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The Other Solzhenitsyn: Telling the Truth about a Misunderstood Writer and Thinker

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The Other Solzhenitsyn: Telling the Truth about a Misunderstood Writer and Thinker Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Synopsis:

The great Russian writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918–2008) is widely recognized as one of the most consequential human beings of the twentieth century. Through his writings and moral witness, he illumined the nature of totalitarianism and helped bring down an ‘evil empire. His courage and tenacity are acknowledged even by his fiercest critics. Yet the world-class novelist, historian, and philosopher (one uses the latter term in its capacious Russian sense) has largely been eclipsed by a caricature that has transformed a measured and self-critical patriot into a ferocious nationalist, a partisan of local self-government into a quasi-authoritarian, a man of faith and reason into a narrow-minded defender of Orthodoxy. The caricature, widely dispensed in the press, and too often taken for granted, gets in the way of a thoughtful and humane confrontation with the “other” Solzhenitsyn, the true Solzhenitsyn, who is a writer and thinker of the first rank and whose spirited defense of liberty is never divorced from moderation. It is to the recovery of this Solzhenitsyn that this book is dedicated. This book above all explores philosophical, political, and moral themes in Solzhenitsyns two masterworks, The Gulag Archipelago and The Red Wheel, as well as in his great European novel In the First Circle. We see Solzhenitsyn as analyst of revolution, defender of the moral law, phenomenologist of ideological despotism, and advocate of “resisting evil with force.” Other chapters carefully explore Solzhenitsyns conception of patriotism, his dissection of ideological mendacity, and his controversial, but thoughtful and humane discussion of the “Jewish Question” in the Russian – and Soviet twentieth century. Some of Solzhenitsyns later writings, such as the “binary tales” that he wrote in the 1990s, are subject to critically appreciative analysis. And a long final chapter comments on Solzhenitsyns July 2007 Der Spiegel interview, his last word to Russia and the West. He is revealed to be a man of faith and freedom, a patriot but not a nationalist, and a principled advocate of self-government for Russia and the West. A final Appendix reproduces the beautiful Introduction (“The Gift of Incarnation”) that the authors widow, Natalia Solzhenitsyn, wrote to the 2009 Russian abridgment of The Gulag Archipelago, a work that is now taught in Russian high schools.

Table of Contents

Foreword

Chapter 1

An Anguished Love of Country: Solzhenitsyns Paradoxical Middle Path

The Ideological Deformation of Reality

Recovering Truth and Memory

A False Consensus

A “Lucid” Love of Country

An Exacting Patriotism

A War on Two Fronts

A New Mission

Self–Inflicted Wounds

The Pathologies of the Russian Right

Orthodox Universalism: The Other Extreme

The Question of Tone

A Theorist of Self–Government

Beyond Tired Polemics

Chapter 2

“The Active Struggle Against Evil”: Reflections on a Theme in Solzhenitsyn

Vorotyntsev and Stolypin

A Pusillanimous Monarch

Moral Freedom and Political Liberty

The Soul of Man Under Socialism

The Camp Revolts

Resisting Evil With Force

Chapter 3

Nicholas II and the Coming of Revolution

Conclusion

Chapter 4

The Artist as Thinker: Reflections In the First Circle

The Three Pillars

The Two Versions

“But We Are Only Given One Conscience, Too”

A Crucial Encounter

The Decisive Metanoia

Beyond Fanaticism and Skepticism

The Remarkable Continuities of Sotzhenitsyns Reflection

Chapter 5

A Phenomenology of Ideological Despotism: Reflections on Solzhenitsyns “Our Muzzled Freedom”

An Introduction: Theorizing Totalitarianism

The Soul and Barbed Wire

“Free Life” in a Totalitarian Regime

Constant Fear

Secrecy and Mistrust

Complicity in the Web of Repression

Betrayal as a Form of Existence

Corruption versus Nobility

The Lie as a Form of Existence

Class Cruelty

Slave Psychology

Conclusion: Remembering Everything

Chapter 6

Two Critics of the Ideological “Lie”: Raymond Arons Encounter with Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Letter to the Soviet Leaders

A Parisian Encounter

Solzhenitsyn and Sartre

Misconceptions About Russia

Two Spiritual Families?

Chapter 7

Solzhenitsyn, Russia, and the Jews Revisited

From Belligerence to Understanding

Rejecting the Temptation to Blame

Renegades and Revolutionaries

The Fortunes of Soviet Jewry 131 Repentance and Responsibility

Solzhenitsyns Moral Challenge

The Holocaust

Solzhenitsyns Non Possum

Chapter 8 The Binary Tales: The Soul of Man in the Soviet –and Russian–Twentieth Century 

Chapter 9 Freedom, Faith and the Moral Foundations of Self–Government: Solzhenitsyns Final Word to Russia and the West

A Life Rooted in Conscience

A State Prize

The Prospects for Repentance

An Archival Revolution

Two Revolutions

Two Hundred Years Together

Learning About the Past

Three Leaders

Building Democracy From the Bottom Up

A Meaningful Opposition

Parties and Popular Representation

Making Room for Small Businesses

A “National Idea”?

Russia and the West

The Future of Russian Literature

The Church in Russia Today

A Man of Faith and Reason

Three Prayers

An Encounter With the Polish Pope 1

Orthodoxy and the Neo–Pagan Temptation

A Calm and Balanced Attitude Toward Death

Notes

Appendix 1

“Really Existing Socialism” and the Archival Revolution

Wooden Words

Red Holocaust

Black Book

Gulag Memoirs

Testaments to Violence and Lies

History and the Totalitarian Temptation

Appendix 2

Introduction: Returning to ‘The Gulag

The Gift of Incarnation

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9781587316135
Author:
Mahoney, Daniel J.
Publisher:
St. Augustine's Press
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Biography-Literary
Edition Description:
1
Publication Date:
20140731
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

Related Subjects

Biography » Literary
Biography » Political
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General

The Other Solzhenitsyn: Telling the Truth about a Misunderstood Writer and Thinker New Hardcover
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Product details 256 pages St. Augustine's Press - English 9781587316135 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
The great Russian writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918–2008) is widely recognized as one of the most consequential human beings of the twentieth century. Through his writings and moral witness, he illumined the nature of totalitarianism and helped bring down an ‘evil empire. His courage and tenacity are acknowledged even by his fiercest critics. Yet the world-class novelist, historian, and philosopher (one uses the latter term in its capacious Russian sense) has largely been eclipsed by a caricature that has transformed a measured and self-critical patriot into a ferocious nationalist, a partisan of local self-government into a quasi-authoritarian, a man of faith and reason into a narrow-minded defender of Orthodoxy. The caricature, widely dispensed in the press, and too often taken for granted, gets in the way of a thoughtful and humane confrontation with the “other” Solzhenitsyn, the true Solzhenitsyn, who is a writer and thinker of the first rank and whose spirited defense of liberty is never divorced from moderation. It is to the recovery of this Solzhenitsyn that this book is dedicated. This book above all explores philosophical, political, and moral themes in Solzhenitsyns two masterworks, The Gulag Archipelago and The Red Wheel, as well as in his great European novel In the First Circle. We see Solzhenitsyn as analyst of revolution, defender of the moral law, phenomenologist of ideological despotism, and advocate of “resisting evil with force.” Other chapters carefully explore Solzhenitsyns conception of patriotism, his dissection of ideological mendacity, and his controversial, but thoughtful and humane discussion of the “Jewish Question” in the Russian – and Soviet twentieth century. Some of Solzhenitsyns later writings, such as the “binary tales” that he wrote in the 1990s, are subject to critically appreciative analysis. And a long final chapter comments on Solzhenitsyns July 2007 Der Spiegel interview, his last word to Russia and the West. He is revealed to be a man of faith and freedom, a patriot but not a nationalist, and a principled advocate of self-government for Russia and the West. A final Appendix reproduces the beautiful Introduction (“The Gift of Incarnation”) that the authors widow, Natalia Solzhenitsyn, wrote to the 2009 Russian abridgment of The Gulag Archipelago, a work that is now taught in Russian high schools.
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