The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Other Stories

The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Other Stories

by Leo Tolstoy

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'no one pitied him as he would have liked to be pitied' As Ivan Ilyich lies dying he begins to re-evaluate his life, searching for meaning that will make sense of his sufferings. In 'The Death of Ivan Ilyich' and the other works in this volume, Tolstoy conjures characters who, tested to the limit, reveal glorious and unexpected reserves of courage or baseness of a near inhuman kind. Two vivid parables and 'The Forged Coupon', a tale of criminality, explore class relations after the emancipation of the serfs in 1861 and the connection between an ethical life and worldly issues. In 'Master and Workman' Tolstoy creates one of his most gripping dramas about human relationships put to the test in an extreme situation. 'The Death of Ivan Ilyich' is an existential masterpiece, a biting satire that recounts with extraordinary power the final illness and death of a bourgeois lawyer. In his Introduction Andrew Kahn explores Tolstoy's moral concerns and the stylistic features of these late stories, sensitively translated by Nicolas Pasternak Slater. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781420954210
Publisher: Publishing
Publication date: 04/01/2019
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Nicolas Pasternak Slater has translated several works by Boris Pasternak, most recently The Family Correspondence, 1921-1960 (Hoover Press, 2010). For Oxford World's Classics he has translated Lermontov's A Hero of Our Time. Andrew Kahn has written widely on Russian literature. His books include The Cambridge Companion to Pushkin (2006) and Pushkin's Lyric Intelligence (OUP, 2008, pbk 2012). For Oxford World's Classics he has edited Pushkin's The Queen of Spades and Other Stories, Montesquieu's Persian Letters. and Lermontov's A Hero of Our Time.

Date of Birth:

September 9, 1828

Date of Death:

November 20, 1910

Place of Birth:

Tula Province, Russia

Place of Death:

Astapovo, Russia


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

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Excerpted from "The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Other Stories"
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Copyright © 2008 Leo Tolstoy.
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Table of Contents

The Prisoner of the Caucasus
The Diary of a Madman
The Death of Ivan Ilyich
The Kreutzer Sonata
The Devil
Master and Man
Father Sergius 
After the Ball 
The Forged Coupon 
Alyosha the Pot 
Hadji Murat 

Glossary of Caucasian Mountaineer Words

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The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Other Stories 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
maunder on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not a book to read if you are depressed but a powerful story of a man's evaluation of his life as he lies dying.
john257hopper on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A very good collection of short stories, worthy as an introduction to Tolstoy for those who aren't ready to tackle War and Peace or Anna Karenina. They have much to say about the human condition, the nature of love and desire, marriage, family relationships and death, and as such have relevance for readers in many countries and cultures. Family Happiness is probably the least good of the quartet, lacking the passion and drama of the other three stories. It is a study of the changing nature of love in the marriage between a young girl and an older man (though he is only in his late 30s!). The Death of Ivan Ilyich is one I have just read separately, so I did not re-read it in this collection. For the sake of completeness here though: this concerns the thoughts and feelings of a man towards his family and those around him as he gets progressively more ill and is then dying from a wasting disease that sounds like cancer. The opening chapters are quite light-hearted with some ruefully amusing reflections on marriage and attitudes towards ones career, but then the mood becomes much darker and he ends being cynical about his family, seeing them as wishing his death to come sooner so they can be free of the burden of caring for him. The Kreutzer Sonata is a very powerful story about the breakdown of a marriage, with some very advanced for the time (1889) views on how marriages evolve and how couples can grow to take each other for granted and eventually become actively hostile without wanting to grow apart. Tolstoy's postscript, published following the banning of the story in Russia and elsewhere, and concerning the moral superiority of celibacy, somewhat detracts from the dramatic impact of the ending, though. The Devil is a powerful tale about how a nobleman's passion for the object of a former fling with a peasant wife destroys his seemingly happy marriage through obsession. There are two endings, the published one where he kills himself and the alternative one where he kills the object of his obsession. An excellent collection, some of the best Russian literature of its type.
hampusforev on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Wow... This is such an unpleasant and disturbing read. In the Keutzer Sonata we've come lightyears, it would seem, from the Tolstoy I thought I knew. The Death of Ivan Ilych is as brilliant as anything else, but the Keutzer Sonata is the taint of Tolstoy's entire career in my opinion. Brilliant, in purely aesthetical terms, as always with Tolstoy, but the beliefs espoused in this novella (obviously Tolstoy's own) is so far removed from todays and seem so harsh and unrelenting that it becomes almost unbearable. I don't know what to think of it all. I loved Ivan Ilych so much that I would like to give it something beyond perfection, but felt so repulsed by the sonata that it rocked the entire pedestal upon which I had placed Tolstoy. It might just keel over...
SanctiSpiritus on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An excellent, soulful book in the vein of The Trial, and Crime and Punishment. Vladimir Nabokov sums my views of this Novella quite well.In his lectures on Russian Literature Russian born Novelist and critic Vladimir Nabokov argues that, for Tolstoy, a sinful life is (such as Ivan's was), moral death. Therefore death, the return of the soul to God is, for Tolstoy, moral life . To quote Nabokov: "The Tolstoyan formula is: Ivan lived a bad life and since the bad life is nothing but the death of the soul, then Ivan lived a living death; and since beyond death is God's living light, then Ivan died into a new life- Life with a capital L."(Nabokov, Vladimir Vladimirovich: Lectures On Russain Literature pg.237: Harcourt Edition)
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I liked the book a lot. It was a sad story about how a man died but they never told what he died of because they never knew. I loved how they gave his feelings and just didn't leave you in blind about them. It was interesting how they didn't have a fairy tale ending. That is always nice when it is an ending as it was. I haven't read the other two stories in the book, but I am sure they are just as well written.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Was ok not that big of a fan. This book is mainly about death.
Robyn_hood More than 1 year ago
Ivan Ilyich must take stock of his life as he slowly dies. Most of his life, he has wasted on worrying over needless things - nice clothes, high society, the right house - to realize that it all meant nothing. I had always shied away from Tolstoy fearing that he was too overwhelming for me to read, but I found this existential novella compelling and deeply moving. The story moves quickly for his life had little substance; in fact, his fall was probably the most significant thing that had ever occurred. The novella picks up as he begins to suffer, and as he slowly comes to an epiphany about the meaning of life. This story lingers with me, and it reminds us not to whittle away our on the things that matter least. Everyman...we can't take our goods with us to the grave. We can take our good deeds and good hearts.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The first story in this bok is what I've read so far, it's great! I love Tolstoy now! 'Happy Ever After' is depressing but sadly beautiful in it's own way. The characters are real and you really want to hit them sometimes (or Marya any way!)!