The Devil by Leo Tolstoy
The Devil was written in 1889 but wasn't published until after Tolstoy's death in 1911. In 1909 Tolstoy wrote an alternative ending which is included in most modern editions. If you decide to read this novella/short story you should make sure your edition has both endings as both give an insight into the story as a whole. The Devil is about Eugene Irtenev and the consequences of his giving into sexual temptation. There are obvious parallels between Eugene and the Devil which I won't get into now because they don't need an explanation. The Devil is supposedly Tolstoy's most autobiographical work of fiction and that knowledge makes me extremely uncomfortable. Irtenev is not a good man. He blames his mistakes on other people and he blames his sexual urges on some need for sex because he "needs" to have sex for his physical health. The Devil is well written but the content it what really matters and the content is very unsettling and startling especially when you keep in mind that it's based on Tolstoy's life. I can't go further into the plot as I don't want to give too much away but Irtenev is one of my least favourite characters I've ever come across.
I'm not sure what else I can write without being too negative or giving too much away. I'm sensitive to women in literature and how they are portrayed and that's a major reason why I didn't like this story. It left the impression that Irtenev, and by extension Tolstoy, blamed the women in his life for his affairs and sexual temptations. I haven't given up on Tolstoy completely but I think it's best if I wait awhile before I read another one of his works.
I found out a week ago that I'll be moving to a different state in a fortnight (due to getting into an amazing program/internship) so that's why I've been quiet. I haven't even had time to read. I've read one of my Deal Me In texts and I'm currently reading another so hopefully I'll have those reviews up soon. And I plan on starting Mrs Dalloway after I've finished a play by Ben Johnson.