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This edition: Tolstoy: The Death of Ivan Ilych

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Episode Details

The lesson examines how this work validates the concept of "memento mori" – the forcing of a consciousness of death that compels us to examine the authenticity of our lives. According to Tolstoy, "Ivan Ilych's life had been most simple and most ordinary and, therefore, most terrible." What does this triad of adjectives mean? What is the tone of the story? Is Ivan's fate a blessing or a curse? What is the role of "Friends?" Of "Family"? Discussion focuses on the imagery at the end of the story as it relates to the story's theme.
Featured interview: Professor Ed Wasiolek (University of Chicago)