Monday, August 04, 2008

Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn 1918-2008

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn died Sunday.

Cancer Ward and First Circle are among my favorite novels. Gulag Archipelago is a great work of history, but within it "The Soul and Barbed Wire" is a great account of the value of suffering, properly handled. It is true: if we can't handle prison, or even camp, we don't really know how to handle life anywhere. That's a disturbing thought, but disturbing thoughts are good. It's good to keep in mind, if I think I have my life together in some way, "But is it good enough to work in camp?"

So far, it never is. And some day, soon maybe, it will need to be.

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