A great writer dies and his work is celebrated. Or his politics and view of history are laid bare to attack from all sides. That’s the case with William Harrison having a go at Alexander Solzhenitsyn in The Guardian today.
I don’t go along with the increasing trend to canonise everyone before they’ve even been shipped off their deathbed.
But I wonder if sometimes people just go out to shock for the sake of it (as I did, in an entirely different – and lesser – context here). If that was not Mr Harrison’s intent then his critique would have been better founded on something more solid than a few historical articles and the ramblings of an old man who felt uncomfortable with the excesses of capitalism.
On a personal note: I first encountered Solzhenitsyn’s work when I read A Day in the Life of Ivan Desinovich at school. I was the only person in the class who chose to read it. Which made the study groups a rather solitary experience. I thought then, and I think now, that it was the rest of the class who were missing out.