Farewell to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Last week, as I was walking past a newspaper vendor, I stopped in my tracks. The headline was a stunner: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn had passed away.

I wasn’t blogging last week, but I still want to take a moment to acknowledge the departure of this incredible human being. (Can we turn down the news about politicians’ extramarital affairs and the Olympics for just a moment?)

The news, laments at his passing, and tributes to his wisdom, have been emerging across the Internet by people who knew much more about him than I do. So I’ll refer you to some of those links.

But I will bring back a quote I posted a few months ago, one that relates to much of what we discuss here at Looking Closer:

It’s from Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s 1978 Nobel lecture on literature:

The task of the artist is to sense more keenly than others the harmony of the world, the beauty and the outrage of what man has done to it, and poignantly, to let people know. Art warms even an icy and depressed heart, opening it to lofty, personal experience. By means of art we are sometimes sent dimly, briefly, revelations unattainable by reason, like that little mirror in the fairy tales. Look into it and you will see not yourself but for a moment, that which passes understanding, a realm to which no man can ride or fly and for which the soul begins to ache.

Here are a few of the links worth noting:

Rod Dreher

Charles Colson with Anne Morse

And here are links offered by ArtsJournal:

Globe & Mail

Chicago Tribune

Philly Inquirer


Rutland Herald

last interview


American Spectator

Wash Times

Irish Times

neighbors speak




London Times

Irish Times




Der Spiegel

1978 Harvard speech

Putin & Gorbachev

old Buckley column

Daily Mail


Moscow Times

Open Democracy


Nat’l Post


Ottawa Citizen

Boston Globe

Nat’l Post




Christian Post

German papers

New Statesman


Wall Street Journal

Khrushcev’s daughter

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About Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet has two passions: writing fiction, and celebrating art — music, cinema, photography, literature — through writing and teaching. He is the author of a “memoir of dangerous moviegoing” — Through a Screen Darkly. And his four-novel fantasy series, The Auralia Thread, which begins with Auralia's Colors, was published by Random House. He speaks at universities and conferences around the world about understanding art through eyes of faith. He is earning his MFA in Creative Writing at Seattle Pacific University, where he has worked for 11 years as an editor, writer, and communications project manager. His work has been recognized in The New Yorker, TIME, The Seattle Times, IMAGE, Ravi Zacharias International — and Christianity Today, where he served as a film journalist for more than a decade. He recently began a weekly column called "Listening Closer" for Christ and Pop Culture.