Lot 700: TLS, one page, 8.5 x 11, August 25, 1987. Letter to writer and political activist Elie Wiesel, in full: "No, I cannot accept your idea in your letter of August 17. A literary work describes any event immediately from many (and sometimes contradictory) sides, it gives a volume representation of reality, and readers can draw from it sometimes quite different conclusions. Any publicistic work, any political speech unavoidably simplifies and coarsens events, makes them unilinear, attaches to them an overly insistent vector. Thus, no—this is not at all an author's task." In fine condition.
Though frequently connected in literary criticism for their eyewitness accounts of life in a labor camp—Solzhenitsyn writing about the atrocities of the Soviet Gulag, and Wiesel telling the horrors of life in a Nazi concentration camp—the two authors held major differences in both approach and objective, as is evident in this sharp letter. Despite their differences, Wiesel frequently defended Solzhenitsyn; the year before this letter was written, the publication of an expanded version of August 1914 led to mass outcry that the latter was an anti-Semite. Wiesel publicly spoke out against these charges, remarking that the author was 'too intelligent, too honest, too courageous, too great a writer. For Solzhenitsyn to be an anti-Semite would be wholly out of character.' Letters by the prolific Russian writer are quite scarce in general, and with its important literary association, this one in particular is an exceedingly desirable example.
RR Auction's Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction 458
Wednesday, 12th August 2015
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