Alexandr Solzhenitsyn signed copy of One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

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  • A signed copy of Russian author Alexandr Solzhenitsyn’s acclaimed 1962 novel One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

Alexandr Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008) was born in Stavropol Krai in south western Russia shortly after the October revolution.

In 1945, he was sentenced to eight years in a gulag for complaining about the Soviet regime in a letter to a friend. The harshness of the labour camp served to compound his feelings about life under communism.

Solzhenitsyn wrote in secret for many years, including his time in the gulag. Following the death of Stalin in 1952, the climate of repression in Russia began to ease. 

In 1962, he published One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich in a literary magazine with the blessing of First Secretary Nikolai Khrushchev. However, that brief window of permissiveness closed soon after. This would be the first and last text Solzhenitysn was able to publish in the Soviet Union.

The rest of Solzhenitsyn’s catalogue was published in the West. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1970 and expelled from the Soviet Union in 1974. In 1990 he was permitted to return to Russia, where he lived out the rest of his days.  

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich follows the titular character through 24 hours in a typical gulag. The text exposes the cruelty of the system and the ways in which it crushes the human spirit.

This is a 1978 Penguin edition of the novel (measuring 4.6 x 7 inches).

Solzhenitysn has signed in blue pen on the title page. It’s dated 1980.

The book is accompanied by a note from Solzhenitsyn’s secretary (presumably in reply to a request) that reads: “I am very sorry, but Mr Solzhenitsyn does not grant any autographs (except on his books).”

This is a rare opportunity to own a signature from one of the most compelling and controversial writers of the 20th century.  

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