Goodbye, Solzhenitsyn

Return from exile, 1994. Photo by Mikhail Evstafiev.

Literature transmits incontrovertible condensed experience from generation to generation. In this way literature becomes the living memory of a nation. – Solzhenitsyn

Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, Nobel Prize winner and Russia’s voice against Stalinist regime’s brutality, has died at 89. The caustic prose of Gulag Archipelago and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich exposed his fellow countrymen to the truth about inhuman suffering in secret slave labor camps, stirred the nation and ultimately cost him his citizenship.

After 20 years spent in exile, Solzhenitsyn was living and working in Moscow again, remaining vocal about his strong political views well into old age. In his recent years he briefly had his own TV show and wrote several political works condemning communism, Russia’s rampant nationalism and war as a whole.

Solzhenitsyn’s death is a tremendous loss and his work deserves special attention here at some point. Until then I suggest you pick up all 3 volumes of this and tell us what you think.

  • Video of Putin awarding Solzhenitsyn an award last year; a rather strange event as even the reporter points out.
  • A short autobiography written for Le Prix Nobel books.

5 Responses to “Goodbye, Solzhenitsyn”

  1. David Forbes Says:

    A courageous man and a towering writer. You’re right: it’s time for everyone to read (or re-read) The Gulag Archipelago.

  2. Zoetica Says:

    It’s a grueling read, but necessary, yes.

  3. john colby Says:

    best part of Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich is when he sees that he is in camp 3028 he wonder how many people there could be left NOT in Gulags…

  4. Ben Morris Says:

    Solzhenitsyn is the only writer I can think of to win the Nobel prize for literature and then later write his greatest work (The Gulag Archipelago).

  5. R. Says:

    I had heard about his passing on Yahoo! News. I will have to search for his work then.