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The Death of Ivan Ilyich (1886)

by Leo Tolstoy

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,878962,189 (3.97)50
Hailed as one of the world's supreme masterpieces on the subject of death and dying, The Death of Ivan Ilyichis 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 Kareninaduring 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. From the Paperback edition.… (more)

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English (80)  Dutch (4)  Spanish (4)  French (2)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Portuguese (1)  Italian (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Danish (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (96)
Showing 1-5 of 80 (next | show all)
death of everyman, tragedy of unexamined life
  ritaer | Jun 6, 2020 |
When it comes to a simple theme, it can't get much better than this. Death? Meet Ivan Ilych.

But what Tolstoy brings to the table is an outline of his life, his propriety, his career, and his failings as a husband and father (though he would never call it such) and the realization that he, perforce, must die.

Enter pain, existential horror, and bafflement.

Very Russian. Very universal. And extremely well-written.

And for the man who wrote War and Peace? SO SHORT! :) ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
I read a few reviews after finishing the book. I'd be very, very cautious about drawing linear and simple 'moralistic' messages from Tolstoy; he is far, far too subtle (nuanced) a writer for that.
I mean it's the closest he ever gets to existentialism. ( )
  iSatyajeet | Mar 29, 2020 |
El argumento gira en torno a Ivan Ilich, un pequeño burócrata que fue educado en su infancia con las convicciones de poder alcanzar un puesto dentro del gobierno del Imperio Zarista. Poco a poco sus ideales se van cumpliendo, pero se dará cuenta de que no ha servido de nada dicho esfuerzo; al llegar cerca de la posición que siempre ha soñado, se encontrará con el dilema de descifrar el significado de tanto sacrificio, y de valorar también el malestar reinante en el pequeño entorno familiar que se ha construido. Un día, se golpea al reparar unas cortinas y comienza a sentir un dolor que lo aqueja constantemente. Dicho golpe es totalmente simbólico: sube a una escalera y cuando está en lo más alto -no sólo en la escalera, sino en el estatus que ha tomado en su posición social- cae, y ahí comenzará su declive. Poco a poco, Ivan Ilich irá muriendo, y planteándose el porqué de esa muerte y de esa soledad que lo corroe, a pesar de estar rodeado de personas en el mundo aristocrático y comme il faut (correctamente) que él mismo ha construido.
  mirthasotelo | Mar 23, 2020 |
Full review to come! ( )
  Floratina | Dec 7, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 80 (next | show all)
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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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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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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Urban Romantics

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