Alexander Solzhenitsyn death

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by sushi, Aug 3, 2008.

  1. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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  2. .Andy macrumors 68030

    .Andy

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    #2
    I've had One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich on my shelf awaiting to be read for some time now. I guess there's never been a better time to crack its spine.
     
  3. sushi thread starter Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #3
    Good book.

    Russia Pays Respect.
     
  4. psycoswimmer macrumors 65816

    psycoswimmer

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    #4
    I just read One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich this past year along with some information about Solzhenitsyn's life.

    R.I.P.
     
  5. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #5
    Alexander Solzhenitsyn death

    I've worked as a teacher of Russian/Soviet history and politics for some years. Solzhenitsyn was an exceedingly brave (if sometimes difficult) man, a terrific writer (especially his earlier work) and a hugely important historical figure in Russia. I'd suggest taking a look at One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovitch, and The First Circle (even better in some ways, to my mind his best work). For those who have plenty of time, Cancer Ward and The Gulag Archipelago are also worth a look.

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  6. camomac macrumors 6502a

    camomac

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    #6
    I just read One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovitch last year. Very good book.
    R.I.P.
     
  7. Henri Gaudier macrumors 6502a

    Henri Gaudier

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    #7
    To have come to this eh? Two days on the front page and only five responses; of which two are the same! Heard on the BBC that in many ways his aspirations in later life were the same as Putins. It's funny how things go.
     
  8. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #8
    Yes, I saw that comment on the BBC also; interesting observation. I imagine it is because Solzhenitsyn viewed himself as a Russian patriot (and possibly, thus, a Russian nationalist) that some of his aspirations would have been similar to those of Putin, who also views himself chiefly as a Russian patriot, whose aim therefore is to maximize Russia's strategic and tactical interests, whatever that takes. Simply because one was anti-communist does not, in itself, make one a democrat, which tends to be a mistake we often make in the west. In any case, Solzhenitsyn was pretty much an iconoclast, and a fairly fearless one, of both Soviet and post Soviet Russian leaderships. He publicly found fault with the communists, the west, and the last three leaders of his country, namely Gorbachev, Yeltsin and most recently, some aspects Putin's rule. Whatever about his personality, or politics, his writing at its best was superb and will stand the test of time.
     
  9. Henri Gaudier macrumors 6502a

    Henri Gaudier

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    #9
    I suppose I'll make another resolution to read him and the other "greats." Read a lot of Camus, Dostoyevsky, Orwell and the like when I was in my mid teens. Way too early in life and have never really gone back. Too busy reading music equipment mags. Any recommendations on translations and which to avoid. I love Celine's Journey To The End Of The Night but the English or should I should say American translation by Ralph Manheim is a stinker.
     
  10. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #10
    Ok, I agree re Orwell, Camus and Dostoyevsky. They all read well. Not all of Solzhenitsyn actually does. My advice would be to avoid all of Solzhenitsyn's later stuff, i.e. The Red Wheel, as it's heavy, turgid, and penned in what I would argue is actually flabby writing. Must confess that I never managed to finish it (mea culpa). The rather sad irony is that he himself regarded this as his masterpiece.
    I'd say go with One day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich - which is quite a short book - and a later translation of The First Circle. I liked the first English edition, it had the quaint 19th century tendency of naming the chapters, but the English was slightly old-world and elegaic. A subsequent English language edition - which I also read - has a more fluid (and modern sounding) prose style, so I'd recommend the most recent quality translation you can lay hands on. A slight note of caution of one of my earlier recommendations, since you asked; The Gulag Archipelago is very heavy - terrific for history buffs (like me) but not by any means a light read in either tone or content. Good luck.
     
  11. RedTomato macrumors 68040

    RedTomato

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    #11
    I also loved 'A day in the life .. ' but one of my problems is that I can neither spell nor pronounce his name (both the person in the title of the book and the author's name), which severely restricts my discussion of the book and the author.

    I thought about reading the Gulag, but if it's too history heavy, then maybe not. Seems as if the First Circle would be more my style.

    I'm currently wading (very slowly) through Lawrence of Arabia's Seven Pillars of Wisdom after seeing it referred to in a recent play about Iraq. I love the flow of the writing, but a job and a 3 year old daughter means I only get through about 5 pages a week (no joke).
     
  12. Leareth macrumors 68000

    Leareth

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    #12
    Cancer ward, I highly recommend.
    Gulag Archipelago is a dry , deep read. not something you can just pick up.
     

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