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Episode 91: “The Death of Ivan Ilyich,” Part 2

This week on The Literary Life podcast, our hosts continue their discussion of The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy. After sharing some commentary on their commonplace quotes for the week, Angelina, Cindy and Thomas talk about the things that stood out to them as they read the second half of The Death of Ivan Ilyich. Some of the ideas they share are the following: the commonality of being ordinary, the responses people have to terminal illness, the one person who gives Ilyich comfort, and the humiliation of death. Angelina highlights the Orthodox metaphors and Christian imagery that are so prevalent in the end of this story.

Cindy is hosting a new summer discipleship course for moms this year, so head over to for more info and to sign up! Thomas and Angelina also have some great summer classes coming up, and you can check those out at

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Commonplace Quotes:

The only inconvenience is that none of these projects are yet brought to perfection, and in the meantime the whole country lies miserably waste, the houses in ruins and the people without food or clothes. By all which, instead of being discouraged, they are fifty times more violently bent upon prosecuting their schemes, driven equally on by hope and despair.

Jonathon Swift

The humanities do not always make a man humane–that is, liberal, tolerant, gentle, and candid as regards the opinions and status of other men. The fault does not lie in any one of these or in any other of the disciplinary subjects, but in our indolent habit of using each of these as a sort of mechanical contrivance for turning up the soil and sowing the seed.

Charlotte Mason

I should be cautious of censuring anything that has been applauded by so many suffrages.

Samuel Johnson

O Child Beside the Waterfall

by George Barker

O Child beside the Waterfall
what songs without a word
rise from those waters like the call
only a heart has heard-
the Joy, the Joy in all things
rise whistling like a bird.

O Child beside the Waterfall
I hear them too, the brief
heavenly notes, the harp of dawn,
the nightingale on the leaf,
all, all dispel the darkness and
the silence of our grief.

O Child beside the Waterfall
I see you standing there
with waterdrops and fireflies
and hummingbirds in the air,
all singing praise of paradise,
paradise everywhere.

Book List:

The Life of Samuel Johnson by Boswell

School Education by Charlotte Mason

The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

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