Sunday, February 17, 2008

Quotations from *The Death of Ivan Ilyich*, 2 of 2
Leo Tolstoy (Lev Tolstoi)
1828-1910 Russian
translated by Lynn Solotaroff

“What is this for?” And he stopped crying and, turning his face to the wall, began to dwell on one and the same question: “Why all this horror? What is it for?”

But think as he might, he could find no answer. And when it occurred to him, as it often did, that he had not lived as he should have, he immediately recalled how correct his whole life had been and dismissed this bizarre idea.
Leo Tolstoy, The Death of Ivan Ilyich

...he suddenly asked himself: “What if my entire life, my entire conscious life, simply was not the real thing?”

It occurred to him that what had seemed utterly inconceivable before—that he had not lived the kind of life he should have—might in fact be true. It occurred to him that those scarcely perceptible impulses of his to protest what people of high rank considered good, vague impulses which he had always suppressed, might have been precisely what mattered, and all the rest not been the real thing. His official duties, his manner of life, his family, the values adhered to by people in society and in his profession—all these might not have been the real thing. He tried to come up with a defense of these things and suddenly became aware of the insubstantiality of them all. And there was nothing left to defend.
Leo Tolstoy, The Death of Ivan Ilyich

In them he saw himself, all he had lived by, saw clearly that all this was not the real thing but a dreadful, enormous deception that shut out both life and death.
Leo Tolstoy, The Death of Ivan Ilyich

Not the real thing. Everything you lived by and still live by is a lie, a deception that blinds you from the reality of life and death.”
Leo Tolstoy, The Death of Ivan Ilyich

“It is all over,” said someone standing beside him.

He heard these words and repeated them in his soul.

“Death is over,” he said to himself. “There is no more death.”

He drew in a breath, broke off in the middle of it, stretched himself out, and died.
Leo Tolstoy, The Death of Ivan Ilyich

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