We linked to the New York Times obituary for Nobel laureate Alexander Solzhenitsyn yesterday. Here’s a fresh selection of commentary and tributes to his life and work.
Reverence but No Outpouring for Solzhenitsyn. On Monday, national leaders expressed admiration for Mr. Solzhenitsyn, but there did not seem to be the kind of outpouring that arises when a beloved figure dies. The relatively subdued response raised the question of whether Mr. Solzhenitsyn’s life and work still resonated in a Russia that is far different from the Soviet Union it replaced. — NYT
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn ended up bothering almost everyone. Liberals once welcomed him to our shores in the 1970s as a kindred voice of free expression and resistance to authority — only to see him work at the Hoover Institution and then lecture them at Harvard in 1978 on the moral consequences of left-wing appeasement of the Soviet Union. And when he condemned protesters that had opposed the Vietnam War, Daniel Ellsberg, and American popular culture, the estrangement from the American Left was complete. Who in the post-1960s wished to be reminded that a surrender to the appetites, material gratification, atheism, and an absence of pride in one’s own nation were the classical ingredients of civilizational decadence and decline? — National Review Online
One word of truth shall outweigh the whole world. It can be all too easy to call for the spread of freedom around the globe from the comfortable security of the United States. Solzhenitsyn is one who spoke out from the icy confines of a prisoner’s cell, memorizing his work when he didn’t have pen and paper–let alone a laptop and internet access–to record it. He adamantly refused to be silent and in finding his own voice against tyranny gave voice to countless silent victims around the globe. — Red State
The Man Who Kept On Writing. Dostoyevsky even at his most chauvinistic was worth a hundred Mikhail Sholokhovs or Maxim Gorkys, and Solzhenitsyn set a new standard for the courage by which a Russian author could confront the permafrost of the Russian system. — Slate