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

The introduction to this presentation of Leo Tolstoy’s “Смерть Ивана Ильича” (“The Death of Ivan Ilich,” 1886) consists of four parts: “General Historical and Biographical Background,” “The Writing and Publication of the Novel,” “The Reception of the Novel,” and “The Proportions of the Text.”  This material has been adapted from its original publication in Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Il’ich: A Critical Companion, Gary R. Jahn, ed. (Evanston IL: Northwestern University Press, 1999).

The works referred to in the footnotes and parenthetical references in the material that follows can all be found in the extensive Bibliography at the end of this book.


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