• Francis Barker


To follow the development of the writing of Alexander Solzhenitsyn is to record a process; it is to chart the degeneration of a radical opposition to the Soviet bureaucratic regime into an authoritarian moralising. The fierce egalitarianism of the early novels has become obscured by the more widely publicised elitism of Solzhenitsyn’s more recent political positions. The double chorus of apologists for state bureaucracy on the one hand and Western bourgeoisie on the other provide an oblique index of this process, rivalling each other in the volume and high pitch of the voices in which they greet each new publication. They begin with a concensus. The appearance of the first short novel One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. in 1962 marked, for elements then powerful in the Soviet regime, the entry into ‘our literature’ of ‘a powerful talent’, ‘a true helper … in a sacred and vital cause’,1 while for the Western commentator the same book evinced ‘powerful realism’, it was ‘a major artistic accomplishment’.


Soviet Leader Soviet Society Prison Life Dissident Intellectual Lenin Prize 
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  1. 1.
    K. Simonov, ‘ About the past in the name of the future’, Izvesti. (Moscow, 18 November 1962),Google Scholar
  2. Reprinted in L. Labedz, Solzhenitsyn: A Documentary Recor. (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1972) p. 41.Google Scholar
  3. 2.
    P. Zhilin, ‘How A. Solzhenitsyn sang of the Vlasovites’ [sic] Betrayal’, Izvesti. (Moscow, 28 January 1974), reprinted in The Last Circl. (Novosti Press Agency Publishing House, 1974) p. 102.Google Scholar
  4. 7.
    See E. Mandel, ‘Solzhenitsyn, Stalinism and the October Revolution’, New Left Revie., 86 (1974) pp. 51–61.Google Scholar
  5. 8.
    A. Solzhenitsyn, Cancer War. (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1971) p. 472.Google Scholar
  6. 10.
    See C. Moody, Solzhenitsy. (Edinburgh: Oliverand Boyd, 1973) p. 17.Google Scholar
  7. 15.
    A. Solzhenitsyn, The First Circl., trans. M. Guybon (London: Collins/Fontana, 1970) p. 306.Google Scholar

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© Francis Barker 1977

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  • Francis Barker

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