Views & Reviews Between the lines

A viol prejudice

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: (Published 17 May 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:1061
  1. Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor

    According to Gorky, Lenin feared the music of Beethoven because it made him want to pat people's heads, and this was a distraction from having them shot, which was so much more constructive.

    Tolstoy had a similar, though of course not identical, reaction to Beethoven, in so far as the character of Pozdnyshev in the story The Kreutzer Sonata may be taken to express Tolstoy's own views (as I think it may). The Kreutzer causes “an awakening of energy and feeling unsuited both to the time and place . . . ” and “cannot but act harmfully.”

    In the story, Pozdnyshev kills his wife because he believes she has formed a liaison with a violinist, recently returned from Paris (a sure …

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