Posts tagged tolstoy

“Russian Short Stories from Pushkin to Buida” Part 2

Continuing my journey through Russian literature: if you want to see the introduction and reviews of earlier stories, click here. Bobok by Fyodor Dostoevsky Not my favourite Dostoevsky, this one. It’s quite a funny little story about a man who goes to a graveyard and hears the dead people talking to each other in their graves. There’s some good satire about people’s social pretensions – although you’d think it wouldn’t matter any more, the dead people are still very concerned with rank and status and impressing other people. But nothing… Read More

“The Death of Ivan Ilyich” by Leo Tolstoy

A man dies slowly and in great agony. He ponders the meaning of life, and this increases his anguish: even worse than the physical pain of a slow, lingering death is the spiritual anguish of realising he has wasted his life. Tolstoy’s main target here is dishonesty and hypocrisy. This is established from the opening scene, when Ivan Ilyich’s death is announced, and the reaction of his colleagues is to think about how this will affect their promotion chances, while speaking the usual lines about it being a “sad business”… Read More