Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr (Isayevich)


Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr (Isayevich)

biographical name

(born Dec. 11, 1918, Kislovodsk, Russia—died Aug. 3, 2008, Troitse-Lykovo, near Moscow) Russian novelist and historian. He fought in World War II but was arrested in 1945 for criticizing Joseph Stalin. He spent eight years in prisons and labour camps and three more in enforced exile. With One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (1962), based on his labour-camp experiences, he emerged as an eloquent opponent of government repression. He was forced to publish later works abroad, including The First Circle (1968), Cancer Ward (1968), and August 1914 (1971). In 1970 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Publication of the first volume of The Gulag Archipelago (1973), one of the greatest works in Russian prose, resulted in his being charged with treason. Expelled from the Soviet Union in 1974, he moved to the U.S., at the time enjoying worldwide fame. In the late 1980s glasnost brought renewed access to his work in Russia but also a loss of interest in it and in the prophetic role he claimed for himself in Russian history. In 1994 Solzhenitsyn ended his exile and returned to Russia. From 1998 to 2003 he published installments of his autobiography, “The Little Grain Managed to Land Between Two Millstones,” and in 2007 he was awarded Russia's prestigious State Prize.

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