Monday, September 03, 2012

Solzhenitsyn, the Iliad

I have joked about 2012 being "The Year of the Doorstop" because of the size of the books I've read and plan to read before the end of the year. 2013 will probably prove to be a sequel: "Year of the Doorstop, Part 2," if my plans hold. One of my intended reads is the entire Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. I first read the series when I was a teenager, which means that comprehension and retention were almost nonexistent. I also have the benefit now of Anne Applebaum's remarkable book Gulag: A History.

For those not wanting to tackle three lengthy volumes of Solzhenitsyn's work may be interested in an excerpt from the introduction by Natalia Solzhenitsyn to the abridged version published in Russia in 2010. There's also a supposed introduction to Natalia Solzhenitsyn (although there's little about her). I'm hoping this means the abridged version will be available in English before too long

Speaking of doorstops, in the same issue at the same site is a look at three recent releases of the Iliad: two recent translations by Anthony Verity and Stephen Mitchell plus "Richmond Lattimore’s 1951 translation of the Iliad, which has just been re-issued (without alteration, but supplemented with maps, notes, and a useful introduction by Richard Martin." Looks like I may have at least one more addition to next year's plans from this trio.

Update (5 Oct 2012): Even more on the Iliad, including a look the new translations as well as many older ones.


seraillon said...

I'm far behind on starting Fortunata and Jacinto since I'm trying to finish another doorstop first, but would also be interested in revisiting Solzhenitsyn. I was an adolescent too when I last read him, putting away The First Circle in a single day while recovering from having my wisdom teeth out. I'd be curious to know if I'd find Solzhenitsyn as absorbing how as I did then.

Dwight said...

Don't worry. I haven't started Fortunata yet either...will post something resembling a schedule the middle of September.

I devoured everything that was available by Solzhenitsyn while I was in high school. After reading the restored version of In the First Circle a couple of years ago I have been meaning to revisit more of his work. His Gulag would be a great start, although I'm uncertain on versions. I can pick up the original hardbacks fairly cheap (haven't checked the library yet). Or should I go with a more recent version? I'll need to check on this, which is one reason I'm not in a hurry at this point (that, and the many books I already have lined up to read).

stpetric said...

There is an abridged American edition of the Gulag Archipelago -- see

I don't know (although I'd be interested in finding out) how this edition differs from the Russian abridgement.

Dwight said...

I didn't realize the recent Harper editions that they had an abridged version. Not sure if it's the same or not as in the article, as you said, but nice to know this is available. Thanks!