Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Literary Birthday – 11 December – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was born 11 December 1918, and died 3 August 2008.


  1. The sole substitute for an experience which we have not ourselves lived through is art and literature.
  2. A state of war only serves as an excuse for domestic tyranny.
  3. You only have power over people so long as you don’t take everything away from them. But when you’ve robbed a man of everything, he’s no longer in your power – he’s free again.
  4. Violence does not and cannot flourish by itself; it is inevitably intertwined with lying.
  5. For a country to have a great writer is like having a second government. That is why no regime has ever loved great writers, only minor ones.
  6. If we live in a state of constant fear, can we remain human?
  7. I am of course confident that I will fulfil my tasks as a writer in all circumstances — from my grave even more successfully and more irrefutably than in my lifetime. No one can bar the road to truth, and to advance its cause I am prepared to accept even death. But may it be that repeated lessons will finally teach us not to stop the writer’s pen during his lifetime? At no time has this ennobled our history.
  8. The battleline between good and evil runs through the heart of every man.
  9. Talent is always conscious of its own abundance, and does not object to sharing.
  10. Woe to that nation whose literature is cut short by the intrusion of force. This is not merely interference with freedom of the press but the sealing up of a nation’s heart, the excision of its memory.
  11. Literature becomes the living memory of a nation.
  12. Own only what you can always carry with you: know languages, know countries, know people. Let your memory be your travel bag.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was a Russian novelist, historian, and critic of Communist totalitarianism. His best known books are Cancer WardThe Gulag Archipelago, and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. Solzhenitsyn was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1970.


Bert Verhoeff for Anefo, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons for Image

source for quotes

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 11th December 2013