The Russian and English texts of “The Death of Ivan Ilich” Presented Side by Side

Chapter 2

Прошедшая история жизни Ивана Ильича была самая простая и обыкновенная и самая ужасная.[1]
Ivan Ilych’s life had been most simple and most ordinary and therefore most terrible.[1]
Иван Ильич умер сорока пяти лет, членом Судебной палаты. Он был сын чиновника, сделавшего в Петербурге по разным министерствам и департаментам ту карьеру, которая доводит людей до того положения, в котором хотя и ясно оказывается, что исполнять какую-нибудь существенную должность они не годятся, они все-таки по своей долгой и прошедшей службе и своим чинам не могут быть выгнаны и потому получают выдуманные фиктивные места и нефиктивные тысячи, от шести до десяти, с которыми они и доживают до глубокой старости.
He had been a member of the Court of Justice, and died at the age of forty-five. His father had been an official who after serving in various ministries and departments in Petersburg had made the sort of career which brings men to positions from which by reason of their long service they cannot be dismissed, though they are obviously unfit to hold any responsible position, and for whom therefore posts are specially created, which though fictitious carry salaries of from six to ten thousand rubles that are not fictitious, and in receipt of which they live on to a great age.
Таков был тайный советник, ненужный член разных ненужных учреждений, Илья Ефимович Головин.
Such was the Privy Councillor and superfluous member of various superfluous institutions, Ilya Epimovich Golovin.
У него было три сына, Иван Ильич был второй сын. Старший делал такую же карьеру, как и отец, только по другому министерству, и уж близко подходил к тому служебному возрасту, при котором получается эта инерция жалованья. Третий сын был неудачник. Он в разных местах везде напортил себе и теперь служил по железным дорогам: и его отец, и братья, и особенно их жены не только не любили встречаться с ним, но без крайней необходимости и не вспоминали о его существовании. Сестра была за бароном Грефом, таким же петербургским чиновником, как и его тесть. Иван Ильич был le phenix de la famille, как говорили.[2] Он был не такой холодный и аккуратный, как старший, и не такой отчаянный, как меньшой. Он был середина между ними – умный, живой, приятный и приличный человек.[3] Воспитывался он вместе с меньшим братом в Правоведении. Меньшой не кончил и был выгнан из пятого класса, Иван же Ильич хорошо кончил курс. В Правоведении уже он был тем, чем он был впоследствии всю свою жизнь: человеком способным, весело добродушным и общительным, но строго исполняющим то, что он считал своим долгом; долгом же он своим считал все то, что считалось таковым наивысше поставленными людьми.[4] Он не был заискивающим ни мальчиком, ни потом взрослым человеком, но у него с самых молодых лет было то, что он, как муха к свету, тянулся к наивысше поставленным в свете людям, усваивал себе их приемы, их взгляды на жизнь и с ними устанавливал дружеские отношения. Все увлечения детства и молодости прошли для него, не оставив больших следов; он отдавался и чувственности и тщеславию, и – под конец, в высших классах – либеральности, но все в известных пределах, которые верно указывало ему его чувство.
He had three sons, of whom Ivan Ilych was the second. The eldest son was following in his father’s footsteps only in another department, and was already approaching that stage in the service at which a similar sinecure would be reached. The third son was a failure. He had ruined his prospects in a number of positions and was now serving in the railway department. His father and brothers, and still more their wives, not merely disliked meeting him, but avoided remembering his existence unless compelled to do so. His sister had married Baron Greff, a Petersburg official of her father’s type. Ivan Ilych was le phenix de la famille as people said.[2] He was neither as cold and formal as his elder brother nor as wild as the younger, but was a happy mean between them — an intelligent polished, lively and agreeable man.[3] He had studied with his younger brother at the School of Law, but the latter had failed to complete the course and was expelled when he was in the fifth class. Ivan Ilych finished the course well. Even when he was at the School of Law he was just what he remained for the rest of his life: a capable, cheerful, good-natured, and sociable man, though strict in the fulfillment of what he considered to be his duty: and he considered his duty to be what was so considered by those in authority.[4] Neither as a boy nor as a man was he a toady, but from early youth was by nature attracted to people of high station as a fly is drawn to the light, assimilating their ways and views of life and establishing friendly relations with them. All the enthusiasms of childhood and youth passed without leaving much trace on him; he succumbed to sensuality, to vanity, and finally, in the upper classes, to liberalism, but always within limits which his instinct unfailingly indicated to him as correct.
Были в Правоведении совершены им поступки, которые прежде представлялись ему большими гадостями и внушали ему отвращение к самому себе, в то время, как он совершал их; но впоследствии, увидав, что поступки эти были совершаемы и высоко стоящими людьми и не считались ими дурными, он не то что признал их хорошими, но совершенно забыл их и нисколько не огорчался воспоминаниями о них.
At school he had done things which had formerly seemed to him very horrid and made him feel disgusted with himself when he did them; but when later on he saw that such actions were done by people of good position and that they did not regard them as wrong, he was able not exactly to regard them as right, but to forget about them entirely or not be at all troubled at remembering them.
Выйдя из Правоведения десятым классом[5] и получив от отца деньги на обмундировку, Иван Ильич заказал себе платье у Шармера,[6] повесил на брелоки медальку с надписью: respice finem,[7] простился с принцем и воспитателем, пообедал с товарищами у Донона[8] и с новыми модными чемоданом, бельем, платьем, бритвенными и туалетными принадлежностями и пледом, заказанными и купленными в самых лучших магазинах, уехал в провинцию на место чиновника особых поручений губернатора, которое доставил ему отец.
Having graduated from the School of Law and qualified for the tenth rank of the civil service,[5] and having received money from his father for his equipment, Ivan Ilych ordered himself clothes at Scharmer’s,[6] the fashionable tailor, hung a medallion inscribed respice finem[7] on his watch-chain, took leave of his professor and the prince who was patron of the school, had a farewell dinner with his comrades at Donon’s first-class restaurant,[8] and with his new and fashionable portmanteau, linen, clothes, shaving and other toilet appliances, and a travelling rug, all purchased at the best shops, he set off for one of the provinces where through his father’s influence, he had been attached to the governor as an official for special service.
В провинции Иван Ильич сразу устроил себе такое же легкое и приятное положение, каково было его положение в Правоведении. Он служил, делал карьеру и вместе с тем приятно и прилично веселился; изредка он ездил по поручению начальства в уезды, держал себя с достоинством и с высшими и с низшими и с точностью и неподкупной честностью, которой не мог не гордиться, исполнял возложенные на него поручения, преимущественно по делам раскольников.[9]
In the province Ivan Ilych soon arranged as easy and agreeable a position for himself as he had had at the School of Law. He performed his official task, made his career, and at the same time amused himself pleasantly and decorously. Occasionally he paid official visits to country districts where he behaved with dignity both to his superiors and inferiors, and performed the duties entrusted to him, which related chiefly to the sectarians,[9] with an exactness and incorruptible honesty of which he could not but feel proud.
В служебных делах он был, несмотря на свою молодость и склонность к легкому веселью, чрезвычайно сдержан, официален и даже строг; но в общественных он был часто игрив и остроумен и всегда добродушен, приличен и bon enfant,[10] как говорил про него его начальник и начальница, у которых он был домашним человеком.
In official matters, despite his youth and taste for frivolous gaiety, he was exceedingly reserved, punctilious, and even severe; but in society he was often amusing and witty, and always good- natured, correct in his manner, and bon enfant,[10] as the governor and his wife — with whom he was like one of the family — used to say of him.
Была в провинции и связь с одной из дам, навязавшейся щеголеватому правоведу; была и модистка; были и попойки с приезжими флигель-адъютантами и поездки в дальнюю улицу после ужина; было и подслуживанье начальнику и даже жене начальника, но все это носило на себе такой высокий тон порядочности, что все это не могло быть называемо дурными словами: все это подходило только под рубрику французского изречения: il faut que jeumesse se passe.[11] Все происходило с чистыми руками, в чистых рубашках, с французскими словами и, главное, в самом высшем обществе, следовательно, с одобрением высоко стоящих людей.
In the province he had an affair with a lady who made advances to the elegant young lawyer, and there was also a milliner; and there were carousals with aides-de-camp who visited the district, and after-supper visits to a certain outlying street of doubtful reputation; and there was too some obsequiousness to his chief and even to his chief’s wife, but all this was done with such a tone of good breeding that no hard names could be applied to it. It all came under the heading of the French saying: Il faut que jeunesse se passe.[11] It was all done with clean hands, in clean linen, with French phrases, and above all among people of the best society and consequently with the approval of people of rank.
Так прослужил Иван Ильич пять лет, и наступила перемена по службе. Явились новые судебные учреждения; нужны были новые люди.
So Ivan Ilych served for five years and then came a change in his official life. The new and reformed judicial institutions were introduced, and new men were needed.
И Иван Ильич стал этим новым человеком.[12]
Ivan Ilych became such a new man.[12]
Ивану Ильичу предложено было место судебного следователя, и Иван Ильич принял его,[13] несмотря на то, что место это было в другой губернии и ему надо было бросить установившиеся отношения и устанавливать новые. Ивана Ильича проводили друзья, сделали группу, поднесли ему серебряную папиросочницу, и он уехал на новое место.
He was offered the post of examining magistrate, and he accepted it[13] though the post was in another province and obliged him to give up the connexions he had formed and to make new ones. His friends met to give him a send-off; they had a group photograph taken and presented him with a silver cigarette-case, and he set off to his new post.
Судебным следователем Иван Ильич был таким же comme il faut’ным, приличным,[14] умеющим отделять служебные обязанности от частной жизни и внушающим общее уважение, каким он был чиновником особых поручений. Сама же служба следователя представляла для Ивана Ильича гораздо более интереса и привлекательности, чем прежняя. В прежней службе приятно было свободной походкой в шармеровском вицмундире пройти мимо трепещущих и ожидающих приема просителей и должностных лиц, завидующих ему, прямо в кабинет начальника и сесть с ним за чай с папиросою; но людей, прямо зависящих от его произвола, было мало. Такие люди были только исправники и раскольники, когда его посылали с поручениями; и он любил учтиво, почти по-товарищески обходиться с такими, зависящими от него, людьми, любил давать чувствовать, что вот он, могущий раздавить, дружески, просто обходится с ними. Таких людей тогда было мало. Теперь же, судебным следователем, Иван Ильич чувствовал, что все, все без исключения, самые важные самодовольные люди – все у него в руках и что ему стоит только написать известные слова на бумаге с заголовком, и этого важного, самодовольного человека приведут к нему в качестве обвиняемого или свидетеля, и он будет, если он не захочет посадить его, стоять перед ним и отвечать на его вопросы. Иван Ильич никогда не злоупотреблял этой своей властью, напротив, старался смягчать выражения ее; но сознание этой власти и возможность смягчать ее составляли для него главный интерес и привлекательность его новой службы. В самой же службе, именно в следствиях, Иван Ильич очень быстро усвоил прием отстранения от себя всех обстоятельств, не касающихся службы, и облечения всякого самого сложного дела в такую форму, при которой бы дело только внешним образом отражалось на бумаге и при котором исключалось совершенно его личное воззрение и, главное, соблюдалась бы вся требуемая формальность.[15] Дело это было новое. И он был один из первых людей, выработавших на практике приложение уставов 1864 года.
As examining magistrate Ivan Ilych was just as comme il faut and decorous a man,[14] inspiring general respect and capable of separating his official duties from his private life, as he had been when acting as an official on special service. His duties now as examining magistrate were far more interesting and attractive than before. In his former position it had been pleasant to wear an undress uniform made by Scharmer, and to pass through the crowd of petitioners and officials who were timorously awaiting an audience with the governor, and who envied him as with free and easy gait he went straight into his chief’s private room to have a cup of tea and a cigarette with him. But not many people had then been directly dependent on him — only police officials and the sectarians when he went on special missions — and he liked to treat them politely, almost as comrades, as if he were letting them feel that he who had the power to crush them was treating them in this simple, friendly way. There were then but few such people. But now, as an examining magistrate, Ivan Ilych felt that everyone without exception, even the most important and self-satisfied, was in his power, and that he need only write a few words on a sheet of paper with a certain heading, and this or that important, self-satisfied person would be brought before him in the role of an accused person or a witness, and if he did not choose to allow him to sit down, would have to stand before him and answer his questions. Ivan Ilych never abused his power; he tried on the contrary to soften its expression, but the consciousness of it and the possibility of softening its effect, supplied the chief interest and attraction of his office. In his work itself, especially in his examinations, he very soon acquired a method of eliminating all considerations irrelevant to the legal aspect of the case, and reducing even the most complicated case to a form in which it would be presented on paper only in its externals, completely excluding his personal opinion of the matter, while above all observing every prescribed formality.[15] The work was new and Ivan Ilych was one of the first men to apply the new Code of 1864.
Перейдя в новый город на место судебного следователя, Иван Ильич сделал новые знакомства, связи, по-новому поставил себя и принял несколько иной тон. Он поставил себя, в некотором достойном отдалении от губернских властей, а избрал лучший круг из судейских и богатых дворян, живших в городе, и принял тон легкого недовольства правительством, умеренной либеральности и цивилизованной гражданственности. При этом, нисколько не изменив элегантности своего туалета, Иван Ильич в новой должности перестал пробривать подбородок и дал свободу бороде расти, где она хочет.
On taking up the post of examining magistrate in a new town, he made new acquaintances and connexions, placed himself on a new footing and assumed a somewhat different tone. He took up an attitude of rather dignified aloofness towards the provincial authorities, but picked out the best circle of legal gentlemen and wealthy gentry living in the town and assumed a tone of slight dissatisfaction with the government, of moderate liberalism, and of enlightened citizenship. At the same time, without at all altering the elegance of his toilet, he ceased shaving his chin and allowed his beard to grow as it pleased.
Жизнь Ивана Ильича и в новом городе сложилась очень приятно: фрондирующее против губернатора общество было дружное и хорошее; жалованья было больше, и немалую приятность в жизни прибавил тогда вист, в который стал играть Иван Ильич, имевший способность играть в карты весело, быстро соображая и очень тонко, так что в общем он всегда был в выигрыше.[16]
Ivan Ilych settled down very pleasantly in this new town. The society there, which inclined towards opposition to the governor was friendly, his salary was larger, and he began to play whist, which he found added not a little to the pleasure of life, for he had a capacity for cards, played good-humouredly, and calculated rapidly and astutely, so that he usually won.[16]
После двух лет службы в новом городе Иван Ильич встретился с своей будущей женой. Прасковья Федоровна Михель была самая привлекательная, умная, блестящая девушка того кружка, в котором вращался Иван Ильич. В числе других забав и отдохновений от трудов следователя Иван Ильич установил игривые, легкие отношения с Прасковьей Федоровной.
After living there for two years he met his future wife, Praskovya Fedorovna Mikhel, who was the most attractive, clever, and brilliant girl of the set in which he moved, and among other amusements and relaxations from his labours as examining magistrate, Ivan Ilych established light and playful relations with her.
Иван Ильич, будучи чиновником особых поручений, вообще танцевал; судебным же следователем он уже танцевал как исключение. Он танцевал уже в том смысле, что хоть и по новым учреждениям и в пятом классе, но если дело коснется танцев, то могу доказать, что в этом роде я могу лучше других. Так, он изредка в конце вечера танцевал с Прасковьей Федоровной и преимущественно во время этих танцев и победил Прасковью Федоровну.[17] Она влюбилась в него. Иван Ильич не имел ясного, определенного намерения жениться, но когда девушка влюбилась в него, он задал себе этот вопрос: “В самом деле, отчего же и не жениться?” – сказал он себе.
While he had been an official on special service he had been accustomed to dance, but now as an examining magistrate it was exceptional for him to do so. If he danced now, he did it as if to show that though he served under the reformed order of things, and had reached the fifth official rank, yet when it came to dancing he could do it better than most people. So at the end of an evening he sometimes danced with Praskovya Fedorovna, and it was chiefly during these dances that he captivated her.[17] She fell in love with him. Ivan Ilych had at first no definite intention of marrying, but when the girl fell in love with him he said to himself: “Really, why shouldn’t I marry?”
Девица Прасковья Федоровна была хорошего дворянского рода, недурна; было маленькое состояньице. Иван Ильич мог рассчитывать на более блестящую партию, но и эта была партия хорошая. У Ивана Ильича было его жалованье, у ней, он надеялся, будет столько же. Хорошее родство; она – милая, хорошенькая и вполне порядочная женщина.[18] Сказать, что Иван Ильич женился потому, что он полюбил свою невесту и нашел в ней сочувствие своим взглядам на жизнь, было бы так же несправедливо, как и сказать то, что он женился потому, что люди его общества одобряли эту партию. Иван Ильич женился по обоим соображениям:[19] он делал приятное для себя, приобретая такую жену, и вместе с тем делал то, что наивысше поставленные люди считали правильным.
Praskovya Fedorovna came of a good family, was not bad looking, and had some little property. Ivan Ilych might have aspired to a more brilliant match, but even this was good. He had his salary, and she, he hoped, would have an equal income. She was well connected, and was a sweet, pretty, and thoroughly correct young woman.[18] To say that Ivan Ilych married because he fell in love with Praskovya Fedorovna and found that she sympathized with his views of life would be as incorrect as to say that he married because his social circle approved of the match. He was swayed by both these considerations:[19] the marriage gave him personal satisfaction, and at the same time it was considered the right thing by the most highly placed of his associates.
И Иван Ильич женился.
So Ivan Ilych got married.
Самый процесс женитьбы и первое время брачной жизни, с супружескими ласками, новой мебелью, новой посудой, новым бельем, до беременности жены прошло очень хорошо, так что Иван Ильич начинал уже думать, что женитьба не только не нарушит того характера жизни легкой, приятной, веселой и всегда приличной и одобряемой обществом, который Иван Ильич считал свойственным жизни вообще, но еще усугубит его. Но тут, с первых месяцев беременности жены, явилось что-то такое новое, неожиданное, неприятное, тяжелое и неприличное, чего нельзя было ожидать и от чего никак нельзя было отделаться.[20]
The preparations for marriage and the beginning of married life, with its conjugal caresses, the new furniture, new crockery, and new linen, were very pleasant until his wife became pregnant — so that Ivan Ilych had begun to think that marriage would not impair the easy, agreeable, gay and always decorous character of his life, approved of by society and regarded by himself as natural, but would even improve it. But from the first months of his wife’s pregnancy, something new, unpleasant, depressing, and unseemly, and from which there was no way of escape, unexpectedly showed itself.[20]
Жена без всяких поводов, как казалось Ивану Ильичу, de gaité de coeur,[21] как он говорил себе, начала нарушать приятность и приличие жизни: она без всякой причины ревновала его, требовала от него ухаживанья за собой, придиралась ко всему и делала ему неприятные и грубые сцены.
His wife, without any reason — de gaieté de coeur[21] as Ivan Ilych expressed it to himself — began to disturb the pleasure and propriety of their life. She began to be jealous without any cause, expected him to devote his whole attention to her, found fault with everything, and made coarse and ill-mannered scenes.
Сначала Иван Ильич надеялся освободиться от неприятности этого положения тем самым легким и приличным отношением к жизни, которое выручало его прежде, – он пробовал игнорировать расположение духа жены, продолжал жить по-прежнему легко и приятно: приглашал к себе друзей составлять партию, пробовал сам уезжать в клуб или к приятелям. Но жена один раз с такой энергией начала грубыми словами ругать его и так упорно продолжала ругать его всякий раз, когда он не исполнял ее требований, очевидно, твердо решившись не переставать до тех пор, пока он не покорится, то есть не будет сидеть дома и не будет так же, как и она, тосковать, что Иван Ильич ужаснулся. Он понял, что супружеская жизнь – по крайней мере, с его женою – не содействует всегда приятностям и приличию жизни, а, напротив, часто нарушает их, и что поэтому необходимо оградить себя от этих нарушений. И Иван Ильич стал отыскивать средства для этого. Служба было одно, что импонировало Прасковье Федоровне, и Иван Ильич посредством службы и вытекающих из нее обязанностей стал бороться с женой, выгораживая свой независимый мир.[22]
At first Ivan Ilych hoped to escape from the unpleasantness of this state of affairs by the same easy and decorous relation to life that had served him heretofore: he tried to ignore his wife’s disagreeable moods, continued to live in his usual easy and pleasant way, invited friends to his house for a game of cards, and also tried going out to his club or spending his evenings with friends. But one day his wife began upbraiding him so vigorously, using such coarse words, and continued to abuse him every time he did not fulfil her demands, so resolutely and with such evident determination not to give way till he submitted — that is, till he stayed at home and was bored just as she was — that he became alarmed. He now realized that matrimony — at any rate with Praskovya Fedorovna — was not always conducive to the pleasures and amenities of life, but on the contrary often infringed both comfort and propriety, and that he must therefore entrench himself against such infringement. And Ivan Ilych began to seek for means of doing so. His official duties were the one thing that imposed upon Praskovya Fedorovna, and by means of his official work and the duties attached to it he began struggling with his wife to secure his own independence.[22]
С рождением ребенка, попытками кормления и различными неудачами при этом, с болезнями действительными и воображаемыми ребенка и матери, в которых от Ивана Ильича требовалось участие, но в которых он ничего не мог понять, потребность для Ивана Ильича выгородить себе мир вне семьи стала еще более настоятельна.
With the birth of their child, the attempts to feed it and the various failures in doing so, and with the real and imaginary illnesses of mother and child, in which Ivan Ilych’s sympathy was demanded but about which he understood nothing, the need of securing for himself an existence outside his family life became still more imperative.
По, мере того как жена становилась раздражительнее и требовательнее, и Иван Ильич все более и более переносил центр тяжести своей жизни в службу. Он стал более любить службу и стал более честолюбив, чем он был прежде.
As his wife grew more irritable and exacting and Ivan Ilych transferred the center of gravity of his life more and more to his official work, so did he grow to like his work better and became more ambitious than before.
Очень скоро, не далее как через год после женитьбы, Иван Ильич понял, что супружеская жизнь,[23] представляя некоторые удобства в жизни, в сущности есть очень сложное и тяжелое дело, по отношению которого, для того чтобы исполнять свой долг, то есть вести приличную, одобряемую обществом жизнь, нужно выработать – определенное отношение, как и к службе.[24]
Very soon, within a year of his wedding, Ivan Ilych had realized that marriage,[23] though it may add some comforts to life, is in fact a very intricate and difficult affair towards which in order to perform one’s duty, that is, to lead a decorous life approved of by society, one must adopt a definite attitude just as towards one’s official duties.[24]
И такое отношение к супружеской жизни выработал себе Иван Ильич. Он требовал от семейной жизни только тех удобств домашнего обеда, хозяйки, постели, которые она могла дать ему, и, главное, того приличия внешних форм, которые определялись общественным мнением. В остальном же он искал веселой приятности и, если находил их, был очень благодарен; если же встречал отпор и ворчливость, то тотчас же уходил в свой отдельный, выгороженный им мир службы и в нем находил приятности.
And Ivan Ilych evolved such an attitude towards married life. He only required of it those conveniences — dinner at home, housewife, and bed — which it could give him, and above all that propriety of external forms required by public opinion. For the rest he looked for lighthearted pleasure and propriety, and was very thankful when he found them, but if he met with antagonism and querulousness he at once retired into his separate fenced-off world of official duties, where he found satisfaction.
Ивана Ильича ценили как хорошего служаку, и через три года сделали товарищем прокурора. Новые обязанности, важность их, возможность привлечь к суду и посадить всякого в острог публичность речей; успех, который в этом деле имел Иван Ильич, – все это еще более привлекало его к службе.[25]
Ivan Ilych was esteemed a good official, and after three years was made Assistant Public Prosecutor. His new duties, their importance, the possibility of indicting and imprisoning anyone he chose, the publicity his speeches received, and the success he had in all these things, made his work still more attractive.[25]
Пошли дети. Жена становилась все ворчливее и сердитее, но выработанные Иваном Ильичом отношения к домашней жизни делали его почти непроницаемым для ее ворчливости.[26]
More children came. His wife became more and more querulous and ill-tempered, but the attitude Ivan Ilych had adopted towards his home life rendered him almost impervious to her grumbling.[26]
После семи лет службы в одном городе Ивана Ильича перевели на место прокурора в другую губернию. Они переехали, денег было мало, и жене не понравилось то место, куда они переехали. Жалованье было хоть и больше прежнего, но жизнь была дороже;[27] кроме того, умерло двое детей, и потому семейная жизнь стала еще неприятнее для Ивана Ильича.[28]
After seven years’ service in that town he was transferred to another province as Public Prosecutor. They moved, but were short of money and his wife did not like the place they moved to. Though the salary was higher the cost of living was greater,[27] besides which two of their children died and family life became still more unpleasant for him.[28]
Прасковья Федоровна во всех случавшихся невзгодах в этом новом месте жительства упрекала мужа. Большинство предметов разговора между мужем и женой, особенно воспитание детей, наводило на вопросы, по которым были воспоминания ссор, и ссоры всякую минуту готовы были разгораться. Оставались только те редкие периоды влюбленности, которые находили на супругов, но продолжались недолго. Это были островки, на которые они приставали на время, но потом опять пускались в море затаенной вражды, выражавшейся в отчуждении друг от друга. Отчуждение это могло бы огорчать Ивана Ильича, если бы он считал, что это не должно так быть, но он теперь уже признавал это положение не только нормальным, но и целью всей деятельности в семье. Цель его состояла в том, чтобы все больше и больше освобождать себя от этих неприятностей и придать им характер безвредности и приличия; и он достигал этого тем, что он все меньше и меньше проводил время с семьею, а когда был вынужден это делать, то старался обеспечивать свое положение присутствием посторонних лиц.[29] Главное же то, что у Ивана Ильича была служба. В служебном мире сосредоточился для него весь интерес жизни. И интерес этот поглощал его.[30] Сознание своей власти, возможности погубить всякого человека, которого он захочет погубить, важность, даже внешняя, при его входе в суд и встречах с подчиненными, успех свой перед высшими и подчиненными и, главное, мастерство свое ведения дел, которое он чувствовал, – все это радовало его и вместе с беседами с товарищами, обедами и вистом наполняло его жизнь. Так что вообще жизнь Ивана Ильича продолжала идти так, как он считал, что она должна была идти: приятно и прилично.
Praskovya Fedorovna blamed her husband for every inconvenience they encountered in their new home. Most of the conversations between husband and wife, especially as to the children’s education, led to topics which recalled former disputes, and these disputes were apt to flare up again at any moment. There remained only those rare periods of amorousness which still came to them at times but did not last long. These were islets at which they anchored for a while and then again set out upon that ocean of veiled hostility which showed itself in their aloofness from one another. This aloofness might have grieved Ivan Ilych had he considered that it ought not to exist, but he now regarded the position as normal, and even made it the goal at which he aimed in family life. His aim was to free himself more and more from those unpleasantnesses and to give them a semblance of harmlessness and propriety. He attained this by spending less and less time with his family, and when obliged to be at home he tried to safeguard his position by the presence of outsiders.[29] The chief thing however was that he had his official duties. The whole interest of his life now centered in the official world and that interest absorbed him.[30] The consciousness of his power, being able to ruin anybody he wished to ruin, the importance, even the external dignity of his entry into court, or meetings with his subordinates, his success with superiors and inferiors, and above all his masterly handling of cases, of which he was conscious — all this gave him pleasure and filled his life, together with chats with his colleagues, dinners, and bridge. So that on the whole Ivan Ilych’s life continued to flow as he considered it should do — pleasantly and properly.
Так прожил он еще семь лет. Старшей дочери было уже шестнадцать лет, еще один ребенок умер, и оставался мальчик-гимназист, предмет раздора. Иван Ильич хотел отдать его в Правоведение, а Прасковья Федоровна назло ему отдала в гимназию. Дочь училась дома и росла хорошо, мальчик тоже учился недурно.
So things continued for another seven years. His eldest daughter was already sixteen, another child had died, and only one son was left, a schoolboy and a subject of dissension. Ivan Ilych wanted to put him in the School of Law, but to spite him Praskovya Fedorovna entered him at the High School. The daughter had been educated at home and had turned out well: the boy did not learn badly either.

  1. Thus begins the second chapter of the novel, with one of the most famous lines in Russian literature. A literal translation of the Russian would be "The past history of the life of Ivan Il'ich was most simple and ordinary, and most terrible" ("terrible" in the sense of inspiring terror, absolute fear). In the paragraphs that follow the text is at pains to show that Ivan Ilich was an average, ordinary sort of person. He is middle-aged at his death (in his mid-forties), the middle son of three, an average family man with a medium-sized family and an entirely normal career.
  2. Here is the first of several foreign-language expressions which occur in the text of the novel, many of which contain particular significance. This one (lit. "the phoenix of the family'')normally means "the member of the family most likely to succeed," but it contains a reference to the phoenix, a mythological bird which was periodically reborn from the ashes of its own destruction. It is interesting to note that some lines below the reference to the phoenix we read: "from early youth he was by nature attracted to people of high station as a fly is drawn to the light, assimilating their ways and views of life and establishing friendly relations with them." In the original, this sentence contains a pun on the Russian word 'svet' ('light,' 'world of high society'). We might translate as follows: "he was, like a fly to the light ('svet'), drawn to the people most highly placed in society ('svet')." In Tolstoi's day, of course, the "light" to which flies were drawn was the light of a burning flame in which the insect is immolated. It is suggested that this flame is society itself, which will burn up Ivan Il'ich, but that, like the phoenix, Ivan Il'ich will somehow transcend this fiery end.
  3. The list of adjectives describing Ivan Ilich is particularly appropriate to the description of him as an average or composite sort of person. He is intelligent ("umnyj" -- lit. "having a mind") and lively ("zhivoj" -- lit. "alive"), but also pleasant and proper (the characteristics of his older brother and his father). There is a suggestion here that pleasantness and propriety are somehow antithetical to intelligence and aliveness.
  4. See note 2 for an explanation of the pun on the word "svet" which this sentence contains.
  5. That is, his starting grade in the Civil Service would be at the tenth rank or higher.
  6. Scharmer's was an expensive tailor.
  7. Here is another example of the ironic use of cliche formulas. It will turn out that the one thing that Ivan Ilich absolutely refuses to foresee is his own end, his death.
  8. Donon's was a fashionable restaurant.
  9. Religious sectarians represented special legal problems in the Russian empire because the Russian Orthodox Church was the officially established national church. Thus, religious differences could often lead to legal disputes or prosecutions.
  10. French for "a good fellow, a nice guy" (literally, 'a good child'). Beneath the surface of this foreign-language cliche is the suggestion that "good-heartedness" (lit., goodness of soul) is characteristic of a child but not, perhaps, of an adult. We should pay attention to the way in which Ivan Ilich's behavior changes as he grows older. Just as earlier we learned that his sense of shame as a child was gradually overcome so too the positive qualities of good-heartedness and gaiety will gradually be weakened in favor of more grown up attitudes and pastimes.
  11. French for "a good fellow, a nice guy" (literally, 'a good child'). Beneath the surface of this foreign-language cliche is the suggestion that "good-heartedness" (lit., goodness of soul) is characteristic of a child but not, perhaps, of an adult. We should pay attention to the way in which Ivan Ilich's behavior changes as he grows older. Just as earlier we learned that his sense of shame as a child was gradually overcome so too the positive qualities of good-heartedness and gaiety will gradually be weakened in favor of more grown up attitudes and pastimes. Notice, too, the emphasis on the growing distinction he makes between his official and social behavior; as time goes on that distinction is gradually eroded as the official behavior gradually becomes regnant.
  12. The 1860s saw the institution of major governmental reforms in Russia. The most celebrated of these was the freeing of the serfs from their legal bondage in 1861. Among the most far-reaching (and the most needed) of the reforms was that which attempted to remodel the Russian judiciary system, long marked by incompetence and venality. Ivan Il'ich's ability to conform himself to the proprieties and expectations of this new system is the secret to his continuing career success. He now begins a steady rise in the service of several years duration.
  13. An "examining magistrate"was a junior official of the court charged with conducting a preliminary enquiry into the circumstances and character of a crime and of the person(s) charged with the commission of the crime.
  14. Comme il faut is French for "as one ought to be"; the phrase is a favorite descriptor of vapid and insincere characters throughout his career. One thinks, for example, of such characters in War and Peace as Hippolyte Kuragin, completely comme il faut and almost devoid of intelligence, or Alphonse Karlovich Berg, whose most earnest desire is to be the twin of those highly-placed persons who seem to him to represent comme il faut, a feat he tries to accomplish not simply by furnishing his house in the same style as those he admires but by purchasing furnishings which have actually stood in those houses.
  15. It is interesting to note that Ivan Il'ich's secret of success in his official career resembles very much the attitude which his 'friends' bring to the 'required formality' of attending his funeral. Peter Ivanovich, indeed, does a remarkable job of estranging himself from the unpleasant sensations aroused by his feelings of personal connection with his deceased mentor and of the personal relevance which Ivan Il'ich's countenance and expression seemed to hold for him. Later on, the doctors whom Ivan Ilich consults as his illness progresses will treat him very much as he treats those who come before him in court.
  16. Like Peter Ivanovich and Schwartz in Chapter One, Ivan Ilich becomes a devotee of card-playing. The skills required to play whist (which will be referred to later as "vint," a variation of the game sometimes called "Russian whist" in English) are similar to those which bring him success in his career: his good humor and playful manner, his ability to calculate quickly and astutely, his knowledge of the rules of the game and the proper forms of play. The thrust here is to connect his "life" (Russ. zhizn') with his "official life" (Russ. sluzhba) and to reduce both to triviality by suggesting that involve little more than the artificial conventions of a game of cards.
  17. van Ilich dances as skillfully as he plays cards; as he "won over" Praskovya Fyodorovna with his dancing and by the "playful" relations he established with her, so also does his astute "playing" of cards leave him usually on the "winning" side after a rubber of whist. Playing cards and courting a wife are represented as no more than two varieties of the same activity--and both are equally "pleasant."
  18. The Russian word "porjadochnaja" suggests a variety of meanings. Clearly the surface significance is that Praskovya Fyodorovna exemplifies "good order" (Russ. porjadok) in the choice of a wife. The word may also suggest that she is selected from a whole row (rjad) of similarly acceptable women. The word "porjadochnyj" may also be applied to physical objects to indicate that the object is well suited to its purpose. Praskovya Fyodorovna will make a "serviceable" wife. In short, the implication is really that there is nothing special or individual about her as far as Ivan Ilich is concerned.
  19. The word "soobrazhenija" (Engl. "considerations") forms a verbal link to the earlier comment about Ivan Ilich's ability to "quickly and astutely consider" the best way to play a hand of whist.
  20. Ivan Ilich's relationship with his wife, entered into more because it was suitable and appropriate match than because he loved her, is portrayed as satisfactory and even pleasant as long as it involves only such material considerations as sexual relations, furniture, dishes, and tablecloths. It is disrupted, however, and becomes unpleasant when Praskovya Fyodorovna becomes pregnant, that is, when a new life enters into the situation. Thus, marriage, too, as Ivan Ilich wishes it to be, is suggested to be a form of death in which there is no place for life. By now it has already become clear that the story of the life of Ivan Ilich is really the story of his steady approach toward death. In the midst of his successful "life," real life is already a devastating threat. Later in this same passage the pregnancy is said to introduce something "new, unexpected, unpleasant, depressing (Russ. 'tjazheloe' = 'heavy, serious'), and unseemly" came into his life, "from which there was no way of escape." All of these adjectives apply equally well to the illness from which Ivan Ilich will soon begin to suffer. This is especially true of the adjective 'tjazheloe,' which is part of a familiar and standard expression when applied to disease (Russ. 'tjazhelaja bolezn'''). In the same way that Praskovya Fyodorovna's pregnancy seems to be an intimation of Ivan Ilich's illness, so also her behavior while pregnant pre-figures that of her husband after he has become ill. Thus, the displays of unseemliness and unpleasantness, the unreasonableness, the vulgar scenes which will mark Ivan Ilich's behavior later on are all pre-figured here in the behavior of his pregnant wife. One must conclude, it seems, that just as there is a relationship between Ivan Ilich's official and personal life and the symbols of death, so too is there a relationship between the illness which leads to the end of that "life" and the genuine new life stirring within Praskovya Fyodorovna's womb.
  21. A French phrase used to mean "out of sheer wantonness" or, more vulgarly, "for the hell of it." Literally, the phrase means "from gaiety of heart" and, consequently, seems to suggest the possibility that Praskovya Fyodorovna's pregnancy and its attendant symptoms, since they represent new life, should rather be a cause of happiness than of irritation. Here is still another example of a meaning beneath the meaning of these conventional phrases, suggesting (rather specifically, since she is pregnant) that there is another life beneath the superficial life of these conventional people.
  22. Having discovered that the pleasantness and propriety of his life has been badly injured by the behavior of his pregnant wife Ivan Ilich first tries to ignore her outbursts and demands, but when this fails he withdraws into his work in order to protect his "independence." Thus, he turns away from his family life to the still more artificial world of his life at work. Maude's translation here does not capture the organizing metaphor of this passage. Where Maude says "entrench himself" the Russian has "barricade himself" (Russ. 'ogradit' sebja'), and where Maude translates "secure his own independence" Tolstoi's text has "fence off his own independent world" (Russ. 'vygorazhivaja svoj nezavisimyj mir'). Thus, the Russian text suggests the motif of voluntary separation by walls or barriers, a process of self-enclosure, which is similar to the image created by the heavy black border of the funeral announcement and the framing edge of Ivan Ilich's coffin in chapter one. Some lines below the Maude translation does finally make the connection with "if he met with antagonism and querulousness he retired at once into his separate fenced-off (Russ. 'otdel'nyj vygorozhennyj im') world of official duties (italics mine)." Even here, though, Maude's translation refers to "his fenced-off world" while the Russian has "the world fenced-off by him" which makes Ivan Ilich responsible for the deliberate act of closing himself off from that which irritates him. Thus it is that in his desire to escape from the unpleasantness and fullness of his personal life he more and more embraces the relative emptiness and artificiality of his official life. In thinking to protect himself by isolating the unpleasantness, he always accomplishes this result by isolating himself, by building a metaphorical fence around himself.
  23. The narrator's preference for the adjective supruzheskaja ("spousal," from "suprug/supruga," spouse) suggests that Ivan Ilich sees his relationship with Praskovya Fyodorovna as one in which each of them is playing, and is bound to play, a certain role, that of spouse, rather than as a relationship between two authentic individuals. One might say that Ivan Ilich's strategy for defense against the importunities of his wife is to escape the role of spouse by taking refuge in the role of government official. The inherently inauthentic nature of this "play-acting" at life is most strongly suggested in Chapter Eight where the family discusses their imminent outing to the theater to see the celebrated actress Sarah Bernhardt perform.
  24. The word "opredelennyj" (as here in "opredelennoe otnoshenie," Eng., "a definite (or "defined") relationship) occurs frequently in the story. It is suggestive that it derives from the word "predel," Eng., "limit," "boundary" and thereby resonates with the various images of borders, edges, barriers, enclosures, curtains, screens and so on in which the story abounds. To say that there is need for a defined relationship suggests that every aspect of life has its known and desirable limits, its rules describing the types of behavior which are and are not permitted within that aspect. Extending this principle logically we come soon to the conclusion that life itself is just such a limited affair, and Ivan Ilich's hope to protect his "independent world" is illusory.
  25. Note the use of the same verb "privlekat'/privlech'" ("to draw, attract") to express the idea of Ivan Ilich's gratification of being able to "draw" anyone into court (or into prison) and his gratification with all aspects of his new duties being able to "draw" Ivan Ilich himself into his work at the office even more than before. Thus again the idea of Ivan Ilich's life becoming ever more a voluntarily accepted decision to lock himself away from the world.
  26. The image of being surrounded by solid walls is picked up yet again in the use of the word "nepronicaemyj" ('impenetrable').
  27. Here is a prime example of the ambiguity so often reflected in the style of the narrative: is it simply that the cost of living is more expensive because of moving to a larger town, or is it that because of his promotion Ivan Ilich's real life has become more dear because it is slipping away ever farther into the false life of his increased official duties.
  28. Just as the birth of a child created unpleasantness in Ivan Ilich's life, so also does their death. Clearly, if these ineluctable evidences of real life--birth and death--are both unpleasant, it must be that Ivan Ilich's "family life" is somehow false, not real life at all; his family life is rather a phenomenon in which the elements of real life have no appropriate place.
  29. Making the point yet again, Tolstoy's Russian uses the phrase "postoronnie lica" (lit. 'persons ranged along the sides, rather than in the center') to suggest once more the image of Ivan Ilich surrounded by a protective screen. Ivan Ilich thinks always to fence the offending behavior out, never realizing that he is also, necessarily, fencing himself in.
  30. The completeness of his isolation in his official life is mainly missed by Maude's translation "The whole interest of his life now centered in the official world and that interest absorbed him [italics mine]" but is vividly suggested by Tolstoy's use of the idiomatic expression "And that interest swallowed him [italics mine]," which Tolstoy offers as a separate, brief, and powerful sentence.