Thursday, March 14, 2013

Solzhenitsyn at Harvard

Since most writers have forgotten-- or have no idea-- what a real literary intellectual looks like, I've decided to post a link to Alexander Solzhenitsyn's controversial Harvard speech. The reader doesn't have to agree with everything he says to see the strong vision, intellectual clarity, and moral force this man embodied. Compared to Solzhenitsyn, those put forth today as great novelists and literary thinkers, like Jonathan Franzen and David Foster Wallace, are visionless pygmies.

Interesting to see the speech posted at a Columbia University web site, since high academia today has scant interest in intellectual freedom-- as well as holding disregard, if not disdain, for Solzhenitsyn's kind of spiritual ideas.

1 comment:

JeffOYB said...

Thanks for the link to the speech. Here's something that caught my eye: "We have been through a spiritual training far in advance of Western experience. Life's complexity and mortal weight have produced stronger, deeper and more interesting characters than those produced by standardized Western well-being." Have stories of these people escaped from the USSR or the former-USSR even now? Has Russia yet been able to tell any of its Soviet-era stories of (tragic) heroism? I wonder if there's any hope for a future for the Great Russian Novel. I can imagine that as far as any mainstream that they're as bad off as we are, but perhaps the Underground has had something to offer like it has for us?