SOLZHENITSYN, TVARDOVSKY AND NOVY MIR by Vladimir Lakshin

SOLZHENITSYN, TVARDOVSKY AND NOVY MIR

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Many readers of Solzhenitsyn's memoir, The Oak and the Calf (p. 352), have been struck by his compassionate portrait of Alexander Tvardovsky, besieged editor of the literary journal Novy Mir, where he was first published. Not so Lakshin, who worked for Tvardovsky and of whom Solzhenitsyn speaks not altogether flatteringly in The Oak and the Calf. The truth, here, would seem to be at least partly a matter of interpretation. Defending Tvardovsky's record on standing up to the authorities, as well as in personal matters, Lakshin accuses the Nobel laureate of character assassination. Comparing Solzhenitsyn today with the unknown author Novy Mir took up, Lakshin concludes that Solzhenitsyn is consciously attempting to create his own image and rewrite his literary biography. In order to establish his place as a lonely martyr, Lakshin contends Solzhenitsyn must destroy the very people who helped him into print in the first place; and he has assumed the stance of a great writer who was always and ever the same. Lakshin has some letters and other documents to contradict Solzhenitsyn's chronicle, but much of his retort is on an impressionistic level itself. As if to dispel suspicion that Lakshin's polemic is no more trustworthy than Solzhenitsyn's, this volume includes an essay on Tvardovsky by Mary Chaffin and one on ""The Politics of Novy Mir under Tvardovsky"" by Linda Aldwinckle which help to set the whole debate in a context in which the differing views of Novy Mir's editor and Solzhenitsyn on social change--the one devoted to working within the system, the other gradually moving outside--make some sense; but the truth or falsity of the arguments isn't settled here. Lakshin's impassioned text gives reason, perhapS, to question Solzhenitsyn's memory; but Lakshin himself does not comprehend Solzhenitsyn's feelings or his art.

Pub Date: Oct. 30th, 1980
ISBN: 0262620391
Publisher: MIT Press