MOSCOW (AP) — Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the Nobel Prize-winning author whose books chronicled the horrors of the Soviet gulag system, has died of heart failure, his son said Monday. He was 89.
Stepan Solzhenitsyn told The Associated Press his father died late Sunday, but declined further comment.
Solzhenitsyn, on the West:
Until I came to the West myself and spent two years looking around, I could never have imagined to what an extreme degree the West had actually become a world without a will, a world gradually petrifying in the face of the danger confronting it . . . All of us are standing on the brink of a great historical cataclysm, a flood swallows up civilization and changes whole epochs. — 8 July 1975, testimony to the United States Congress
Solzhenitsyn on the moral decay, rooted in agnosticism and atheism, of the modern world:
It has made man the measure of all things on earth—imperfect man, who is never free of pride, self-interest, envy, vanity, and dozens of other defects. We are now paying for the mistakes which were not properly appraised at the beginning of the journey. On the way from the Renaissance to our days we have enriched our experience, but we have lost the concept of a Supreme Complete Entity which used to restrain our passions and our irresponsibility.
Requiescat in pace.
Update: The Times of London’s article provides a very brief, but sufficiently informative, “Days in the Life of” the late, great Russian author, historian, and laureate.
ISI’s First Principles offers the transcript of Solzhenitsyn’s 1978 Harvard commencement address.
Final Update: Just as I suspected would eventually happen, M’r Larison has written an superb piece of Solzhenitsyn. Read it, here.