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

Quotes Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

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„Nations are the wealth of mankind, its collective personalities; the very least of them wears its own special colours and bears within itself a special facet of divine intention.“

—  Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Nobel lecture (1970)
Context: In recent times it has been fashionable to talk of the levelling of nations, of the disappearance of different races in the melting-pot of contemporary civilization. I do not agree with this opinion, but its discussion remains another question. Here it is merely fitting to say that the disappearance of nations would have impoverished us no less than if all men had become alike, with one personality and one face. Nations are the wealth of mankind, its collective personalities; the very least of them wears its own special colours and bears within itself a special facet of divine intention.

„I believe that world literature has it in its power to help mankind, in these its troubled hours, to see itself as it really is, notwithstanding the indoctrinations of prejudiced people and parties.“

—  Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Nobel lecture (1970)
Context: I believe that world literature has it in its power to help mankind, in these its troubled hours, to see itself as it really is, notwithstanding the indoctrinations of prejudiced people and parties. World literature has it in its power to convey condensed experience from one land to another so that we might cease to be split and dazzled, that the different scales of values might be made to agree, and one nation learn correctly and concisely the true history of another with such strength of recognition and painful awareness as it had itself experienced the same, and thus might it be spared from repeating the same cruel mistakes.

„War is the price we pay for living in a state. Before you can abolish war you will have to abolish all states. But that is unthinkable until the propensity to violence and evil is rooted out of human beings.“

—  Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Red Wheel

"Father Severyan", in November 1916: The Red Wheel: Knot II (1984; translation 1999).
Context: At no time has the world been without war. Not in seven or ten or twenty thousand years. Neither the wisest of leaders, nor the noblest of kings, nor yet the Church — none of them has been able to stop it. And don't succumb to the facile belief that wars will be stopped by hotheaded socialists. Or that rational and just wars can be sorted out from the rest. There will always be thousands of thousands to whom even such a war will be senseless and unjustified. Quite simply, no state can live without war, that is one of the state's essential functions. … War is the price we pay for living in a state. Before you can abolish war you will have to abolish all states. But that is unthinkable until the propensity to violence and evil is rooted out of human beings. The state was created to protect us from evil. In ordinary life thousands of bad impulses, from a thousand foci of evil, move chaotically, randomly, against the vulnerable. The state is called upon to check these impulses — but it generates others of its own, still more powerful, and this time one-directional. At times it throws them all in a single direction — and that is war.

„At no time has the world been without war. Not in seven or ten or twenty thousand years.“

—  Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Red Wheel

"Father Severyan", in November 1916: The Red Wheel: Knot II (1984; translation 1999).
Context: At no time has the world been without war. Not in seven or ten or twenty thousand years. Neither the wisest of leaders, nor the noblest of kings, nor yet the Church — none of them has been able to stop it. And don't succumb to the facile belief that wars will be stopped by hotheaded socialists. Or that rational and just wars can be sorted out from the rest. There will always be thousands of thousands to whom even such a war will be senseless and unjustified. Quite simply, no state can live without war, that is one of the state's essential functions. … War is the price we pay for living in a state. Before you can abolish war you will have to abolish all states. But that is unthinkable until the propensity to violence and evil is rooted out of human beings. The state was created to protect us from evil. In ordinary life thousands of bad impulses, from a thousand foci of evil, move chaotically, randomly, against the vulnerable. The state is called upon to check these impulses — but it generates others of its own, still more powerful, and this time one-directional. At times it throws them all in a single direction — and that is war.

„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?

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

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