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ERIC Number: EJ863123
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Dec
Pages: 15
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0895-4852
Solzhenitsyn's Second Exile
Ericson, Edward E., Jr.
Academic Questions, v22 n4 p463-477 Dec 2009
When Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn entered the world stage in the 1960s, the West interpreted him without preconceptions. Then the West turned against him with a vengeance. The great exception to this turn was France--"France!"--where virtually all of his writings appeared in translation and where intellectuals took instruction from him on the nature of communism, generated "The Black Book of Communism," and made a place for him at televised roundtables on world affairs. The United States, where Solzhenitsyn lived for eighteen years, showed little such intellectual receptiveness and indeed did the worst job of all in dealing with his texts. Persons of a certain age will remember their first impression of Solzhenitsyn as a model of courage, a teller of truth, and a fighter for freedom. The press, after transmitting this heroic image, took only about a decade to pigeonhole him politically and, getting out its long knives, left his literary corpus for dead and his character shredded into an unrecognizable caricature. The herd of independent minds (to use Harold Rosenberg's famous image) then tramped on down the road looking for fresh meat, leaving behind a public confused by the carnage. Thus, two conflicting accounts of Solzhenitsyn remain in the American consciousness, and the abiding question has been which depiction will prevail. This article introduces the story of Solzhenitsyn's Western reception. (Contains 51 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: USSR