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The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Other Stories : The Raid, Woodfelling, ThreeDeaths, Polikushka, The Death of Ivan Ilyich, After the Ball, The Forged Coupon - Leo Tolstoy

The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Other Stories

The Raid, Woodfelling, ThreeDeaths, Polikushka, The Death of Ivan Ilyich, After the Ball, The Forged Coupon

Paperback

Published: April 2008
For Ages: 18+ years old
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"There was no death. Instead of death there was light."

At the age of forty-one, Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) underwent a profound spiritual crisis, from which he emerged believing that he had encountered Death itself. These seven compelling stories explore, in very different ways, his subsequent preoccupation with mortality. The Death of Ivan Ilyich is a devestating account of a man fighting his inevitable end, and ask the existential question: why must a good person be taken before his time? In Polikushka a light-fingered drunk's chance to prove himself has tragic repercussions, while Three Deaths depicts the last moments of an aristocrat, a peasant and a tree, and The Forged Coupon shows a seemingly minor offence that leads inexorably to ever more horrific crimes. And in three tales about soldiers, After the Ball, The Wood-felling and The Raid, Tolstoy portrays the brutality that all too often accompanies military life.

The translations by Anthony Briggs, David McDuff and Ronald Wilks capture Tolstoy's powerful, vivid prose. This edition also includes a new introduction by Anthony Briggs discussing Tolstoy's breakdown and the effect this had on his writing, as well as a chronology, further reading and notes.

About the Author

Leo Tolstoy was born in central Russia in 1828. He studied Oriental languages and law (although failed to earn a degree in the latter) at the University of Kazan, and after a dissolute youth eventually joined an artillery regiment in the Caucasus in 1851. He took part in the Crimean War, and the Sebastopol Sketches that emerged from it established his reputation. After living for some time in St Petersburg and abroad, he married Sophie Behrs in 1862 and they had thirteen children. The happiness this brought him gave him the creative impulse for his two greatest novels, War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1877). Later in life his views became increasingly radical as he gave up his possessions to live a simple peasant life. After a quarrel with his wife he fled home secretly one night to seek refuge in a monastery. He became ill during this dramatic flight and died at the small railway station of Astapovo in 1910.

Introduction
The Raidp. 1
The Woodfellingp. 29
Three Deathsp. 71
Polikushkap. 89
The Death of Ivan Ilyichp. 155
After the Ballp. 219
The Forged Couponp. 233
Notesp. 313
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780140449617
ISBN-10: 0140449612
Series: Penguin Classics
Audience: General
For Ages: 18+ years old
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 352
Published: April 2008
Dimensions (cm): 19.8 x 12.9  x 2.4
Weight (kg): 0.25

Leo Tolstoy

Russian author, a master of realistic fiction and one of the world's greatest novelists.

Tolstoy is best known for his two longest works, War and Peace and Anna Karenina, which are commonly regarded as among the finest novels ever written. War and Peace in particular seems virtually to define this form for many readers and critics. Among Tolstoy's shorter works, The Death of Ivan Ilyich is usually classed among the best examples of the novella. Especially during his last three decades Tolstoy also achieved world renown as a moral and religious teacher. His doctrine of nonresistance to evil had an important influence on Gandhi. Although Tolstoy's religious ideas no longer command the respect they once did, interest in his life and personality has, if anything, increased over the years.

Most readers will agree with the assessment of the 19th-century British poet and critic Matthew Arnold that a novel by Tolstoy is not a work of art but a piece of life; the 20th-century Russian author Isaak Babel commented that, if the world could write by itself, it would write like Tolstoy. Critics of diverse schools have agreed that somehow Tolstoy's works seem to elude all artifice. Most have stressed his ability to observe the smallest changes of consciousness and to record the slightest movements of the body. What another novelist would describe as a single act of consciousness, Tolstoy convincingly breaks down into a series of infinitesimally small steps. According to the English writer Virginia Woolf, who took for granted that Tolstoy was “the greatest of all novelists,” these observational powers elicited a kind of fear in readers, who “wish to escape from the gaze which Tolstoy fixes on us.”

Those who visited Tolstoy as an old man also reported feelings of great discomfort when he appeared to understand their unspoken thoughts. It was commonplace to describe him as godlike in his powers and titanic in his struggles to escape the limitations of the human condition. Some viewed Tolstoy as the embodiment of nature and pure vitality, others saw him as the incarnation of the world's conscience, but for almost all who knew him or read his works, he was not just one of the greatest writers who ever lived but a living symbol of the search for life's meaning.

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