National Endowment for the Arts - The Big Read
The Death of Ivan Ilyich

The Death of Ivan Ilyich

by Leo Tolstoy

The goal of the artist is not to solve a question irrefutably, but to force people to love life in all its innumerable, inexhaustible manifestations.


Leo Tolstoy, 1854 (Copyright Bettmann/Corbis)

Few authors have ever, or will ever, write greater fiction than Leo Tolstoy. The Death of Ivan Ilyich—a stark, challenging, and concise book—deals, quite literally, with matters of life and death. This startling novella imparts a sense of awe and wonder at how profoundly Tolstoy reveals the heights and depths of our common humanity.

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