Introduction: Leo Tolstoy and “The Death of Ivan Ilich”

The Reception of the Novel

The Initial Critical Reception of the Novel

The critical reaction that greeted the appearance of The Death of Ivan Ilich, strange as it may seem given the novel’s title, paid little attention to the theme of death. Contemporary critics were more concerned with matters of style and of ideology. Thus, the populist critic N. K. Mikhailovsky, while noting that the novel was a “fine story,” also declared that it was “not of the first rank in artistic beauty, in strength or clarity of thought, or finally in the fearless realism of the writing.” [1] The response of a certain Lisovsky was more positive — “the story is without parallel in Russian literature and should be acknowledged a triumph of realism and truth in poetry” — but still confined to generalities. [2]

The various camps in Russian literary criticism and appreciation had been arrayed in ideologically adversarial groups at least since the time of V. G. Belinsky (the founder of modern Russian literary criticism) in the 1840s. Works of literature were generally presumed to have an ideological or, at least, broadly educational function, and much of the literary comment of the time consisted of estimates of the degree to which a given author or a given work had succeeded in the fictional or poetic promotion of one or another ideological agenda. Once Tolstoi’s fame had spread to Europe, stimulated there by the high praise accorded to his work in Le Roman Russe (The Russian Novel) by Vicomte Melchior de Vogue, [3] one finds occasional responses to the novel there also. Again, however, these tend toward evaluative generalities. The early history of the novel’s reception makes it quite clear, at least, that Tolstoi’s contemporaries were much struck by the novel; by and large, the novel was read as an unflattering commentary on the moral short-comings of the life-style of the privileged classes rather than as a reflection on the common mortality of all people.

Modern Criticism and Scholarship on the Novel

Modern criticism and scholarship of The Death of Ivan Ilich for the most part no longer consider themselves obliged to deal with the question of the literary value of the novel. [4] Considering the question of value as settled, commentators have devoted themselves to the consideration of specific aspects of the novel’s themes and ideas on one hand and its organization and artistic strategies on the other.

Themes and Ideas

Social Issues

An early avenue of approach to the novel was to consider it as an attack upon the empty and valueless life of its protagonist and the privileged society of which he was a part. This was a main theme within Soviet criticism, which, generally speaking, venerated Tolstoi as an exemplary practitioner of “critical realism.” This term denotes a style in literature that, while perhaps not informed by a “proper” (i.e., Marxist) understanding of the human universe, was at least capable of arriving at “correct” (i.e., negative) judgments upon pre-communist forms of social organization. It was mainly used to describe the practices of such giants of nineteenth-century Russian literature as Gogol, Turgenev, and (certain aspects of) Dostoevsky, besides Tolstoi. From such a point of view The Death of Ivan Ilich is without doubt an exemplary text. The life of the protagonist is that of an educated, relatively prosperous, and, above all, ordinary member of the privileged classes of the latter part of the nineteenth century, and the entire direction of the narrative is toward the display of the falseness, insincerity, insensitivity, and consequent spiritual inadequacy of that life. The History of Russian Literature in Three Volumes, published by the Soviet Academy of Sciences in 1964, puts it this way: “With profound artistry Tolstoi brands the petty, selfish motives, the insincerity and lies which form the basis of the ‘pleasant and decent’ life of the privileged members of the gentry and the state bureaucracy”; or again “Leo Tolstoi’s merciless satire manifests itself in all its power in The Death of Ivan Ilich. Ivan Ilich’s friends, even at his graveside, continue to lie and to pretend…. The author pitilessly tears the masks from [the faces of his characters], revealing what they really think and feel.” [5] It certainly cannot be cogently maintained that the novel does not do these things; one may well wonder, however, whether the novel does these things in order to reveal the inadequacy of the social structure implicated in the narrative or whether that inadequacy is revealed as part of some other, larger literary enterprise.

Non-Soviet readers, too, have often drawn attention to the novel’s critique of society. The materialism of nineteenth-century bourgeois society, or its twentieth-century counterpart, has been found either responsible for or productive of Ivan Ilich’s malaise and alienation. His physiological sickness is read as an indicator of the diseased quality of his life in society and/or of that society itself. [6] The novel has also been taken as a revelation of the manner in which society or “the social” acts as a hindrance to the discovery of the truths every person requires as an individual. In this reading the novel is the narrative of the individual’s inevitable separation from the social as the “truth” perceived by the dying protagonist becomes ever more opaque to those surrounding him. [7]

Psychological Issues

Most commentators on the novel have declared that Tolstoi is a masterful observer of human psychology; their admiration has been particularly occasioned by such scenes as the conversation among the deceased’s colleagues or that between Ivan’s wife and Peter Ivanovich. In both of these passages from chapter 1 of the novel the true motives and feelings of the participants are revealed as Tolstoi strips away the masks of sympathy and condolence that they wear. The text provides such an abundance of similar examples that it may well be taken as a revelation of the psychological masking and hypocrisy characteristic of Ivan and his associates’ layer of society. In this sense Tolstoi’s talent for psychological observation is understood to be employed in the furtherance of the social criticism discussed earlier.

Some scholars have understood the psychological dimension of the novel to be of primary, rather than ancillary, importance. Thus, Boris Sorokin draws our attention to Ivan’s habit of psychological “encapsulization.” By this is meant Ivan’s habit of retreating from the unpleasantnesses of life, principally, of course, from death. The protagonist’s retreats from actual reality into a controlled, internal, purely psychological (but, of course, false) reality, which he gradually establishes for himself as he ages, result, in the end, in his isolation from actuality (Sorokin, 295). William Edgerton sees the life of Ivan Ilich becoming a form of death from this isolation. [8] This view of psychology in the novel accounts for the behavior of Ivan Ilich on general, human grounds rather than as a psychopathy occasioned by a particular social environment.

A third approach to psychology in the novel has been along medical or quasi-medical lines. There was at one time (around the turn of the century) some interest in attempting a diagnosis of the illness from which Ivan suffers and eventually dies, [9] despite the fact that it is rather clear in the novel that the exact nature of Ivan’s physiological disease is beside the point; his spiritual well-being is the main issue. Yet the basis of this early “medical” criticism, wherein the fictional account is viewed as an actual clinical record, has persisted in certain psychological studies of the novel. James Bartell, for example, applies the theories of Otto Rank and Arthur Janov to the case of Ivan Ilich. He finds the material of the novel suitable for his purposes both on the grounds of its general fit with Rank’s and Janov’s explanation of the origins of neurosis in the fear of separation/rejection (one manifestation of which is the fear of death) and on the grounds of the presence in the text of the lengthy retrospective analysis of his own life, which Ivan undertakes and which leads to his ultimate escape from “that which was oppressing him.” Bartell understands this as a clear anticipation of the therapy suggested by Rank and Janov. [10] Y. J. Dayananda’s work on the novel shares the same sort of concern with the material, but he focuses his attention on Ivan’s story as an anticipation (and corroboration) of modern research on the psychological stages involved in death and dying. He discovers analogues in the novel to each of the five stages isolated by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in her On Death and Dying: (1) denial and isolation; (2) anger; (3) bargaining; (4) depression; (5) acceptance. [11] Such interpretations as these clearly indicate that Tolstoi’s powers of psychological observation were acute to the point of creating a flawless illusion of reality in the presentation of the thoughts, feelings, and behavior of the main characters. A more recent analysis of this type is offered in Daniel Rancour-Laferriere’s “Narcissism, Masochism, and Denial in Tolstoi’s The Death of Ivan Ilich[12]

George Gutsche’s analysis of the novel, “Moral Fiction: Tolstoi’s The Death of Ivan Ilich“, [13] also has a psychological emphasis, but it proceeds from an entirely different assumption; the hero’s story is not seen as material for psychological analysis, but rather a psychological viewpoint is adopted because it seems to offer insight into the novel. Gutsche claims, very cogently, that Ivan Ilich’s story is that of a man who comes gradually, and painfully, to the awareness that his perception of the world (his moral and psychological foundations, as it were) has been in error. Tolstoi’s novel traces the arduous path followed by the protagonist in his progress toward rectification of these errors of perception. At the same time Gutsche’s analysis is also concerned to explore the moral dimensions of the life and death of the protagonist, and in this way Gutsche’s work also has an important place in the next section.

Philosophical Issues

It is entirely in accord with Tolstoi’s own interest in philosophy, religion, and ethics or morality that much of the criticism on the novel can be included under this heading. Furthermore, there can be no strict separation between the social criticism (discussed earlier) offered by the novel and the ethical teachings it seems to offer. Tolstoi’s main concern in philosophy was undoubtedly with ethics and morality: the distinction between right and wrong (good and evil) actions. Many commentators direct our attention to the novel as an account of a life wrongly lived and of the protagonist’s ultimate realization of its wrongness. This is one of the main points urged by Prof. Gutsche, and there is much precedent for this point of view. Philip Rahv compares the life of Ivan Ilich to that of Joseph K. of Franz Kafka’s The Trial. In both works it is the protagonists’ certainty that their lives have been well lived that is the root of their inability to deal with the situations in which they find themselves. Sorokin (500) and Charles Glicksberg [14] both suggest that a major cause for the wrongness of the manner of Ivan Ilich’s life is his misapprehension of the nature of his life. Ivan overlooks the spiritual dimension of his life and the need for faith, and these are shown to be the only antidotes for the oppressive fear of death. Ivan’s incorrect understanding of the nature of the moral situation in which he finds himself leads him further and further into a state of unreality; thus, his striving for a life of illusory material reality is at the expense of his life of genuine spiritual reality (Sorokin, 487-88).

The same theme of the irreality of the life of Ivan Ilich is taken up by Geoffrey Clive in his discussion of the “inauthentic.” Although his attention is focused on moral questions, Clive, like some of the psychologically oriented critics mentioned earlier, in effect identifies the novel as being concerned mainly with social criticism. He depicts Ivan Ilich’s inauthentic life as the product of the inauthentic (by which is meant insincere) behavior that is characteristic of Ivan Ilich’s social milieu. [15] The constant practice of inauthentic behavior toward others results, at last, in a lack of truthfulness to the self and a futile attempt to conceal from oneself the significance of life’s major occasions, especially death (Clive, 114 — 17). James Olney adds to this that what Clive would call “authentic” behavior is modeled in the story in the character of the servant Gerasim. [16] Associated with Clive’s ideas, but along a different axis of development from that selected by Olney, are the several studies that delineate the roots of existential thought in the novel. Ivan’s situation in life is seen as featureless and deprived of meaning and he himself as subject to a steadily increasing sense of alienation. Lev Shestov (now regarded as one of the founders of existential thought) commented at length on the novel (Shestov, 116 — 27). William Barrett, who regards the novel as “a basic scripture of existentialist thought” (Barrett, 143), has indicated points of comparison between the novel and the writings of both Kierkegaard and Nietzsche (Barrett, 144). Irving Halperin has developed the connection with Kierkegaard, especially with the Danish philosopher’s Sickness unto Death. [17]

John Donnelly’s article on The Death of Ivan Ilich bespeaks the concerns of the philosopher more than those of the literary scholar. His work is primarily a discussion of his own view of morality and is more an occasion for his own reflections than an attempt to illuminate the novel. Mainly at issue is what Donnelly regards as the inappropriately (because unrealistically) absolute moral tone of the novel. [18] In a certain sense, Donnelly’s essay is akin in spirit to those by Dayananda and Bartell, which also, in their own way, regard the novel more as a source of exemplary matter than as a text in need of interpretation. The Death of Ivan Ilich has often been used in this way also by linguists (e.g., the various studies of Barlas) on the grounds that it offers a conveniently sized specimen of the conversational language of educated speakers of the period. The purpose of such studies is, however, openly linguistic, and it is made quite clear that the intention is to use rather than comment upon the text of the novel. [19]

With the exception of Prof. Gutsche’s detailed analysis not as much as one might expect has been made of Tolstoi’s religious views as a background to the understanding of The Death of Ivan Ilich. [20] Glicksberg (83) explains Tolstoi’s failure to “develop to the full” the awful irony of death as a function of his belief in “redemption.” In terms of Tolstoi’s religious beliefs redemption would refer to the individual’s freedom to select and his or her actually selecting the spiritual dimension of life as superior to the physiological. Richard Gustafson’s recent book Leo Tolstoi: Resident and Stranger considers the novel in the context of the theological teaching of the Russian Orthodox church concerning suffering and sin. He suggests that here, as elsewhere, Tolstoi was closer to church teaching than his many militant statements to the contrary would suggest. Thus, suffering is portrayed as the way to self-understanding, almost as a divine kindness to the lost soul of Ivan Ilich. Ivan’s illness is discussed as a metaphor for his misapprehension of the nature of human life, or “sin,” to use Gustafson’s term. [21] Gustafson’s treatment of the novel is informed by a comprehensive knowledge of the contents of Tolstoi’s religious writings and by a preference for what these writings may suggest as opposed to what they seem to say. A more straightforward link between Tolstoi’s religious writings and The Death of Ivan Ilich has been suggested by W. R. Hirschberg, who has drawn attention especially to the treatise On Life (especially chapter 9), which Tolstoi wrote immediately after The Death of Ivan Ilich. This connection has been explored in detail by Jahn. [22]

Structure and Style

The general artistic organization of the novel, its artistic structure, has occasioned considerable critical comment. Halperin was one of the first to point out the steady narrowing of narrative focus in the text. He associates this feature with the portion of the text that recounts Ivan’s life after his fall from the ladder. The narrative focus becomes most concentrated at the very end of the novel (Halperin, 337 — 39). The disproportion of space assigned to Ivan’s life before he became ill (about one-fourth of the text) and his illness and death (about three-fourths of the text) has been noted by Olney, who explains this feature as an indication that Ivan’s death is much more significant than his life (Olney, 108-9).

In considering the artistic organization of the story, considerable interest has been taken in the question of the placement of the material contained in the first chapter of the novel. Put simply, it has been seen as somewhat problematical that, while the vast majority of the text is devoted to a chronological account of the life and death of the protagonist, the material in chapter 1 pertains to the period after Ivan’s death. In terms of the primarily chronological narrative this material seems to belong at the end of the novel rather than at the beginning. C. J. G. Turner has suggested that the placement of the material in the first chapter may be explained by the history of the novel’s creation: Tolstoi’s original plan had been to tell the story through the device of Ivan’s personal diary account of his experiences. The first chapter was to offer an opportunity for this diary to come into the hands of one of the characters (the one who later became Ivan’s friend and colleague, Peter Ivanovich) and thence to the reader. Turner also notes that the linguistic structure of chapter 1 is similar to that of chapter 2, which in fact follows it, but would be in strident contrast to that of chapter 12, which would precede it if the material in chapter 1 were placed chronologically. [23] Gunter Schaarschmidt commented extensively on the placement of the first chapter in his analysis of the language of the novel. Professor Turner’s “Ivan Il’ich: Resident and Stranger” revisits this theme and presents a further analysis of word clusters and semantic groups in the novel. [24]

The placement of the material in the first chapter is one of a number of questions that have to do with what we may call the “narrative strategy.” Edward Wasiolek has commented on this topic at some length. He has suggested that the placement of Ivan’s death at the beginning of the text alienates the reader’s sympathies from the very outset by providing a sharply critical portrait of those who survive Ivan Ilich and, by implication, of the sort of life that the decedent had lived (Wasiolek, 324).

Wasiolek, however, is mainly concerned to address a primary criticism of the novel — namely, that its narrative is arbitrary and its narrator intrusive. Wasiolek points out that the basis of such a criticism is in what he calls the “Jamesian fictional imperative.” By this is meant that the unfriendly critic has invoked criteria that may be very appropriate to a consideration of the work of Henry James (who is on record as being no admirer of Tolstoi) but very inappropriate to a consideration of a work by Tolstoi (Wasiolek, 318). Wasiolek admits that by the Jamesian standard the narrative strategy of the novel seems arbitrary or “arranged”; it is clear that Tolstoi is intent upon interpreting as well as telling the events portrayed in the novel. Authorial intrusion is part of Tolstoi’s narrative stance; if the novel is approached with a prejudice against such a strategy, naturally only an unfavorable judgment of the work is possible (Wasiolek, 317). Wasiolek describes Tolstoi’s technique as a “clear and unambiguous control of the meaning he intends” (Wasiolek, 319). This acknowledgment of the importance of considering the author’s intentions, at least with an author like Tolstoi, is a most important concept in dealing with The Death of Ivan Ilich. Jahn’s The Death of Ivan Ilich: An Interpretation is an attempt to discuss the novel largely from this point of view and from within the context of Tolstoi’s own writings. While attempting to pay attention to the author’s intentions in the interpretation of a work of literature has a long history and the support of substantial theoretical argument (see especially E. D. Hirsch, Validity in Interpretation (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1967), it has also been noted that exclusive allegiance to this method of work may lead to an inappropriate narrowing of the interpreter’s horizon. Certainly, such an approach as that taken by Daniel Rancour-Laferriere in his contribution to Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Il’ich: A Critical Companion cannot be said to be anchored in the conscious intentions of the author, but it’s helpfulness to readers grappling with the significance of the novel may be no less for that.

The undisguised presence of Tolstoi the author as an interpreting and guiding force in the narrative has been confirmed by the discovery of a variety of subtexts within the novel. A subtext may take various forms, most commonly that of a pattern of allusions to some other text (either by the same or another author) or a pattern within the narrative that seems to be at odds with the pattern on the surface of the narrative. Chapter Nine of Jahn (1993) contains the most complete discussion of subtext in the second meaning suggested here. The first sort of subtext (which has also been called intertext) has occasioned frequent comment in the context of Tolstoi’s many attempts to deal with the theme of death in his writings. David Matual has considered one particular subtext at length: the intertextual relationship between The Death of Ivan Ilich and Tolstoi’s A Confession, written some half-dozen years earlier. Matual has displayed numerous parallels between the situation of Tolstoi, as described in A Confession, and that of Ivan Ilich, as described in the novel. [25] The effect of the discoveries of such subtexts are, of course, that readings of Ivan’s physiological illness as symbolic of underlying spiritual malaise become easier to defend and seem more likely to be appropriate.

Related to the notions of subtext and intertext is the connection between The Death of Ivan Ilichand the works of other writers. Philip Rogers, for example, has produced a magisterial discussion of the connections between Tolstoi and the English novelist Charles Dickens, with particular reference to The Death of Ivan Ilich. [26]

As we conclude this brief survey of critical comment on the novel, let us turn to the question of the use of image, symbol, metaphor, and other literary figures in the text. It was mentioned earlier that Tolstoi was very much at odds with the symbolist writers of the 1890s and early 1900s on the grounds that their art was exclusive and unconcerned with the ethical questions Tolstoi considered so important. It is a curious irony that Tolstoi’s works, to some extent, prefigure, in their use of symbol and metaphor, some of the aesthetic devices of those later writers whom he would soon be so roundly denouncing. To prevent any misunderstanding, however, it needs to be said that Tolstoi’s symbolism is of what we might call a metonymic sort: it is based in the use of one report of experience to comment upon, reflect, foreshadow, or explain another experience. Characteristic of the symbolists, however, is a metaphorical (or even metaphysical) symbolism, wherein a report of experience on one plane of existence is taken to reflect, explain, etc., experience on a different plane. [27]

Already in Anna Karenina (from the mid-1870s) Tolstoi had written a book that many have found to contain profoundly symbolic (in the metonymic sense) elements. The chapter describing the horse race in which Vronsky competes or the scene of Levin mowing hay with the peasants come immediately to mind. In The Death of Ivan Ilichthis tendency is much intensified. Situations, details, even turns of phrase seem full of meaning and suggestiveness for the reader’s understanding of the life and death of the protagonist. Various critics have explained the symbolism of the card game that Ivan is so fond of playing, of his interest in the furnishing of his apartment, of the ladder from which he falls, and of the position he adopts upon the couch in his study. Rima Salys’ Signs on the Road of Life: The Death of Ivan Ilich has a thorough discussion of such usages in the novel. [28] George Gutsche’s is the best general summary account of the artistry of Tolstoi’s use of language, especially of the patterned repetition of key words and phrases and of the play with prefixes, roots, and suffixes in the text. Jahn has advanced the notion that it is characteristic of The Death of Ivan Ilich that what is metaphorical on one level of the text must often be taken literally on another (as when, on the physiological plane, a friend says that Ivan Ilich is so ill that he seems to have become a corpse, while on the spiritual plane this proves to be already literally true).

By far the greatest amount of attention has been paid to the image of the “black bag” or “black hole,” which plays so prominent a role in the last four chapters of the novel. Matual has pointed out that this key image is one of the connections between The Death of Ivan Ilich and A Confession, in which the image first appeared as a “black spot” (Matual, 126). In the main, critics have regarded this image as suggestive of the uterus and as part of the symbolic depiction of Ivan’s rebirth (Halperin; Olney). However, Sorokin has elaborated a solid case for the idea that the symbolic referent of the black bag is the bowel, especially in the many references to the caecum (the “blind gut,” the appendix) in the text. In either case, the reader’s attention is drawn to the conclusion that the entire account of Ivan Ilich’s life and death is symbolically referential, that his physiological life symbolizes his spiritual life. The conclusion has been drawn by Edgerton that Ivan’s death is a door to genuine life and that his life had been a form of death (300).


  1. N. K. Mikhailovskii, Sobranie sochinenii, vol. 6 (St. Petersburg, 1897), 382. Cited in L. D. Opul'skaia, Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoi: Materialy k biografii s 1886 po 1892 god (Moscow: Izdatel'stvo "Nauka," 1979), 14 hereafter cited as Opul'skaia.
  2. Lisovsky's remarks appeared in the journal Russkoe bogatstvo, 1888, no. 1:182. Cited in Opul'skaia, 15.
  3. This book, published in France in the mid-1880s, was a crucial factor in the dawning awareness of European intellectuals of the excellence of the Russian literary culture.
  4. One exception that should be noted is Edward Wasiolek's, "Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan llyich and Jamesian Fictional Imperatives," Modern Fiction Studies 6(1960):314-24; hereafter cited in text as Wasiolek. This essay disputes the validity of criticism directed at the overtly moralizing tone of the novel. Wasiolek finds the basis of this criticism in the assumptions and presuppositions of a Jamesian aesthetic of indirection and suggests a rejoinder along the lines of taking Tolstoy on his own, rather than another's, aesthetic terms.
  5. D. D. Blagoi et al., eds., Istoriia russkoi literatury v trekh tomakh, vol. 3 (Moscow: Izdatel'stvo "Nauka," 1964), 575.
  6. See especially Boris Sorokin, "Ivan lI'ich as Jonah: A Cruel Joke," Canadian Slavic Studies 5 (1971): 487-88, 490- hereafter cited in text as Sorokin; Philip Rahv, "The Death of Ivan Illych and Joseph K.," in Image and Idea: Twenty Essays on Literary Themes (Norfolk, Conn.: New Directions, 1957), 135; and William Barrett, "Existentialism as a Syrnptom of Man's Contemporary-Crisis," in Spiritual Problems in Contemporary Literature, ed. Stanley Hopper (New York: Harper, 1952), 143.
  7. Lev Shestov, "The Last Judgment: Tolstoy's Last Works," in In Job's Balances: On the Sources of the Eternal Truths (Athens: Ohio University Press, 1957), 117; hereafter cited in text as Shestov.
  8. William B. Edgerton, "Tolstoy, Immortality, and Twentieth Century Physics," Canadian Slavonic Papers 21(1979):300; hereafter cited in text as Edgerton.
  9. A number of studies of this type appeared; they generally concluded that some form of cancer was the proper diagnosis.
  10. James Bartell, "The Trauma of Birth in The Death of Ivan llych: A Therapeutic Reading," Psychological Review 2(1978): 106-11.
  11. Y. J. Dayananda, "The Death of Ivan llych: A Psychological Study On Death and Dying," Literature and Psychology 22(1972): 192-97.
  12. Published in Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Il'ich: A Critical Companion, Gary R. Jahn, ed. (Evanston IL: Northwestern University Press, 1999):117-33; hereafter as Critical Companion
  13. Published in Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Il'ich: A Critical Companion, Gary R. Jahn, ed. (Evanston IL: Northwestern University Press, 1999):55-101.
  14. Charles L. Glicksberg, "Tolstoy and The Death of Ivan Illyitch," in The Ironic Vision in Modern Literature (Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1969):82-83; hereafter cited in text as Glicksberg.
  15. Geoffrey Clive, "Tolstoy and the Varieties of the Inauthentic," in The Broken Icon: Intuitive Existentialism in Classical Russian Fiction (New York: Macmillan, 1970),108-12; hereafter cited in text as Clive.
  16. James Olney, "Experience, Metaphor, and Meaning: The Death of Ivan llych," Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 31(1972):113; hereafter cited in text as Olney.
  17. 20. Irving Halperin, "The Structural Integrity of The Death of Ivan Ilich," Slavic and East European Journal 5(1961):337; hereafter cited in the text as Halperin.
  18. John Donnelly, "Death and Ivan llych," in Language, Metaphysics, and Death, ed. John Donnelly (New York: Fordham University Press, 1978), 118.
  19. A notable exception is Gunter Schaarschmidt's study of the syntax of the novel, which, though written by a linguist, suggests important conclusions on the artistic structure of the work ("Theme and Discourse Structure in The Death of Ivan Ilich," Canadian Slavonic Papers 21(1979):356-66; hereafter cited in text as Schaarschmidt).
  20. Gutsche, in fact, devotes a major part of his chapter on The Death of Ivan Ilich to exploring the extent of the relevance of Tolstoy's formal religious ideas, as well as those associated with traditional dogmas of institutionalized Christianity, for an interpretation of the novel (Moral Apostasy in Russian Literature [DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 1986]).
  21. Richard F. Gustafson, Leo Tolstoy: Resident and Stranger (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1986), 155-60.
  22. Concern with the author's intention is central to Gary R. Jahn, The Death of Ivan Ilich: An Interpretation (New York: Twayne Publishers, 1993), see especially 84-103.
  23. C. J. G. Turner, "The Language of Fiction: Word Cluster in Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan llych," Modern Language Review 65(1970):121, hereafter cited in text as Turner.
  24. Published in Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Il'ich: A Critical Companion, Gary R. Jahn, ed. (Evanston IL: Northwestern University Press, 1999):39-54.
  25. David Matual, "The confession as Subtext in The Death of Ivan Rich," International Fiction Review 8(1981):125-28; hereafter cited in text as Matual.
  26. Republished in Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Il'ich: A Critical Companion, Gary R. Jahn, ed. (Evanston IL: Northwestern University Press, 1999):134-67.
  27. Art, for the symbolists, involved the portrayal of realia (the real) in the interest of leading our attention to realiora (the more real, the essence of existence).
  28. Rima Salys, "Signs on the Road of Life: The Death of Ivan Ilich," Slavic and East European Journal 30(1986):18-28.