August 04, 2008

Solzhenitsyn: R.I.P.

A great light (perhaps one of the greatest of our time) has died.

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On ISI's First Principles Journal, today, they have reprinted the great 1978 "Harvard Commencement Address" excerpted from The Solzhenitsyn Reader: New and Essential Writings 1947-2005. As the editors say: "There was indeed a 'measure of bitter truth' contained in Solzhenitsyn’s powerful 1978 address. But far from being inspired by hostility to the West, Solzhenitsyn refuses to break faith with a civilization still capable of drawing intellectual and spiritual sustenance from 'the moral heritage of Christian centuries with their rich reserves of mercy and sacrifice.'" Be sure to read it.

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My favorite piece by Solzhenitsyn is his Nobel Acceptance lecture. It's a powerful and compelling plea on behalf of beauty: "Like that little looking-glass from the fairy-tales: look into it and you will see - not yourself - but for one second, the Inaccessible, whither no man can ride, no man fly. And only the soul gives a groan..."

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I keep thinking of the words of St. Maximilian Kolbe: "Let us prepare to suffer and work. We will rest after death." He certainly did suffer and work. And his writing are some of the most prescient and powerful writings of our time.

I hope and pray that now he is resting.

(Image source)

1 comment:

  1. I love that quote from St. Maximillian Kolbe. I have a lot of reading to catch up on in my ISI reader on Solz!