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The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy

The Death of Ivan Ilyich (1886)

by Leo Tolstoy

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (73)  Dutch (4)  Spanish (3)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Portuguese (1)  Italian (1)  Norwegian (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Danish (1)  French (1)  All languages (87)
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This is not my favorite Tolstoy, but I enjoyed it. ( )
  Amelia1989 | Jun 10, 2019 |
Short, dark and pretty good.
  JoshSapan | May 29, 2019 |
Bought and read this book over the weekend in Montreal. I was really enchanted by the portrayal of Ivan's decline and death, being so detailed. I really empathize with his struggle to understand death as a thing that truly applies to / effects him. The descriptive quality (as noted by many other readers) of Tolstoy's prose was readily apparent, and I enjoyed it immensely. For sure, this is one that begs to be re-read. I'm especially interested in revisiting the 1st chapter, which is from the perspective of his "friends" who, greedy for his social position, callously snub his funeral and bereaved wife. Highly recommended for those interested in getting into Russian lit since it is so short and sweet. ( )
  jakebornheimer | Mar 27, 2019 |
The subject of this short classic is the process of dying and finally, acceptance of death. It's a look into the mind of a dying man who had lived an ordinary life as a high-court judge, had a family and friends, and had not given much thought about dying some day. After being ill for a long time, he realizes that he will never get well again and uses the time to reflect and question how well he lived his life. Was it meaningful? He struggles with redemption and forgiveness as all of us would in his situation.

I felt it was depressing about Ivan's agonizing end. The novel was written in 1886 and was easy to read. Leo Tolstoy put lots of meaning into a short novel and gave me plenty to think about. ( )
  pegmcdaniel | Feb 26, 2019 |
This novella opens with a scene reminiscent of the one shown to Scrooge by the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come: Ivan Ilyich has died, and his friends, colleagues, and relations gather for the funeral, but also to advance their own interests. Who will be promoted into his old position? Can his wife wrangle a better pension out of the government? And the weekly card game will go on as scheduled, won’t it? The reader then gets a survey of Ivan’s life, from school days, to married life, through career advancements, and through the illness that eventually leads to his death. There’s a lot of focus on the big questions: why death, and why pain? Did Ivan lead the life he was meant to lead? What if he got it all wrong?

One gets the sense that Tolstoy was working through his thoughts on these matters. It would be silly to say that I “enjoyed” this book, but I appreciated it (though, when it comes to the Russians, I’ll take Dostoyevsky over Tolstoy any day). It’s a big subject for such a small volume; I’m glad I finally read it, though I probably won’t read it again. ( )
  foggidawn | Nov 12, 2018 |
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The light ridicule with which it commences and the black horror in which it terminates... are alike suggestive of the Thackeray of Russia.
added by Shortride | editThe New York Times (pay site)

» Add other authors (77 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tolstoy, Leoprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Blythe, RonaldIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bremer, GeertAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Edmonds, RosemaryTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eekman, T.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prebble, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Solotaroff, LynnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In the great building of the Law Courts, during an interval in the hearing of the Melvinsky affair, the members of the Court and the public prosecutor gathered together in Ivan Yegorovich Shebek's private room, and the conversation turned on the celebrated Krasovsky case.
(the Rosemary Edwards translation)
Information from the Catalan Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
"Jo no seré : què hi haurà aleshores?.." sobre la mort i el que passara desprès (cap v)
Cap vii. Sobre la mentida:"Aquesta mentida al seu voltant i al seu mateix interior fou el que més va anar enverinant..." (s ha de mentir al moribund sobre la seva mort?).Al papà no li vam dir la veritat.
Quin es el.patiment moral que té? Que s adona que no ha viscut d una manera com calia? (Ca xi)
Al final es reconv ilu a amb la vida i la mort? (Cap (cap xii)
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This edition also contains "Maître et Serviteur" and "Trois Morts"
Please note that this work is only for "The Death of Ivan Ilyich" only, not for any work with any other stories.
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Book description
This is a classic book discussing the difference between life and death and a substantial way of living versus a frivolous way of living. In the frivolous way of living, life is materialistic and self-centered. In the substantial way of living, life includes real emotion such as remorse and sympathy.
The climax of the story is when Ivan Ilyich asks God or empty space why he has been suffering. He actually stops and listens for an answer and gets one. It is simply, "becuase". And that is enough of an answer for Ivan Ilyich. Tolstoy is answering the question that most people ask about suffering with the simple answer of "because". He does not make excuses, does not try to reason it out. He simply states that there is suffering because. I think this is very profound.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553210351, Mass Market Paperback)

Hailed as one of the world's supreme masterpieces on the subject of death and dying, The Death of Ivan Ilyich is the story of a worldly careerist, a high court judge who has never given the inevitability of his death so much as a passing thought. But one day death announces itself to him, and to his shocked surprise he is brought face to face with his own mortality. How, Tolstoy asks, does an unreflective man confront his one and only moment of truth?

This short novel was the artistic culmination of a profound spiritual crisis in Tolstoy's life, a nine-year period following the publication of Anna Karenina during which he wrote not a word of fiction. A thoroughly absorbing and, at times, terrifying glimpse into the abyss of death, it is also a strong testament to the possibility of finding spiritual salvation.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:06 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Ivan Ilych, a peaceful public official in the Russian provinces, has his life permanently changed by a serious illness which no doctor can accurately diagnose. Hailed as one of the world's supreme masterpieces on the subject of death and dying, The Death of Ivan Ilyich is the story of a worldly careerist, a high court judge who has never given the inevitability of his death so much as a passing thought. But one day death announces itself to him, and to his shocked surprise he is brought face to face with his own mortality. From world-renowned novelist Leo Tolstoy comes this story of a worldly careerist who must consider death for the first time and examine his own mortality. With a superb translation by Lynn Solotaroff, it features an introduction by Ronald Blythe.… (more)

» see all 19 descriptions

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