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The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics

Volume 19, 1999

Stephen J. Pope
Pages 115-129
DOI: 10.5840/asce1999197

Compassion and Self-Deception
The Unity of Love and Truthfulness in Leo Tolstoy's "The Death of Ivan Ilyich"

This essay examines Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Ilyich in light of the moral status of self-deception, particularly as defended on grounds of compassion. It argues that Tolstoy's powerful depiction of the interconnection of love and truthfulness reveals the spiritual and moral dangers of self-deception and particularly its destructive consequences for interpersonal love and friendship.