Solzhenitsyn in Exile: Critical Essays and Documentary Materials

Thursday, August 1, 1985

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn is one of the towering figures of our age–as an author, as a "witness" to man's despicable treatment of man, and as a political and moral figure. His stature in the West has evolved, from the 1962 publication of One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich through his remarks upon receiving the 1983 Templeton Award for Progress in Religion. Solzhenitsyn in Exile rises out of the aiding interest in Solzhenitsyn: the political image, the writer, and the man. There are four aspects to this volume: the change in attitude toward Solzhenitsyn in the West after his expulsion from the USSR; literary criticism of his oeuvre since his expulsion from Russia; newly translated memoirs and interviews; and bibliographies of works about Solzhenitsyn and his writings. In 1974, when Solzhenitsyn was ejected from the Soviet Union and arrived in the West, the popular image of him was one of admiration for his courage and his talent. Over time, this picture changed, especially after his 1978 address at Harvard University. The dimension and motivation for these changes in England, the United States, France, West Germany, and Yugoslavia are explored, together with Michael Nicholson's essay on his image worldwide. There are eight critical essays. Six focus on specific works: The Gulag Archipelago, its form, diction, and narrative structure; the place in literature of The Calf and the Oak; the changes in meaning among the different redactions of The First Circle; and an exegesis of Solzhenitsyn's long poem, Prussian Nights. Two essays explore Solzhenitsyn in his literary context, one reviewing his intellectual antecedents in Russian literature, the other the continuity in his ethical thought. Before his Soviet expulsion, Solzhenitsyn censored himself, as well as submitting to the censorship of the state; many of his works exist in multiple forms. Therefore, bibliographies linking one edition to the next, and delineating the process of change, are important both to scholars and laymen. The annotated bibliography of works about Solzhenitsyn is confined to books in Russian, English, German, or French. It is divided in three parts: books on Solzhenitsyn as a contributor to political dialogue; dictionaries of Solzhenitsyn's language, and literary criticism and biographical works. Michael Nicholson's annotated bibliography of Solzhenitsyn's works discusses questions of dating, textual authenticity, censorship, and self-censorship.

Copyright 1985.

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