The Russian Messenger, № 7–8 April 1859
|Original title||Семейное счастье (Semeynoye Schast'ye)|
|Translator||April Fitz Lyon (1953)|
|Pages||214 p. (Hardcover)|
Family Happiness (Russian: Семейное счастье [Semeynoye Schast'ye]) is an 1859 novella written by Leo Tolstoy, first published in The Russian Messenger. The story concerns the love and marriage of a young girl, Mashechka (17 years old), and the much older Sergey Mikhaylych (36), an old family friend. This maybe echoes Tolstoy's own marriage to a woman of 18 when he was 34. After a somewhat awkward courtship, the two are married and move to Mikhaylych's home. Over the course of the 100-page story, Mashechka finds that married life and her feelings for Mikhaylych are much more complex than she had thought and have little to do with her previous, slightly naive, notions of marriage, hence the ironic overtones of the title, "Family Happiness".
A passage of the book is quoted in the book and film Into the Wild:
"I have lived through much, and now I think I have found what is needed for happiness. A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people to whom it is easy to do good, and who are not accustomed to have it done to them; then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books, music, love for one's neighbor—such is my idea of happiness. And then, on top of all that, you for a mate, and children perhaps—what can more the heart of man desire?"
A passage is also quoted in the book Into the Wild:
|“||I wanted movement and not a calm course of existence. I wanted excitement and danger and the chance to sacrifice myself for my love. I felt in myself a superabundance of energy which found no outlet in our quiet life.”
which had been found highlighted in the book Family Happiness among Chris McCandless's remains.
Theater Atelier Piotr Fomenko in Moscow adapted the novella to the stage. The play premiered in September 2000 and remains part of the theater's repertoire.
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