OUSD > Urban Dreams > Language Arts > Extended Literature - Grade 10 - Solzhenitsyn

 
 

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Description:

Short novel by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, published in Russian in 1962 in the Soviet literary magazine Novy Mir, and published in book form the following year. Solzhenitsyn's first literary work--a treatment of his experiences in the Stalinist labor camps--established his reputation and foreshadowed his masterpiece, The Gulag Archipelago (1973-75). Set in the forced-labor camp in which the author was interned from 1950 to 1953, Ivan Denisovich describes a typical day in the life of an inmate. Published during Nikita Khrushchev's de-Stalinization program, the work was released without interference from Soviet government censors and Solzhenitsyn became an instant celebrity. (© Amazon.com)

Booknotes:

Websites about A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

Author Biography:

Solzhenitsyn was born into a family of Cossack intellectuals and brought up primarily by his mother (his father was killed in an accident before his birth). He attended the University of Rostov-na-Donu, graduating in mathematics, and took correspondence courses in literature at Moscow State University. He fought in World War II, achieving the rank of captain of artillery; in 1945, however, he was arrested for writing a letter in which he criticized Joseph Stalin and spent eight years in prisons and labour camps, after which he spent three more years in enforced exile. Rehabilitated in 1956, he was allowed to settle in Ryazan, in central Russia, where he became a mathematics teacher and began to write.

Encouraged by the loosening of government restraints on cultural life that was a hallmark of the de-Stalinizing policies of the early 1960s, Solzhenitsyn submitted his short novel Odin den iz zhizni Ivana Denisovicha (1962; One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich) to the leading Soviet literary periodical Novy Mir ("New World"). The novel quickly appeared in that journal's pages and met with immediate popularity, Solzhenitsyn becoming an instant celebrity. Ivan Denisovich, based on Solzhenitsyn's own experiences, described a typical day in the life of an inmate of a forced-labour camp during the Stalin era. The impression made on the public by the book's simple, direct language and by the obvious authority with which it treated the daily struggles and material hardships of camp life was magnified by its being one of the first Soviet literary works of the post-Stalin era to directly describe such a life. The book produced a political sensation both abroad and in the Soviet Union, where it inspired a number of other writers to produce accounts of their imprisonment under Stalin's regime. More...

http://www.almaz.com/nobel/literature/Solzhenitsyn.html (Nobel Prize Internet Archive)

Websites about Alexander Solzhenitsyn


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