It’s a sign of the times when the passing of one of the true literary greats has been accorded so little attention in the media in the UK. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn passed away, aged 89 years. His writings had gone from very high profile (“One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich”, “Cancer Ward”) to no profile (the volumes in his “The Red Wheel” series). The quality of his work never faltered but the press only paid attention whilst he was politically significant and criticising the Soviet bloc. When he turned his insights on the state of the West, he was quietly pushed to one side. I’m glad he was able to return to his beloved Russia in his last years although there is more than a little irony in the way that his body is going to be laid in State – after all the country did its best to act as though he did not exist for a large part of his life. For my money, the extended revised version of “August 1914” (not the shorter version published in the early 70s which is in reality almost a different book) is his masterpiece but I love all his writings and long for the day he will be recognised in the West as a writer beyond his political significance.

3 thoughts on “Solzhenitsyn

  1. When I was sixteen I watched his Harvard graduation address. It changed my life by showing me that there was a third way. Today I can’t imagine that TV would show it.

    • I first read Solzhenitsyn when I was 16 (long time ago!). More recently I’ve dug a lot deeper into his writing. It is a very worthwhile journey. In the spotlight’s eye or out of the spotlight’s eye, he will be missed.

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