Sunday, August 3, 2008

Alexander Solzhenitsyn passes away..

Crossposted at MyDD

BBC is reporting the famed Russian author Alexander Solzhenitsyn passed away at the age of 89. This brought back the memories of long hours of entranced reading of The Gulag Archipelago, The Cancer Ward, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denosovich et al.

His son Stepan was quoted by one Russian news agency as saying his father died of heart failure, while another agency quoted literary sources as saying he had suffered a stroke.He died in his home in the Moscow area, where he had lived with his wife Natalya, at 2345 local time (1945 GMT), Stepan told Itar-Tass. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev sent his condolences to the writer's family, a Kremlin spokesperson said. French President Nicolas Sarkozy described him as "one of the greatest consciences of 20th Century Russia". "His intransigence, his ideals and his long, eventful life make of Solzhenitsyn a storybook figure, heir to Dostoyevsky," he said in a statement.
Alex Solzhenitsyn was sent to the Stalin's Gulag after he criticized Stalin. This experience when turned into the classic of The Gulag Archipelago made Solzhenitsyn the famous author he is. Solzhenitsyn was stripped of his Soviet citizenship and expelled from Russia. He settled in Vermont in the mid seventies and continued a very active penmanship and opposition to Soviet Communist rule. Solzhenitsyn was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1970. He finally returned to Russia in 1994.
He spent the next eight years in the Soviet prison system, or Gulag, before being internally exiled to Kazakhstan, where he was successfully treated for stomach cancer. Publication in 1962 of the novella Denisovich, an account of a day in a Gulag prisoner's life, made him a celebrity during the post-Stalin political thaw. However, within a decade, the writer awarded the 1970 Nobel Prize for Literature was out of favour again for his work, and was being harassed by the KGB secret police. In 1973, the first of the three volumes of Archipelago, a detailed account of the systematic Soviet abuses from 1918 to 1956 in the vast network of its prison and labour camps, was published in the West. Its publication sparked a furious backlash in the Soviet press, which denounced him as a traitor. Early in 1974, the Soviet authorities stripped him of his citizenship and expelled him from the country.


Anonymous said...

I've never read The Gulag Archipelago. I'll have to pick up a copy the next time I'm on vacation.

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