From September 6-9, 2018, the Institute of Russian Language, History, and Culture of Lyndon State College and Northern Vermont University will host a conference welcoming Solzhenitsyn researchers, including members of the academic community, writers, and museum officers. This International Scientific Conference is titled "Reading Solzhenitsyn" and it seeks to commemorate the contributions of the author, who would have turned 100 this year.
The official languages of the conference will be English and Russian. Presented papers will be included in a book to be published after the conference. The organizing committee is accepting applications currently.
Professor Kevin J. McKenna, a professor in the Department of German and Russian at the University of Vermont, plans to teach a semester-long course devoted to the fiction writing of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.
The course description, provided by the department:
"Often compared both to Fyodor Dostoevsky as well as Leo Tolstoy, the fiction of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1970. His works remain to this day so central to Russian literary culture that in 2006 Russian national television named them, along with Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment and Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, as the major national literary achievements in Russian fiction. In 2011, Time Magazine described Solzhenitsyn’s literary works as the main artistic achievements of the 20th century. To this day Solzhenitsyn’s writings are credited with exposing and “bringing down” the Soviet Union.
The primary goal of this World Lit. 018/118 course will be to derive an understanding of the interplay between 20th-century history, society, and art as depicted in the fictional universe of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s novels, Cancer Ward) and In the First Circle). Closely related in theme, style and substance to the novels, his short story “Matryona’s House” and novella One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich will complete the reading list for this course. At all points of contact with Solzhenitsyn’s fiction one cannot help but pose one of Tolstoy’s original questions: “By what do we [humans] live/ Чем мы живём” and the 20th-century Soviet-era correlation “how does one survive with his/her conscience intact?” To better understand why a literary giant like Solzhenitsyn could not publish his fiction in his own country, this course will also consider the major philosophical, ethical and political constructs of Soviet “socialist realism” as practiced in the USSR in the 20th century."
Foreword Reviews recently announced their 2017 Indie Finalists; they have named March 1917: The Red Wheel, Node III, Book 1 as a finalist in the History category. Foreword Reviews highlights the best of the indie book publishing industry, including independent publishers and university presses. University of Note Dame Press published Book 1 of March 1917 in November 2017 as the first volume in its ongoing The Center for Ethics and Culture Solzhenitsyn Series.
Professor Brian McKenna of University of Vermont will speak at the The Institute of Linguistics, Russian Academy of Sciences at a seminar their task force is hosting in Moscow on 29 May 29 at 3PM. McKenna's presentation is entitled, "No Man Is a Prophet in His Own Land: Vermont’s (USA) Centennial Observance of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s Birth and Life".
From the presentation's abstract:
"December 12, 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of Nobel Prize Laureate Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s birthday. Born in Kislovodsk, Russia, Solzhenitsyn late in life became a resident of Cavendish, Vermont where he and his wife (Natalia Dmitriyevna) raised their three sons over the course of 18 years. Why did this famous and brilliant Russian writer select Vermont for his new “home?” What was life like for a Russian-born writer in the verdant hills and valleys of Vermont? While Solzhenitsyn was certainly a “prophet” in his native Russia in the 1960s-1970s, why did the United States turn its “back” on their “new prophet” following his Harvard Commencement Lecture in 1978? What explains the decision of everyday Vermonters in Cavendish to refuse to abandon Solzhenitsyn following the Harvard Lecture? And in Russia itself, was its proverbial prophet abandoned upon his return to his homeland in 1994? Can, indeed, “prophets” return to their homeland, be it Russia or Vermont? And, if so, how did Russian proverbs sustain the daily life, and influence the literary works of this famous and invaluable Russian writer? To address these questions, analysis will turn to the role of proverbs in Solzhenitsyn’s Nobel Prize Lecture, Мир спасёт красота/ "Beauty Will Save the World" as well as to his novella, Матрёнин двор/ "Matryona's Home"."
The opening of a new exhibition, "Solzhenitsyn at 100: Celebrating the Life and Work of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in Honor of his 100th Birthday", will take place on Saturday, May 19th at the Vermont Historical Society Museum in Montpelier. The exhibit, which will run through the summer, outlines the writer's life with a focus on the twenty years that he and his family called Vermont home (1975-1994).
Prior to the exhibit's official opening, on Thursday, May 17th, University of Vermont Professor Kevin J. McKenna will be the guest speaker at a luncheon hosted by the museum. His talk is entitled, "No Man Is a Prophet in His Own Land’: Russia’s Loss Has Been Vermont’s Gain.” McKenna will present a general introduction to Solzhenitsyn and his life in Cavendish, as well as what his presence in Vermont meant for Vermonters.
This is the Vermont History Museum's "Third Thursday Talk" for May. The presentation will begin at 12:00pm; coffee & water will be provided. Organizers welcome attendees to bring lunch to eat while listening.
Attendees will have a chance to view the Solzhenitsyn exhibit, which officially opens Saturday, May 19th.
Natalia Solzhenitsyn, the author's widow, who was in Paris for the Paris Book Fair, has given an extended interview to Le Figaro. Read the English translation here, or the original here. Mrs. Solzhenitsyn talks about her life with the author, his love of France, his work on the Russian Revolution, and the current state of relations between Russia and the West.
On March 21st, the Vermont General Assembly passed a resolution in Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's honor. Ignat Solzhenitsyn and representatives of Cavendish, Vermont were on hand in Montpelier to be presented with official copies of Resolution HCR-199.
March 1917: The Red Wheel, Node III, Book 1 was selected by the Association of University Presses for the 2018 Book, Jacket, and Journal Show. Jeff Miller, a designer with Faceout Studio, and Wendy McMillen, production and design manager of the University of Notre Dame Press, collaborated on the design. The design was one of 53 chosen from a total of 375 submissions. The show is held each year to celebrate the year's best work in design and production in university presses. The show will be exhibited across the U.S. from June 2018 to May 2019; the first show opens June 17th in San Francisco during the 2018 AUPresses Annual Meeting
Since 1965, the Association of University Presses has held the Book, Jacket, and Journal Show each year to highlight achievements in design and production in university presses. The winning books and journals for 2018, selected by jurors in New York City, will be displayed in the annual catalog and the traveling show, which premiers in San Francisco on June 17, and continues throughout North America until May 2019.
This year's annual meeting of the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages (AAATSEEL) took place on February 3rd in Washington, D.C, where Professor Kevin McKenna of University of Vermont presented a lecture entitled, “‘What Men Live By’: Leo Tolstoy’s Proverb-Parable As a Source for Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s Novel, Cancer Ward.”
McKenna's paper will be published at a later date.
On January 23rd, author and historian Margo Caulfield led a book discussion of One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich in Ludlow, Vermont at Fletcher Memorial Library.
Caufield is the author of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: The Writer Who Changed History, an introduction to Solzhenitsyn's life and writings, published in 2016.
On 17 January, the Union of Moscow Architects announced the project winner, Andrei Nikolaevich Kovalchuk, selected by their jury from a Russia-wide field of design projects competing to build the new Solzhenitsyn monument on ul. Solzhenitsyna (Solzhenitsyn Street) in Moscow in connection with the writer’s upcoming centennnial.
The novelist Jeff Bursey reviews March 1917, Book 1, suggesting that it is very much a modernist novel, even as History herself emerges as a "skillfully drawn character in this portrait of Russia on the eve of its transformation".
The Union of Moscow Architects has unveiled an exhibit of the various projects competing to be awarded the right to build a major monument to Solzhenitsyn in Moscow. The winner will be announced on 7th December.
As reported by Digital Journal, The Solzhenitsyn Foundation and the Memorial organization have partnered in backing the creation of a new monument by sculptor Georgy Frangulyan, which was unveiled as a part of a memorial for Soviet-era victims of political repression in Central Moscow. Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke at the memorial's dedication and quoted Natalia Solzhenitsyn in his remarks.