Monday, July 31, 2017

Tolstoy's Ivan Ilyich and the Socially Mediated Self (LMM #4)

(This is the fourth installment in my Literature for the Modern Mind series. To learn more about the series, see here.)

This past year I had the opportunity to teach Leo Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilyich for the first time. In re-reading the novella, I was struck by how well Ivan’s character, who orients his life around the avoidance of discomfort and the pursuit of the approval of his peers, resembles the kind of self-understanding that our modern culture—especially social media—works to create in us.