61 pages 2 hours read

Leo Tolstoy

The Death of Ivan Ilyich

Fiction | Novella | Adult | Published in 1886

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The Death of Ivan Ilyich

  • Genre: Fiction; novella
  • Originally Published: 1886
  • Reading Level/Interest: College/Adult
  • Structure/Length: 12 chapters; approx. 86 pages; approx. 2 hours, 45 minutes on audio
  • Protagonist and Central Conflict: Ivan Ilyich, an esteemed judge, falls while hanging curtains and suffers a pain in his side. As his pain worsens, so does his relationship with his family. Diagnosed with a terminal illness, Ivan must contend with his own mortality and whether he has lived a good and fulfilling life.
  • Potential Sensitivity Issues: Death and dying     

Leo Tolstoy, Author

  • Bio: 1828-1910; Russian writer regarded as one of the greatest authors of all time; born to a family of Russian nobility; fourth of five children; studied law and Asian languages at Kazan University but did not graduate; served as an artillery officer during the Crimean War; married Sophia Andreevna Behrs in 1862; had 13 children, 8 surviving to adulthood; profound influence on the development of Christian anarchist thought and that being a Christian requires pacifism; nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature every year from 1902-1906 and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1901, 1902, and 1909; died at age 82 of pneumonia; funeral procession was attended by thousands of peasants who lined the streets
  • Other Works: Childhood (1852); Family Happiness (1859); War and Peace (1869); Anna Karenina (1878); Resurrection (1899)