Sunday, February 8, 2015

Week #1: Risk Taker Researcher

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was a Russian novelist and historian he was born on December 11, 1918, in Kislovodsk, Russia. He fought in World War II, but was arrested for criticizing Joseph Stalin and spent 11 years in labor camps and exile. His books such as, One day in the life of Ivan Denisovich, recount his experiences while being there. Solzhenitsyn was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1970 and the Russian State Prize in 2007.
As a child, Solzhenitsyn wanted to be a writer, and by the 1930s he was sending his writings out for publication. Solzhenitsyn attended the University and graduated from the department of mathematics and physics, but he soon went on to fight in World War II. Everything changed for hime until he got arrested for sending letters to a school friend in which he criticized Joseph Stalin. Following his arrest he spent eight years in prisons and labor camps and three years in exile.

By the early 1960's, when the government control had been loosened in Russia, he was allowed to publish his first book called "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" that was based on Solzhenitsyn's own experiences.
In 1964. The political tide soon turned against him when Nikita Khurshchev fell from power. Restrictions on cultural activities were reinstalled. Solzhenitsyn lost publishing privilages and soon had to start publishing through underground means. Despite the oppressive nature of his homeland during this time, he found success internationally, as publishers from around the world scrambled to release his work.
Upon the publication of Arkhipelag Gulag, Solzhenitsyn was charged with treason and exiled from the Soviet Union. He eventually traveled to the United States and settled in Vermont, where he continued to write. In 1998, his autobiography "The Little Grain Managed to Land Between Two Millstones: Sketches of Exile" began appearing in installments. Solzhenitsyn died five years after the final installment was published, on August 3, 2008, in Troitse-Lykovo, Russia.

1 comment:

  1. Ariana,

    I learned a lot about the author and why he chose this book from reading your post. From what I know the author went through the same thing as his character Ivan did. They were both prisoners of the Gulag system during the Soviet Union. Except the author was imprisoned for 11 years. While reading there are very obvious connections between the writer and the author. You can tell from a little bit of the text, and the way that he describes small details is that he is using a little bit of his own experience into the book. Probably not all of the things that happen to Ivan have happened to him but definitely descriptions of places are from his own experience. Which brings me to ask a question which is, why does he not use his own personal experience, and write an autobiography like the rest of the books. Why did he chose to make up a fictional character with very real and scary problems that the author had to most likely go through? I think he based Ivan off of someone he met at the camp while he was there. Because he was there for quite some time, 11 years to be exact. He might have only met Ivan, and then stopped talking to him after one day. Maybe that is why the title is called One day in the life of Ivan Denisovich. So, what do you think?