Death of Ivan Ilyich

Death of Ivan Ilyich

by Leo Tolstoy
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Overview

Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780141023601
Publisher: Viking Penguin
Publication date: 01/28/2006

About the Author

Count Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy displayed an extraordinary duality of character in a life filled with deep contradictions. He was born to an artistocratic Russian family on Sept. 9, 1828. His parents died when he was young, and he was raised by several female relatives. In 1844 he entered the University of Kazan, remaining there only three years. At the age of 23, Tolstoy joined the Russian Army and fought in the Crimean War. While still in the service, his first published story appeared, a largely autobiographical work called Childhood (1852). Tolstoy returned to his estate in 1861 and and established a school for peasant children there. In 1862, he married Sofia Behrs and gradually abandoned his involvement with the school. The next fifteen years he devoted to managing the estate, raising his and Sofia's large family, and writing his two major works, War and Peace (1865-67) and Anna Karenina (1875-77). During the latter part of this fifteen-year period, Tolstoy found himself growing increasingly disenchanted with the teachings of the Russian Orthodox Church. In the ensuing years, Tolstoy formulated for himself a new Christian ideal, the central creed of which involved nonresistance to evil; he also preached against the corrupt evil of the Russian state, of the need for ending all violence, and of the moral perfectibility of man. He continued to write voluminously, primarily nonfiction, but also other works, such as The Death of Ivan Ilyich (1886). In 1910, still unable to reconcile the differences in the lives led by the aristocracy and the simpler existence he craved, Tolstoy left the estate. He soon fell ill and was found dead on a cot in a remote railway station. He was buried on his estate at Yasnaya Pulyana.?

Date of Birth:

September 9, 1828

Date of Death:

November 20, 1910

Place of Birth:

Tula Province, Russia

Place of Death:

Astapovo, Russia

Education:

Privately educated by French and German tutors; attended the University of Kazan, 1844-47

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The Death of Ivan Ilyich 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
CHLukacs More than 1 year ago
This book came to me a year before an event that changed my life. It gave insight & a ringing truth to a cultural history I have inherited. I didn't expect it, but the experience of Ivan Ilyich's very personal journey prepared me with a deeper understanding. I love this book!
Mitton More than 1 year ago
After spending his young life vacillating between responsibility and whores Tolstoy found religion. (Found true religion more accurately. He was Russian Orthodox his entire life until renouncing it for his own version of true faith in Jesus.) The Death of Ivan Ilyich – a novella easily read in an afternoon – was his first published effort after his change in faith. It tells the story of a man who, with no real effort or drive, rises to a mid-level court position, learns to despise his once beloved wife, largely ignores his once adorable children, and spends his time showing his colleagues and neighbors that he is a man of culture and value just like they are. While hanging curtains in his new and ostentatious home, Ilyich falls. Over the next days he feels an ache in his side and develops a metallic taste in his mouth. He agrees to see a doctor, then doctors, and then specialists who fail to ever accurately diagnose his ailment. He knows but will not admit that he is in a downward spiral toward pain and death. Increasingly beset with anger and a feeling that death was never meant for him - not now! - he despises those around him. Doctors, friends, and family are all liars who feign concern but plot their escape to the card table. People avoid him, he thinks, because he reminds them of death, of wasting, of their own demise. His only comfort is his peasant servant, a theme seen through much of Tolstoy’s writing. The last three days of his life are excruciating. Not from pain only but from the nagging emotional ache that he has lived his life wrongly. He sees that he has lived a false life showcasing artifice and selfishness just as those he despises. An hour before dying he feels release realizing that a good life is an authentic life. The peasant life. A life of concern and compassion. His heart turns and he feels love and pity for his family and friends. He sees his death as their release from the burden of his care. But this revelation is largely implied and separates Ilych from pamphleteering. Maybe this is part of Tolstoy’s genius? To let each reader discern their own meaning? Can we live authentically as wealthy people? What good is it to ‘inherit the earth’ if you are poor, weak, and ill? Thirteen years later Tolstoy will publish Resurrection where the themes of Ilych are expanded. The Death of Ivan Ilyich rests comfortably on the same bookshelf with other great philosophical fiction (and isn’t all Russian lit philosophical?). Tolstoy presents the problem, hints at solutions, but raises as many questions as he answers. Modern readers can struggle with the prose and Tolstoy takes time to develop the story. But it is a wonderful and thought provoking read. Can be profitably read and re-read. Four stars.
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Here?
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lauraatsea22 More than 1 year ago
Takes some doing, but it's worth the ride. I can see how it may be considered boring for a modern-day reader, but I found it interesting despite the sometimes long passages. It is a good portrait of life back then and there and the characters are truthful.
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He stepped in and made his way to Alexis. "Hello, I couldn't help but notice your dicomfort. Tell me how to help."
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This isn't his best work.It id very boring.