Devil" now. Someone should make a shout in the shout box about this new discussion. I'm having difficulty using the shout box. :(



Mon Oct 11, 2010 5:48 pm
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Post Re: The Devil
Is Eugene Iretnev and Eugene Ivanich the same person? I'm confused?



Mon Oct 11, 2010 6:09 pm
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Post Re: The Devil
reader2121 wrote:
Is Eugene Iretnev and Eugene Ivanich the same person? I'm confused?


Strangely, it's like that in my translation as well. I have no explanation for it. But yes, Eugene Iretnev and Eugene Ivanich are one and the same.


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Mon Oct 11, 2010 7:34 pm
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Post Re: The Devil
geo wrote:
Strangely, it's like that in my translation as well. I have no explanation for it. But yes, Eugene Iretnev and Eugene Ivanich are one and the same.


Odd, my version has Eugene Iretnev and Anna Karenina as being the same. However, Tolstoy did not give the reader a choice regarding Anna Karenina's fate.

Tolstoy seems to be requiring the reader to make a moral choice when he gives us two endings. Which one do we pick? We must pick one. And we have to ask ourselves, why did we choose the the ending that decides Eugene's fate?

"Phosphates justify", hmmm? I have no idea what this means. I do know that if a writer repeats certain words again and again, it must mean something.



Mon Oct 11, 2010 11:49 pm
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Post Re: The Devil
reader2121 wrote:
Is Eugene Iretnev and Eugene Ivanich the same person? I'm confused?


Okay, I did some research. Turns out every Russian name consists of three names: a first (given) name, a patronymic name and a surname.

Quote:
Patronymic name

Russian patronymic name is derived from father's name according to rule:
Russian male patronymic name forms by adding ending -evich, -ovich. (Nikolaevich, Mikhailovich). For example, Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy. Tha name of Lev Tolstoy's father was Nikolay, so the Lev Tolstoy's patronymic name is Nikolaevich.
Russian female patronymic name forms by adding ending -ovna, -evna. (Nikolaevna, Mikhailovna). For example, Raisa Maximovna Gorbacheva. Tha name of Raisa Gorbavheva's father was Maxim, so the Raisa's patronymic name is Maximovna.
Russians used First and Patronymic Name in formal relationships, with unfamiliar people, with doctors, teachers, lecturers, older members of family, directors, leaders and other respected people (ex. Vladimir Vladimirovich, Lev Nikolaevich, Fedor Mikhailovich).


So our protagonist's full name is likely Eugene Ivanich Irtenev.

Tolstoy starts the story with the line: "A brilliant career awaited Eugene Irtenev." And the only other place in the story that this surname "Irtenev" is used is in the last paragraph of the alternative ending: "And indeed, if Eugene Iretnev was mentally deranged when he committed this crime, then everyone is similarly insane."

Elsewhere in the story, the name Eugene Ivanich is used. In fact, "Ivanich" appears five times in the story. This is the case in two different translations I have seen.

For example, here:

"The watchman had been his father's huntsman, and Eugene Ivanich chatted with him, and the man began telling some strange tales of hunting sprees. It occurred to Eugene Ivanich that it would be convenient to arrange matters in this hut, or in the wood, only he did not know how to manage it and whether old Daniel would undertake the arrangement."

Thus, Eugene Ivanich Irtenev's name is shortened for most of the story to given name and patronymic. The narrator refers to Eugene most frequently using the patronymic. And in the alternative ending, as Eugene Ivanich returns from prison, the narrator returns to using Eugene's surname perhaps as a reintroduction to a character who is now an "enfeebled, irresponsible drunkard."


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Last edited by geo on Tue Oct 12, 2010 11:03 am, edited 1 time in total.



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Post Re: The Devil
"Phosphates justify".......The phosphates are being spread on the fallow fields to rejuvenate or "justify" them; bring them back to a rich base for planting.



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reader2121
Tue Oct 12, 2010 10:33 am
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Post Re: The Devil
I've added some of the names to Forvo.com. So far, you can hear pronunciation of:

(Stepanida) http://www.forvo.com/word/%D1%81%D1%82% ... 4%D0%B0#ru



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lindad_amato
Tue Oct 12, 2010 12:36 pm
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Post Re: The Devil
FYI: a desyatina is a form of measure. It is approximately 10.925 square meters



Tue Oct 12, 2010 12:38 pm
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Post Re: The Devil
A question:

from chapter XIV:
Having received his fee, as usual into the backmost part of his palm, the doctor drove away and the patient was left to lie in bed for a week.

What do you suppose this means? Does he mean it was a "payoff" of some kind. The passage seems sinister.



Tue Oct 12, 2010 2:23 pm
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