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The Solzhenitsyn Reader: New and Essential Writings, 1947-2005 [Hardcover]

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Item description for The Solzhenitsyn Reader: New and Essential Writings, 1947-2005 by Jr. Edward E. Ericson...

This reader, compiled by renowned Solzhenitsyn scholars Edward E. Ericson, Jr., and Daniel J. Mahoney in collaboration with the Solzhenitsyn family, provides in one volume a rich and representative selection of Solzhenitsyn's voluminous works. Reproduced in their entirety are early poems, early and late short stories, early and late "miniatures" (or prose poems), and many of Solzhenitsyn's famous---and not-so-famous---essays and speeches. The volume also includes excerpts from Solzhenitsyn's great novels, memoirs, books of political analysis and historical scholarship, and the literary and historical masterpieces The Gulag Archipelago and The Red Wheel. More than one-quarter of the material has never before appeared in English (the author's sons prepared many of the new translations themselves). The Solzhenitsyn Reader reveals a writer of genius, an intransigent opponent of ideological tyranny and moral relativism, and a thinker and moral witness who is acutely sensitive to the great drama of good and evil that takes place within every human soul. It will be for many years the definitive Solzhenitsyn collection.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   650
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.9" Width: 6.6" Height: 1.5"
Weight:   1.5 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Nov 1, 2006
Publisher   Intercollegiate Studies Institute
ISBN  1933859008  
ISBN13  9781933859002  

Availability  0 units.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > History > Europe > Former Soviet Republics & Siberia
2Books > Subjects > History > Russia
3Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Politics > General

Reviews - What do customers think about The Solzhenitsyn Reader: New and Essential Writings, 1947-2005?

The Cost of Smithing Words   Nov 26, 2007
The first time I read anything by Solzhenitsyn was when I was given the opportunity to see his Nobel Speech from 1970 and learn of some of the horrors he had seen just because he was a writer. That day he said many things, too, and of all the words he threw into the audience one thing stuck with me. This isn't to say that everything he said didn't hit like a hammer because it did, but one statement, one paragraph, truly redefined the edges of suffering and made me think about what the word writer really meant. While remarking on the Gulags he made the comment:
"A whole national literature remained there, cast into oblivion not only without a grave, but without even underclothes, naked, with a number tagged on to its toe. Russian literature did not cease for a moment, but from the outside it appeared a wasteland! Where a peaceful forest could have grown, there remained, after all the felling, two or three trees overlooked by chance."
This took me by surprise and, reading more and more of his work, I came to understand how close he tiptoed the edge of a potent razor.

In this compendium of work compiled by Erikson and Mahoney, even the most casual of readers will be given a glimpse into a world that they might not even know existed. It mixes the casual with the terrible, the happy with the sad, creating a loom upon which one can truly look into the heart of the writer and see that he is crafting truths. The Gulag Archipelago was perhaps the most amazing of the pieces here, although the Red Wheel and other mentioned pieces are also well worth mentioning. Also worth mentioning is the fact that this book was translated in part by his son, allowing him to keep intact many of the truths he wanted so much to tell, and that many of these words are words that have never been printed in English. This means that the worlds that many people have never seen before, those forged by iron and starvation and by the silence that comes from being crushed by a curtain cast in iron, are on display and should be read and reread because they have meaning.
They are more history than history in many parts and more revolution than most revolutionaries ever dream of becoming. As both an author and a person willing to face expulsion from his country and death by his countrymen he did what few would ever think of doing; he continued to write so that the suffering he saw would never be forgotten.

When I recommend this read, I recommend it on many levels. First, I think it has something to say and, secondly, it managed to touch me as it said it. This peaks volumes on the subject and on the way the author conveys the subject, taking my mind into places too horrible to be fanciful flights of even the most convincing horror writer. Third, it works as a historical medium, reminding us what freedom entails and where all the Russian forces of nature went when their pens fell silent. That, most of all, is a reason to read this: how many pens churned in what was once a forest simply to be silenced?
Powerful is just a word until you see it taking form.
Expand Your Mind  Nov 8, 2007
I'm a newcomer to Solzhenitsyn's writings but after reading his One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, I was anxious for more. This Reader provides just the sampling I desired. It is not only valuable from the literary aspect but also from the historical. I gained insight regarding the Bolshevik Revolution, especially the dehumanizing effect of the Soviet regime under Lenin and Stalin. The effect on Solzhenitsyn of imprisonment in the labor camps is truly remarkable and spiritually edifying.
A seminal contribution to academic library collections  May 12, 2007
Expertly compiled and collaboratively co-edited by Edward E. Erickson, Jr. (Professor Emeritus of English, Calvin College) and Daniel J. Mahoney (Professor of Politics, Assumption College), "The Solzhenitsyn Reader: New And Essential Writings 1947-2005" is a compendium of the literary, philosophical, and political writings of Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn who was born on December 11, 1918 in Kislovodsk, Russia, underwent twenty years of involuntary exile in the West, and after the collapse of the Soviet Union, returned to live in Moscow and continue writing his observations and commentaries about the social, ethical, and political issues of our time. Solzhenitsyn is a Nobel laureate whose writings spoke truth to power, whose courage against a totalitarian regime led to his exile from his native country, whose commitment to ethics marginalized him in the democracies of the west, and whose poetry, short stories, novels, essays, and speeches are as relevant today as they were over the past four decades of his controversial career. Reflecting and demonstrating his life's work to date, "The Solzhenitsyn Reader" is a seminal contribution to academic library collections and especially recommended reading for students of Political Science, Russian Studies, European History, and Russian Literature.
Major Step Forward for English Readers  Dec 23, 2006
This set is a major step forward to the presentation and understanding of Solzhenitsyn to English speaking readers. It is a process that will still take years, but I suspect this volume will be pivotal.

In the early days, the writer's books were rushed into print with so-so or even poor translations because of their timelineness and importance. His exile to USA happened at the crest of his frame, but the political establishment was post-Watergate mediocority and the literary establishment not up to speed to help; we were not ready for him. Any great writer and/or polemicist is going to be controversial to somebody. And Solzhenitsyn's voice is a shrewd construct made of turning Soviet literary realism against itself, juiced up with a vocabulary simultaneously streetwise, grand, goading. Understand Russian or not, you really need hear him speak sometime. There is really no equivalent figure in English, modern or ancient, here or in Britain. You would have to conceive of Upton Sinclair as an experimental literary giant plus a man of subtle moral dimensions, then put him in the body of the old prize fighter John L. Sullivan, and finally put him on a soapbox with all the scary zeal of an early century 20 labor rabble rouser. The closest personal affinity Solzhenitsyn found in his own fiction (minus core belief, of course) was Lenin. Solzhenitsyn is the anti-Lenin. And even more. To our soundbite culture, he just looks crazy. We prefer our Rooskies to be chummy vodka drinkers with a wink in their eye, or comradely cosmonauts. In our own history we only produced such figures just before and during the civil war era. The experience scorched our national soul with fire for good and doubtless killed some brain cells; we want the benefit of being on the good side of such turbulence, but don't want to look into that well too deeply for those old issues anymore, whatever they may be. We cover the hallowed ground with platitude, and allow a black gospel singer to replicate the pitch for us on public occasion, then back to business. We in this nation are now so far into such denial as to risk a repeat along new fault lines. This sad and tragic process is known as history.

Professors Ericson and Mahoney have emerged in recent years as the key interpreters of the Solzhenitsyn cyclone for us, and let nobody convince you it is not a cyclone. Truth doesn't come easy; come here if you dare. If the headlines are old, the second fiery wind of artistic sophistication, fully schooled by the giants of literary modernism, is still to be experienced. For Solzhenitsyn resembles Tolstoy only in scope; in the great Russian tradition of literary engagement (unlike our consensus seeking) the game is to take such giants on, and Solzhenitsyn does on every level. Ericson and Mahoney here not only do an able job, but a superlative job of explication, choice, and presentation of the writer, fresh as if for the first time (in some sense it is). Each vital and core statement is here, many in new translations, plus new things from the entire career we haven't yet seen in English. Excerpts are made very well; the greater artistic treasures beyond this set are previewed. The volume works for both those coming new to the writer and those of us who have been following him for decades. I was especially gratified to find major doses of Cancer Ward, a great and dense modern novel wrestling with the nuclear core of what went haywire worldwide in century 20. Then Matryona's House -- is this the best story in any language for 200 years, or what? Yeah, Ivan Denisovich seems missing in action -- but that sui generis masterpiece has remained readily available everywhere at all times. Everybody now knows Ivan worldwide, as they also know the term GULAG. So Ivan does not require this volume, though oddly his creator still does.

The editors expand our understanding, but also set out verdicts in concise statement: "Solzhenitsyn is, in truth, a liberal conservative who wants to temper the one-sided modern preoccupation with individual freedom with a salutary reminder of the moral ends that ought to inform responsible human choice." The editors thus make the case that the writer is within, not without, the arena of modern political dialogue (ie., a liberal in the classic sense, not a traditionalist or nationalist). And within that dialogue, one bringing in the lessons of the past, not a mantra for endless "change" running clear off the tracks (like the "Red Wheel" of Soviet communism -- introduced metaphorically in filmic scenario as a burning wagon wheel broke loose early in August 1914). After a lot of misunderstandings still at large, then, it is both safe and sound to let Professors Ericson and Mahoney teach. Here is a writer worth inhabiting for your own lifetime, and may the wind be at your back -- you'll need it to stay ahead of the fire.
Superb collection of a Moral and Literary Giant.20 Stars**************************  Dec 18, 2006
Alexandr Solzhenitsyn is an intersting figure,a moral giant ,Shakespearean in his essence, equalled only by John PaulII and Nelson mandela among recent historical personage. Shamefully,disgustingly ignored by the left, exploited,shamelessly co-opted by the right,cafeteria style[much like JPII} he stradles above both camps,like Gulliver among Lilliputians. This collection, beautifully done considers the whole of the Canon,from stories written in the 1930's ending with his recent prose-poems[which are quite lovely and distinctive} A Large portion of the book are excerpts from THE RED WHEEL, his Magnum Opus,of which only the first two volumes[called Knots by the author] have been translated into English. The Red Wheel has been chewed and spit out by critics,though I cannot see why. It is in the great Russian literay tradition, long and varied and narrative and lovely. The overwhelming Chapter from the Gulag ArchipelagoII,THE ASCENT, is here, as are his major novels, speeches{the Nobel, Harvard and templeton adresses are here}.An essential volume to understand no just the 20th century, but the hole which exists in our post-postmodern world.

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