Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who has died aged 89, was a prolific novelist and memoirist, whose life’s work, in the best traditions of Russian literature, transcended the realm of pure letters. He was a moral and spiritual leader, whose books were noted as much for their ethical dimension as for their aesthetic qualities. Between 1968 and 1976, he was a towering figure in the twin worlds of literature and politics, expressing the pain of his long-suffering people and single-handedly challenging the autocratic government of one of the world’s two superpowers.
Solzhenitsyn’s moral authority was not easily earned. It was the fruit, in p (more…)