This issue of the magazine includes:
• Review: Benedict Sarnov on the Solzhenitsyn Phenomenon
Benedict Sarnov, a literary critic and historian of Soviet literature, was born in Moscow in 1927. He has been extremely productive in the last two decades, publishing two extensive volumes of memoirs, several biographical works and four parts of the extraordinary historical panorama Stalin and Writers, not to mention several collections of articles. One of his latest books deals with Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the writer who “exploded” the Soviet literary scene in 1962 and received the Nobel Prize eight years later, a man of titanic energy who battled the totalitarian empire that would exile him in revenge and itself collapse quite soon thereafter. Nevertheless, the writer’s final metamorphosis was connected with significant losses of both literary talent and human grace. Many of his old supporters began to openly oppose him. Sarnov analyzes the case of Solzhenitsyn not only from the sidelines, but also traces the evolution of his own attitudes to the writer. The reviewer pays special attention to the chapter where Sarnov writes about Solzhenitsyn’s infamous book on the history of Jews in Russia, agreeing with Sarnov’s definitive conclusions: “The cause of the collapse that took place with the author of this work was ideology. The nationalist ideology overpowered him and soured his conscience, his intellect, his sense of logic and his gift.”
• Synopses: On Photography by Susan Sontag Published in Russian
This brief essay, inspired by the long-awaited Russian edition of Susan Sontag’s renowned book, focuses on the problem of the “crisis of faith” which, according to Sontag, coincided in time with Niépce and Daguerre’s invention of photography.
• Looking Through Russian Literary Magazines: Novels and Articles of Jewish Interest
• Jewish Calendar of Significant Dates: January–February 2014
• Bibliography: 35 New Books