Notre Dame Press releases complete first English translation of Solzhenitsyn memoir

Author: Kathryn Pitts

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Credit: Eduard Gladkov

The University of Notre Dame Press has published the concluding volume of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's two-part memoir of the West, "Between Two Millstones, Book 2: Exile in America, 1978-1994," which is a first-ever English translation and offers insight on the author's life during those years. The memoir was translated by Clare Kitson and Melanie Moore, has a foreword by Solzhenitsyn expert Daniel Mahoney and is part of the Center for Ethics and Culture Solzhenitsyn Series

Solzhenitsyn — widely regarded as one of the most important writers of the last century — won the 1970 Nobel Prize for literature, and his 1973 masterpiece, “The Gulag Archipelago,” exposed the system of forced labor camps in the Soviet Union. “Between Two Millstones” is a two-volume work chronicling Solzhenitsyn’s 20 years of exile in the West — the pain of being separated from his homeland and the chasm of miscomprehension between him and Western society. Book 1, translated by Peter Constantine, was published by Notre Dame Press in 2018

Solzhenitsyn, also author of "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich," was charged with treason in 1974 and exiled to the West upon publication of "The Gulag Archipelago." He lived quietly and reclusively for nearly two decades in Vermont, where his neighbors fiercely guarded his privacy.
This long-awaited English translation picks up Solzhenitsyn’s remarkable and courageous literary and personal life in 1978, after his controversial commencement address at Harvard University, and concludes in 1994, as he bids farewell to the West and prepares at last to return to his Russian homeland with his brilliant wife, Natalia. Insightful, at times humorous, and always focused on his family, faith and work, this book reveals the whirlwind of literary and humanitarian activity that was taking place at Solzhenitsyn's rural New England estate, as well as the author’s travels and perceptions on political, religious and literary figures of the era.

In 2018 — the centenary of Solzhenitsyn’s birth and the 40th anniversary of his Harvard commencement address — Notre Dame launched several initiatives connected to the work of this towering 20th-century writer and thinker. In addition to publications and academic conferences, Notre Dame's Hesburgh Libraries have among the most extensive holdings in the United States related to the life and work of Solzhenitsyn.

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Originally published by Kathryn Pitts at on Oct. 30.