"As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame; / [ . . . ] Each mortal thing does one thing and the same: / Deals out that being indoors each one dwells; / Selves -- goes itself; 'myself' it speaks and spells, / Crying 'What I do is me; for that I came'." --Gerard Manley Hopkins

04 August 2008

Alexander Solzhenitsyn, RIP

One of the greatest men -- perhaps the greatest man -- of the twentieth century has died.

If you aren't ready to tackle Gulag Archipelago or Cancer Ward, try One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich to begin to understand the horror that was Stalinist Russia.

But Solzhenitsyn saw the wrong directions of the West, as well. Here are two of his addresses which serve as reminders of who we have become and why, and what we must do to rectify our errors:

The Templeton Address

The Harvard Commencement Address

These ideas made him unpopular after the initial warm reception which followed his exile from Russia. But he was not concerned with the praise of men; he was concerned to speak the truth as he saw and understood it, and hope that men of good will would be able to hear and embrace it, however hard it may be.

May he rest in peace with the God he served.


predictablepoet said...

I clearly remember reading the Harvard Commencement Address as my introduction to Solzhenitsyn. His words were both spellbinding and incisive...

We have seen the passing of a genuinely GREAT man.

smilimano said...


I know, you do not understand, but I'm a Szolzsenyicin-fan! :)

and read pls, my Sharon 9/11, too!