Construction Literary Magazine

Fall 2019

From The Kreutzer Sonata

From <i>The Kreutzer Sonata</i>

Photograph via Flickr by shutterhacks

Leo Tolstoy, The Kreutzer Sonata

“Whenever people assert that in a paroxysm of madness they do not remember what they are doing, they are either talking nonsense—or lying. I knew very well what I was doing, and did not for a single second cease to be conscious of it. The more I fanned the flame of my fury, the brighter burned within  me the light of consciousness, lighting up every nook and corner of my soul, so that I could not help seeing everything I was doing. I can not affirm that I knew in advance what I was going to do, but the very moment I was doing anything, I fancy some seconds beforehand, I was conscious of what I was doing, in order, as it were, that I might repent of it in time, that I might afterward have it to say that I could have stayed my hand. Thus, I was aware that I was striking her below the ribs, and that the blade would penetrate. The moment I was doing this, I knew that I was doing something terrible, a thing I had never done before, an action that would be fraught with frightful consequences. But that consciousness was instantaneous, like a flash of lightening, and the deed followed so close upon it as to be almost simultaneous with it. My consciousness of the deed and of its nature was painfully distinct. I felt and still remember the momentary resistances of the corset, and of something else, and then the passage of the knife cutting its way through the soft parts of the body. She seized the dagger with both her hands, wounding them, but without staying its progress.”

So intense you wonder if the author himself done the deed.