Solzhenitsyn and Modern Literature

From a 1990 article, on Solzhenitsyn and Modern Literature:

In a narrower context, August 1914 in its new augmented form is simply a great historical novel, one of the great narratives of public and private life in the twentieth century. In its insistence on the importance of individuals and individuality in history, and on the conditioned and conditional but real freedom that individuals possess, it undermines the extremes of social determinism and post-moral, anarchistic individualism—the extremes of Marxism or Structuralism and of the radical, post-moral, “self-reliant” individualism promoted by Carlyle, Emerson, Nietzsche, Ayn Rand, Norman Mailer, and other “imperial selves.” If Solzhenitsyn has helped give back to Russian readers their real history, obscured and lied about for so long by Communist propaganda, he has also given to Western readers something equally precious—an unforgettable example of the moral imagination at work, with the resources of, and in the light of, the Judeo-Christian tradition. In contrast to our avant-garde Establishment, Solzhenitsyn is no degenerate son, no “connoisseur of chaos.”

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