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Sunday, August 03, 2008

The Last Literary Crusader is Dead... where do we go from here?

Alexander Solzhenitsyn, father and undisputed champion of the Modern Russian novel is dead at the age of 89. Back in 1993, while on a fishing trip to Vermont, a friend of mine who lived in the area wanted me to "walk up the road" with him to go meet "some writer dude you might find interesting." Adding that he "couldn't pronounce his name even if he rehearsed it for a month." I got so very close to seeing a real life Nobel Prize winner and a holy vessel of literary truth, but a peculiar set of circumstances came between us and the Man.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn lived in exile in Vermont for years. He went back to Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union, but the times had changed... and at that time, Russia didn't have use for a literary god... there were "other issues" of pressing importance getting in the way. Literature couldn't feed people, that happened to be a simple fact. I wonder how capitalist Russia feels about losing one of its last links to a glorious and momentous past. We may forget (in a digital age) that before we lived off images given to us by technology, there were men and women who by hard work, dedication, art, method or even alchemy, helped us create images in our minds by simply using words. Alexander Solzhenitsyn was such a man. His works outlive him. Now "he belongs to the ages."

I do no justice to his life and work here. The New York Times is running a great article this morning... here is the link: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/04/books/04solzhenitsyn.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin#

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