Read The First Circle by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Free Online
Book Title: The First Circle|
The author of the book: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
ISBN 13: 9780060139490
Format files: PDF, Epub, DOCx, TXT
The size of the: 38.82 MB
Edition: Harper & Row
Date of issue: January 1st 1968
Reader ratings: 5.2
Loaded: 119 times
Read full description of the books The First Circle:
The First Circle of Dante’s Hell—where the souls of the pre-Christian philosophers are doomed to exist throughout eternity—stands in this novel as a metaphor for certain penal institutions of Stalin’s Russia. These were scientific research centers, operating within special prisons and staffed by political prisoners—physicists, mathematicians, electrical engineers, technicians. They were luxurious in comparison with other prisons and the hard-labor camps of the far north—from which many of their inmates were drawn, to which many would return: the prisoners were fed enough to ensure their effectiveness; they slept between sheets. But their prison terms were long, their contacts with the world of freedom minimal, and an administrator’s whim was enough to ship them to the lower circles of Hell.
Much of the action of The First Circle takes place in one such research center on the outskirts of Moscow, during the four days from December 24 through 27, 1949. It ranges from there to the apartments and streets of Moscow…to a university dormitory…to the offices of awesome men with absolute power over the lives of others, who are themselves the terror-ridden chattels of one man. It enters even his small, fortified, windowless workroom. There the 70-year-old Stalin plans a new purge, a new assassination, greater moments to himself…
The hero of The First Circle is the prisoner Nerzhin, a brilliant mathematician. At the age of 31, Nerzhin has, like the author, survived the war years on the German front and the poswar years in a succession of Russian prisons and labor camps. His story is interwoven with the stories of a dozen fellow prisoners—each an unforgettable human being—from the prison janitor to the nearsighted genius who designed the Dnieper dam; the reigning intellectuals and their friends in high places; and the women, wretched or privileged, bound to these men. As we follow Nerzhin’s fortunes we become familiar with the inner paths of an entire society—one vast Inferno—and the diverse ways by which different men and women managed—or failed—to live within it.
Each scene intensely felt; each person passionately realized; a narrative power that seizes the reader and will not turn him loose; a literary mastery unsurpassed by any novelist of our time…these are the qualities of The First Circle. It is a sublime hymn of praise to man, an outpouring of love and pride, a celebration of nobility, courage, selflessness, honor. Nerzhin and his friends are slaves of the most pervasive tyranny modern history has known, deprived of every human right, their wives and families hounded and persecuted. Yet, in the tradition of Russia’s martyr-patriots, they stand radiant as archangels in their afflicted land, their own survival less to them now—dearly though they still love life—than the survival of truth, justice, mercy, freedom.
It is also a denunciation…of one man in particular and the many other men he found to do his will: those he perverted; those who were already corrupt; all those who blighted the bright promise of human life and imposed the dominion of evil on millions. It is the author’s masterpiece…the offering he has created out of his own substance—his pain, his love and his belief—to the place on the altar of humanity.
Read information about the authorAleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn was a Soviet and Russian novelist, dramatist, and historian. Through his writings he helped to make the world aware of the Gulag, the Soviet Union's forced labor camp system – particularly The Gulag Archipelago and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, two of his best-known works.
Solzhenitsyn was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1970. He was exiled from the Soviet Union in 1974 and returned to Russia in 1994. Solzhenitsyn was the father of Ignat Solzhenitsyn, a conductor and pianist.
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