Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn quotes

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Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Birthdate: 11. December 1918
Date of death: 3. August 2008
Other names: Aleksandr Isaevič Solženicyn, Alexander Solženicyn, Aleksandr Isaevic Solzhenitsyn

Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn was a Russian novelist, historian, and short story writer. He was an outspoken critic of the Soviet Union and communism and helped to raise global awareness of its Gulag forced labor camp system. He was allowed to publish only one work in the Soviet Union, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich , in the periodical Novy Mir. After this he had to publish in the West, most notably Cancer Ward , August 1914 , and The Gulag Archipelago . Solzhenitsyn was awarded the 1970 Nobel Prize in Literature "for the ethical force with which he has pursued the indispensable traditions of Russian literature". Solzhenitsyn was afraid to go to Stockholm to receive his award for fear that he would not be allowed to reenter. He was eventually expelled from the Soviet Union in 1974, but returned to Russia in 1994 after the state's dissolution.

Works

The First Circle
The First Circle
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Cancer Ward
Cancer Ward
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
The Oak and the Calf
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
The Gulag Archipelago
The Gulag Archipelago
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
The Red Wheel
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Two Hundred Years Together
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

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„Archeologists have not discovered stages of human existence so early that they were without art.“

—  Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Nobel lecture (1970)
Context: Archeologists have not discovered stages of human existence so early that they were without art. Right back in the early morning twilights of mankind we received it from Hands which we were too slow to discern. And we were too slow to ask: FOR WHAT PURPOSE have we been given this gift? What are we to do with it?
And they were mistaken, and will always be mistaken, who prophesy that art will disintegrate, that it will outlive its forms and die. It is we who shall die — art will remain. And shall we comprehend, even on the day of our destruction, all its facets and all its possibilities?

„Here, lads, we live by the law of the taiga. But even here people manage to live.“

—  Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, book One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

Kuziomin, in the Ralph Parker translation (1963).
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (1962)
Context: Here, lads, we live by the law of the taiga. But even here people manage to live. D’you know who are the ones the camps finish off? Those who lick other men’s left-overs, those who set store by the doctors, and those who peach on their mates.

„A return to the forms of religion which perhaps existed a couple of centuries ago is absolutely impossible“

—  Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Interview with Joseph Pearce, Sr. (2003)
Context: The thing is that religion itself cannot but be dynamic which is why "return" is an incorrect term. A return to the forms of religion which perhaps existed a couple of centuries ago is absolutely impossible. On the contrary, in order to combat modern materialistic mores, as religion must, to fight nihilism and egotism, religion must also develop, must be flexible in its forms, and it must have a correlation with the cultural forms of the epoch. Religion always remains higher than everyday life. In order to make the elevation towards religion easier for people, religion must be able to alter its forms in relation to the consciousness of modern man.

„No one on earth has any other way left but — upward.“

—  Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Harvard University address (1978)
Context: Even if we are spared destruction by war, our lives will have to change if we want to save life from self-destruction. We cannot avoid revising the fundamental definitions of human life and human society. Is it true that man is above everything? Is there no Superior Spirit above him? Is it right that man's life and society's activities have to be determined by material expansion in the first place? Is it permissible to promote such expansion to the detriment of our spiritual integrity?
If the world has not come to its end, it has approached a major turn in history, equal in importance to the turn from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. It will exact from us a spiritual upsurge, we shall have to rise to a new height of vision, to a new level of life where our physical nature will not be cursed as in the Middle Ages, but, even more importantly, our spiritual being will not be trampled upon as in the Modern era.
This ascension will be similar to climbing onto the next anthropologic stage. No one on earth has any other way left but — upward.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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