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Title:Solzhenitsyn, Truth, & the Dismal Fate of Literature in the 21st Century, Part 1
Author(s):Sheets, Diana E.
Subject(s):Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr (1918-2008)
Abstract:One of the most important writers of the twentieth century was Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008). His fiction and nonfiction were guided by the moral imperative to bear witness to what he believed to be the two greatest calamities of that century: the Russian Revolution and the attendant horrors of Soviet totalitarianism manifested in the Gulag (1918-1987). Part I of this essay will consider the implications of three works by Solzhenitsyn that present the story of the Gulag: the novella One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (1962); the novel The First Circle (1968); and the three-volume nonfiction chronicle of the human carnage wrought by Soviet totalitarianism, The Gulag Archipelago (1973-78). Part II will examine Solzhenitsyn’s perspective on autobiography, storytelling, truth, and moral agency as revealed in, among other sources, his memoir The Oak and the Calf (1975), his Nobel Lecture (1970), and his Harvard Commencement Address (1978). It will also consider the significance of his epic four “knot” (volume) historical fiction, The Red Wheel, published between 1971 and 1991. Part III will address the dismal fate of fiction in the twenty-first century in light of Solzhenitsyn’s storytelling.
Issue Date:2009-02
Citation Info:Originally published on
Publication Status:published or submitted for publication
Rights Information:Copyright 2009 Diana E. Sheets
Date Available in IDEALS:2009-03-09
Related Item:Part II available at

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