Tolstoy’s ‘‘Smert Ivana Ilyicha’’ (‘‘The Death of Ivan Ilych’’) was widely acclaimed when it was published in 1886 and remains a compelling narrative for contemporary readers. It is significant for its universally powerful portrayal of a man’s physical deterioration and subsequent spiritual rejuvenation at the moment of death, and because it is the first fiction which Tolstoy published after his conversion to radical Christianity. Several critics note a shift in his writing after his spiritual breakdown in the 1870s, which inspired him to write primarily on religious and philosophical issues while repudiating his earlier works. Tolstoy’s Voina i mir (1869; War and Peace) and Anna Karenina (1877) are almost unanimously praised as compelling documents of human existence and are lauded as excellent examples of the realistic novel. Devoting his life to introspection and excelling not only as a writer but as a scholar and philosopher, Tolstoy has influenced a wide range of writers and philosophers, from Ernest Hemingway to Martin Heidegger. He has been hailed by a variety of writers as one of the most important figures in modern literary history, successfully animating his fiction with the dynamics of life. Fyodor Dostoyevsky called him ‘‘a sublime artist’’; Virginia Woolf claimed him as ‘‘the greatest of all novelists’’; and Marcel Proust honored him as ‘‘a serene god.’’ Due to Tolstoy’s relentless examinations of psychology and society, he has won the admiration of multitudes of writers and still affects readers with his stark portrayal of human life. ‘‘The Death of Ivan Ilych’’ perfectly demonstrates this introspection as it magnifies a man’s struggle with how to live his life.