aleksander solzhenitsyn

the writer of the gulag archipelago, aleksander solzhenitsyn passed away yesterday.
i have not read the gulag archipelago, but when i was younger, i came across this tattered edition in farsi of anatoli marchinko (sp?) writing of his gulag experiences (سیمای زنده بگوران – آناتولی مارچنکو), and now that i think back, it made such a deep dent in my faith in the essential goodness of human beings that perhaps it would have been better if i had not read it at all -or at least not at the impressionable age that i read it. the gulag archipelago did more to muckrake and make famous the horrors of the soviet system than any other single book or person -as george kennan put it, it was the “greatest and most powerful single indictment of a political regime in modern times.”
here is solzhenitsyn’s photo from 1974 from the frontpage of nytimes web edition -because, like many an idiosynractic russian dissident (think rasputin) he exudes character.


from the times’ article about him:

Mr. Solzhenitsyn was heir to a morally focused and often prophetic Russian literary tradition, and he looked the part. With his stern visage, lofty brow and full, Old Testament beard, he recalled Tolstoy while suggesting a modern-day Jeremiah, denouncing the evils of the Kremlin and later the mores of the West.


~ by safrang on August 4, 2008.

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