Quotes from work
The Death of Ivan Ilyich

Leo TolstoyOriginal title Смерть Ивана Ильича (Russian, 1886)

The Death of Ivan Ilyich , first published in 1886, is a novella by Leo Tolstoy, considered one of the masterpieces of his late fiction, written shortly after his religious conversion of the late 1870s."Usually classed among the best examples of the novella", The Death of Ivan Ilyich tells the story of a high-court judge in 19th-century Russia and his sufferings and death from a terminal illness.


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„Ivan Ilych saw that he was dying, and he was in continual despair.“

—  Leo Tolstoy, The Death of Ivan Ilyich

Source: The Death of Ivan Ilyich (1886), Ch. VI
Context: Ivan Ilych saw that he was dying, and he was in continual despair. In the depth of his heart he knew he was dying, but not only was he not accustomed to the thought, he simply did not and could not grasp it. The syllogism he had learnt from Kiesewetter's Logic: "Caius is a man, men are mortal, therefore Caius is mortal," had always seemed to him correct as applied to Caius, but certainly not as applied to himself. That Caius — man in the abstract — was mortal, was perfectly correct, but he was not Caius, not an abstract man, but a creature quite, quite separate from all others.

Leo Tolstoy photo
Leo Tolstoy photo

„Ivan Ilych's life had been most simple and most ordinary and therefore most terrible.“

—  Leo Tolstoy, The Death of Ivan Ilyich

Source: The Death of Ivan Ilyich (1886), Ch. II
Source: The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Other Stories

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