Monday, August 04, 2008

In memory of Alexander Solzhenitsyn


Nobel laureate Alexander Solzhenitsyn has died of heart failure at his Moscow home, aged 89. Solzhenitsyn won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1970 after writing harrowing works about the Soviet Union's system of labour camps, where he spent eight years from 1945.

The words ‘rest in peace’ seem somehow anathema to the life Solzhenitsyn lived. If his writing is any guide his thoughts must have been close to nightmares. My introduction to his writing was the novel August 1914, published in 1971, and among the most accessible of his works.

I am still struggling with ‘Gulag…” Each page seems intense with nightmare thoughts, not and easy read by any stretch. Still, I dare say I will keep picking it up from time to time and struggling through a few more pages. As a confirmation of the terrors inherent in society it seems just too close to the truth.

I remain indebted to this master of words, to his translators as well, but I don’t expect to emulate him any time soon.

4 comments:

Reality-Based Educator said...

Hey cartledge. Do you still have my email? If so, email me, would you? If not, post that you don't and I'll get the address to you.

Thanks, cartledge.

RBE

enigma4ever said...

lovely....really nice eulogy....may he finally rest..

Kvatch said...

After 15 months of reading, I recently finished Solzhenitsyn's 'Gulag Archipelago'. It was a mighty slog--I could only manage a few pages each night (well...ok...every other night)--but in the end I was glad that I did it and was left with the impression that Solzhenitsyn experienced more life than any of the rest of us will ever will...good and bad.

I am very glad that he lived to the ripe old age of 89.

Cart said...

I have to say, writing about a great master is no easy task. Less is more I expect.
Kvatch, I'm still savouring - slowly. It seems like he could fit our lives into one or two pages of that book, given his precise style.