Solzhenitsyn: The Permanence of Tragedy

  • John Orr
Part of the Edinburgh Studies in Sociology book series (ESIS)


Many faults, moral and political, can be detected in the early days of Soviet communism. What could not be denied was its vast reservoir of moral idealism. Only when this is recognised does it make sense to regard the last fifty years of Soviet communism as unique. For never before have so many intense human aspirations been destroyed in such a short period of time. Only during the limitless rule of Stalin was the process perfected. But its legacy remains. In literature, as in Soviet culture generally, the so-called process of de-Stalinisation was merely a breathing space before the reimposition of a less cruel and more faceless tyranny. The doctrine of socialist realism has had its cumulative effect, for sooner or later those who have opposed it have become its victims. The dilemma for any talented Russian writer since Stalin’s death is that of risking his own life in order to breathe life into a corpse. Only an exceptional few have succeeded.


Closed Environment Political Prisoner Labour Camp Soviet Society Prison Life 
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© John Orr 1977

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  • John Orr

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