The Solzhenitsyn Reader - Intercollegiate Studies Institute

The Solzhenitsyn Reader

New and Essential Writings, 1947–2005

$22.00 $17.60

“This expansive, convenient ‘greatest hits’ fills a gaping void on the shelves for those interested in dipping further into Solzhenitsyn.” —Chicago Sun-Times

In this one volume you will find a rich and representative selection of the voluminous works of Nobel Prize–winning author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, one of the truly monumental figures of the twentieth century. More than a quarter of this material has never before appeared in English.

“The Reader contains some of Solzhenitsyn’s best poems, short stories, speeches, and essays. To have these in one place is a delight.” —Claremont Review of Books

“This thoughtfully edited volume succeeds in reflecting the richness of Solzhenitsyn’s writings.” —National Review


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The Russian writer and Nobel laureate Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was one of the truly monumental figures of the twentieth century.

After spending time in the Soviet gulag and pursuing the life of an underground writer, he was catapulted to international fame with the unexpected publication of One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich in 1962. His unyielding and courageous opposition to the twentieth century’s most powerful totalitarian regime eventually led to his exile to the West in 1974, where he was given a hero’s welcome. He was soon marginalized because his witness to the truth did not spare the West, yet all his writings have from the beginning illumined the age of ideology and spoken with depth and eloquence to the enduring human condition.

This reader, compiled by the distinguished Solzhenitsyn scholars Edward E. Ericson, Jr., and Daniel J. Mahoney with the cooperation of 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 a 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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“A superb volume with a terrific introduction that places Solzhenitsyn’s life and thought in clear context.” —John Barron, Chicago Sun-Times

“This thoughtfully edited volume succeeds in reflecting the richness of Solzhenitsyn’s writings; it offers an excellent sampling of both his fiction and his nonfiction, as well as an informative introductory essay and short introductions for each selection. It goes a long way to make the prolific author accessible to readers unable or unwilling to read his entire output, and helps us assess his place in twentieth-century literature and social-political debates.” —National Review

“A noteworthy publishing event . . . As both an introduction to Solzhenitsyn and a collection of some of his best writing, the book will be a splendid resource for many years. . . . The Reader contains some of Solzhenitsyn’s best poems, short stories, speeches, and essays. To have these in one place is a delight. . . . The editors’ good judgment derives from their extensive knowledge of Solzhenitsyn, which probably matches that of any American scholar or journalist alive today. . . . The selections in The Solzhenitsyn Reader confirm what the editors suggest in the opening pages: the author’s life almost defies belief. Born in Russia one year after the Bolshevik seizure of power, he outlived the political system that persecuted him, surviving its horrible network of labor camps while documenting its myriad crimes. Solzhenitsyn’s writings are indispensable for understanding the twentieth century. For those who would like to sample that corpus generously, the Reader is an excellent place to begin.” —Claremont Review of Books

“A textured picture of the writer as an unrelenting artist . . . ; a flexible and theologically minded philosopher; . . . an often daring stylist; and a political and nationalist ‘ideologue’ only in the eyes of predisposed critics.” —Philadelphia Inquirer

“I was, I should admit, at first doubtful that the drama and intensity of Solzhenitsyn’s longer works would come across as powerfully in excerpted form, but I need not have worried. Whichever one you start with, whether it’s The First Circle, Cancer Ward, The Gulag Archipelago, or The Red Wheel, you are immediately absorbed into Solzhenitsyn’s world.” —The American Conservative

“If a single figure summarizes the meaning of the twentieth century—in its magnificent highs no less than its miserable lows—it is Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Like all masters of culture both ancient and modern, his work transcends academic categories. As the editors make clear, Solzhenitsyn embraces the empirical and the ethical, the national culture of Russia and the global condition of Western civilization. The cloth of heroism is woven in respect for everyday life. Solzhenitsyn knows this, and this fine collection is a stark testament to the precious gift of his life and the enrichment he has given to ours.” —Irving Louis Horowitz, Hannah Arendt Distinguished University Professor of Sociology and Political Science, Rutgers University

“An indispensable one-volume collection.” —Acton Institute

“A significant volume that presents perhaps a better overview of the total range of the author’s work than any previous compilation.” —American Review

“An excellent book, comprehensive and reasonably priced, and it includes extracts from Solzhenitsyn’s verse, short stories, novels, nonfiction, and speeches. Some of the contents have never before been accessible to those who don’t speak Russian.”—Canadian Review of Books

“Finally, we have a reader that includes many of Solzhenitsyn’s well-known works as well as previously unpublished writings that reveal new dimensions of his thought. Edward Ericson and Daniel Mahoney have done a great service for Western civilization and for the conscience of mankind by making available the inspiring prose and poetry of a great hero of the twentieth century.”—Robert P. Kraynak, Director of the Center for Freedom and Western Civilization, Colgate University

“This book is a remarkable effort at clarifying and presenting a great oeuvre. In gathering together and choosing wisely from texts of different genres (poems, short stories, novels, essays, speeches, etc.), Edward Ericson and Daniel Mahoney give readers the means to appreciate the extraordinary amplitude of Solzhenitsyn’s art and thought. In addition, they provide masterly introductions that go to the heart of the matter and clear up many misunderstandings. This work is an exercice d’admiration that is also a considerable scholarly achievement.” —Philippe Bénéton, Professor of Law and Political Science, University of Rennes, France

“You want a Solzhenitsyn reader, because he is one of the greatest writers, and greatest men, of our times. And you want Edward Ericson and Daniel Mahoney to edit this reader, because no one has been more devoted to Solzhenitsyn, or is more knowledgeable about him, than they. This book is a perfect happening. It inspires deep gratitude.” —Jay Nordlinger, National Review

“This handsomely produced volume includes a judicious selection from the great Russian writer’s works and a handy gathering of essays and speeches. Moreover, it includes some previously untranslated material. . . . The introduction by editors Ericson and Mahoney is not a perfunctory bit of business but rather a clear-headed assessment of Solzhenitsyn’s standing today and a penetrating summary of his outlook.” —Books & Culture

“Solzhenitsyn is revealed as a man whose deep humanity was forged under the pressure of imprisonment and police harassment. He is not, as his critics claim, calling for return to the past. Rather, he advocates a society based on the best wisdom of the past and present, grounded on transcendent values.” —Shepherd Express

“This volume, with a comprehensive preface and informative introduction to each part, was compiled with the full approval and cooperation of Solzhenitsyn and his family. Its aim is clearly to correct what they see as the gross misrepresentation of Solzhenitsyn’s views, especially in the West.” —Times Literary Supplement

“Ericson and Mahoney are to be congratulated in assembling this collection of Solzhenitsyn’s corpus. Their introductions to the various offerings provide the reader with an understanding of the focus of the work, its genesis, and outline. I am personally grateful that they included his Harvard Address that illustrates Isaevich as the true Platonic philosopher/prophet, where he fearlessly engages the academy in questions they have no desire to hear let alone answer.” —American Thinker

“In The Solzhenitsyn Reader, two experts on [his] work (Ericson was the editor of the abridged Gulag Archipelago) offer a sweeping selection from his writings, and also provide a long and helpful introduction describing his life and summarizing his basic convictions.” —Touchstone

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.” —Midwest Book Review

“This expansive, convenient ‘greatest hits’ fills a gaping void on the shelves for those interested in dipping further into Solzhenitsyn.” —Chicago Sun-Times

“If [Solzhenitsyn] had only written history, his contribution to our understanding of political terror and totalitarianism would be incalculably great. But he also gave us the artist’s moral vision. And that is something that Russia—and the West—need now more than ever.” —Religion & Liberty

“Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s life and works are a testimony to moral, political, and literary courage. His short stories, novels, speeches and his own experiences convey, perhaps more than any other author, the drama, terror and heroism that manifested themselves throughout one of humanity’s most violent and decisive periods. By collecting excerpts from these works together in one volume, the editors have performed a valuable service for English readers seeking to understand the forces and ideas that gave birth to and continued to support totalitarianism long after its bankruptcy was realized.” —C2C: Canada’s Journal of Ideas

“Fittingly, The Solzhenitsyn Reader ends as it began, with poetry. Solzhenitsyn may be as austere as a monk, as stern as a prophet, as astute as a sage, as indefatigable as an athlete, and as mighty as a warrior, but his soul is that of a poet. It is here, in the prosodic depths, that the essential Solzhenitsyn is to be discovered.” —Chronicles

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