The Way of All Flesh

 On Tolstoy and Mortality
 212 RECENT BOOKS it does, and for Leo Tolstoy’s character Ivan Ily - ich, dying is a protracted process that assumes just as much importance as living— a process that indeed takes meaning away from or gives it to the life lived. Who but Vladimir Nabokov, in his peerless Lectures on Russian Literature , could have no - ticed that “Ilyich” is pronounced ill - itch — “the ills and itches of mortal life.” Nabokov was clear in pointing out that Tolstoy’s famous no - vella is not about Ivan’s death, but about hi

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Published: January 6, 2014