Thursday, January 07, 2010

In the First Circle summary

In this novel Solzhenitsyn continues his investigation into what he called “the timeless essence of humanity” as well as the “fixed universal concepts called good and justice.” He examines the moral order of the Soviet system and the individuals within it, from Stalin down to a prison janitor. What does it take to defy the evil of such a regime, and what is the cost? What are the failings of the West in understanding the malevolence that lies behind the Soviet mask? While a historical novel, Solzhenitsyn’s quest transcends the time and the setting, looking at basic human questions such as the potential conflict between being a good person and a good citizen. Fortunately we have the uncensored version of the novel available now, which investigates in more detail the transformation within Volodin, leading to the opening phone call and the action of the book. Below are my posts on this work:

Online resources for the author and the book

Discussion on Chapters 1 through 52
Discussion on Chapters 53 through 96

First Circle (1991 movie)

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