Vladimir Odoevsky, Zhivoi mertvets [The Live Corpse]

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Zhivoi mertvets


The Live Corpse

], written in 1838 and dedicated to Countess Rostopchina, was first published in 1844. It has been described as “a striking tale of out-of-body experience, based ultimately this time on dream” (Neil Cornwell: Introduction to


, 4), influencing Dostoevsky's later fantastic stories such as


(1873) and, in particular,

The Dream of a Ridiculous Man

(1877). The last lines of

The Live Corpse

had in fact formed the epigraph to Dostoevsky's first work,

Poor Folk

(1846), and the theme, also present in Odoevsky's



The Cosmorama

] and



The Salamander

], was taken up by Tolstoy in

The Death of Ivan Ilyich

(1886), his similarly entitled play

Zhivoi trup


The Live Corpse

, 1900] and

The False Coupon

(1904). It may also be seen as…

2237 words

Citation: Sucur, Slobodan. "Zhivoi mertvets". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 24 May 2005 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=16245, accessed 22 June 2024.]

16245 Zhivoi mertvets 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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