Sunday, February 8, 2015

Risk Taking Researcher - week #1 (Julia)

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Introduction, forward, pages 3-22
Risk Taking Researcher 

As we start reading this book, it is important to know more about the author. Alexander Solzhenitsyn was born in December 11, 1918 and died in August 3, 2008. He was a Russian novelist, historian and critic of the Soviet totalitarianism. His mom, Taisiya Solzhenitsyn married Isaakiy Solzhenitsyn, a young officer in the Imperial Russian Army of Cossack origins and fellow native of the Caucasus region. On June 15, 1918 shortly after Taisiya's pregnancy was confirmed, Isaakiy was killed in a hunting accident. Alexander was raised by his mother and aunt in low circumstances. Alexander married  Natalia Alekseevna Reshetovskaya on April 7, 1940. After one year of married life, Solzhenitsyn went into the army and then to the gulag. They divorced in 1952, a year before his release, because wives of Gulag prisoners faced loss of work or residence permits. After the end of his internal exile, they remarried in 1957 and divorced again in 1972. In 1973, he married Natalia Dmitrievna Svetlova, a mathematician. Together they had three sons. 
During WWII, Solzhenitsyn served as the commander of a sound-ranging battery in the Red Army. In February 1945, while serving in East Prussia, Solzhenitsyn was arrested for writing derogatory comments in private letters to a friend, Nikolai Vitkevich. He was accused of anti-Soviet propaganda and of "founding a hostile organization." Solzhenitsyn was taken to the Lubyanka prison in Moscow, and was sentenced to an eight-year term in a labour campIn 1950, he was sent to a "Special Camp" for political prisoners. During his imprisonment at the special camp, he worked as a miner, bricklayer, and foundry foreman. His experience in this special camp formed the basis of the book One Day in the life of Ivan Denisovich. While there Solzhenitsyn had a tumor removed, although his cancer was not diagnosed at the time. In March 1953, after his sentence ended, Solzhenitsyn was sent to internal exile for life. His undiagnosed cancer spread until, by the end of the year, he was close to death. However, in 1954, he was permitted to be treated in a hospital, where his tumor went into remission. Solzhenitsyn died of heart failure near Moscow on 3 August 2008, at the age of 89.

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  1. Hi Julia,
    I really liked your post, and I think that it is important to learn about the author, especially in this book which is kind of an autobiography. First of all, something that surprised me from your post was how Alexandr was so old when he died! I would never imagine that someone who lived part of their life in a gulag would live so long, don't you agree? In addition, I had no idea that in the prison they had a place that could remove tumors. Finally, I would like to conclude asking you a question. Why do you think that propaganda, at that time, could indicate a reason for going to prison?

  2. After reading your I comment I learned a lot about the background of the author. Something that I also learned from reading about the book Alexander Solzhenitsyn wrote is that the book is told by an anonymous individual that speaks in the third person which may help with understanding the book better.

  3. Julia,
    I think its always important important to learn about the life of the author from any book you read especially this one, One Day in the life of Ivan Denisovich, because you could classify this book as a auto-biography . By reading your post , I found out more about what was Alexander's like and all the challenges he face, for instance he was arrested and even faced exiled. Overall, great post!