The Death of Ivan Ilych

Leo Tolstoy

The Death of Ivan Ilych, by Leo Tolstoy - click to see full size image

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The Death of Ivan Ilych is a novella by Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, first published in 1886. It tells the story of a high court judge in 19th-century Russia, and is considered to be one of the best novellas ever written. The title character, Ivan Ilyich works in the Court of Justice and is highly thought of. After discovering he is suffering from a terminal illness, Ivan at first tries to find a remedy but when that, and all else, fails, he ends up in bed. There, he contemplates his own mortality, whilst also dealing with his (mostly) unsympathetic family. For a while, he gets stuck on the idea that he didn't deserve the suffering he is going through, because he led a good life. But as time progresses, and he finds comfort in the company of his servant boy, Gerasim, he comes to see that there are two separate lives one can lead - the artificial one, which makes people fear death and which is marked by self-interest, and the authentic one, which is marked by compassion. Written shortly after Tolstoy's religious conversion of the late 1870s, The Death of Ivan Ilych is seen as one of the masterpieces of his late fiction.

This book has 22,404 words, 40 pages in the PDF version, and was originally published in 1886. This is a translation by Louise and Aylmer Maude.

Production notes: This ebook of The Death of Ivan Ilych was published by Global Grey on the 31st March 2021, and updated on the 19th July 2023. The artwork used for the cover is 'N. A. Nekrasov in the Period of "The Last Songs"' by Ivan Kramskoi.

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