By Harold Bloom

Regardless of persecution and censorship in his place of origin, this Russian author has been capable of produce such vital works as at some point within the lifetime of Ivan Denisovich and The Gulag Archipelago. This identify, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, a part of Chelsea apartment Publishers’ glossy severe perspectives sequence, examines the foremost works of Alexander Solzhenitsyn via full-length serious essays by means of professional literary critics. furthermore, this name incorporates a brief biography on Alexander Solzhenitsyn, a chronology of the author’s lifestyles, and an introductory essay written by means of Harold Bloom, Sterling Professor of the arts, Yale collage.

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They could not therefore use autobiographical material, as Tolstoy was to do in Anna Karenina, and as Solzhenitsyn had already done in The First Circle and Cancer Ward. Both used the personalities of their parents instead; Nikolay Rostov supposedly resembles Tolstoy's father, Nikolay Tolstoy, and Isaaky Lazhenitsyn's name clearly hints at his similarity to Solzhenitsyn's father, Isay Solzhenitsyn. Moreover, Ksenya Tomchak in August 1914 resembles Solzhenitsyn's mother, Taisya Zakharovna Solzhenitsyn (née Shcherbak), and her father, Zakhar Tomchak, resembles his maternal grandfather, Zakhar Shcherbak.

Of course, one can as yet make only tentative comparisons between War and Peace and August 1914, since August 1914 begins a series of an undetermined number of volumes, and is only about half as long as War and Peace. Nevertheless, some things seem clear. While Tolstoy divides his novel more or less equally between war and peace, Solzhenitsyn gives war much more emphasis. Of the fifty-eight fictional chapters in August 1914, only fifteen deal with peace. , as a later chapter will show. It contains two newspaper sections, five film segments, four historical surveys of troop movements, one interpretative historical essay (chapter 40), and six complementary documents—all set off from the fictional chapters.

We learn in chapter 12 that these officers were called "YOUNG TURKS (and with a weak, distant nuance perhaps Decembrists as well? . " Finally, Tolstoy wrote War and Peace in part as a response to the materialism of the radical critics of the 1860s, and Solzhenitsyn wrote August 1914 in order to deal with their twentieth-century admirers. Not surprisingly, then, these groups attacked the two novels. The negative initial response to War and Peace caused Tolstoy to shut himself up in Yasnaya Folyan, cancel his subscriptions to the leading journals of the day, and sulk.

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