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Kreutzer Sonata 'is best study of sexual jealousy'

4th November 2009

Leo Tolstoy's Kreutzer Sonata is the novel which best captures the power of sexual jealousy, according to one author.

Writing in the Guardian, Howard Jacobson said sexual jealousy is a topic best-suited to novels and one he has spent his career examining.

'Tales of innocence and wonderment leave me cold. Black obsessiveness is what the novel does best. And jealousy is its natural domain,' he explained.

Jacobson, whose most recent work The Act of Love is built around a central theme of jealousy, claimed Tolstoy's novel clearly shows how desire, rage and jealousy are linked emotions and can lead to extreme actions such as murder.

He also applauded Thomas Hardy's classic Tess of the D'Urbervilles which he said is driven by jealousy.

Other novels singled out by Jacobson include Jealousy by Alain Robbe-Grillet, James Joyce's Ulysses and The Eternal Husband by Fyodor Dostoevsky.

Last month, a reader poll by Mills and Boon found that Mr Rochester, the hero of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, is considered the most romantic character in literature, followed by Bernard Cornwell's protagonist Richard Sharpe.

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