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The Gulag Archipelago

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The Gulag Archipelago
Italian cover
AuthorAleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Original titleАрхипела́г ГУЛА́Г
TranslatorGeneviève Johannet, José Johannet, Nikita Struve (French)
Thomas P. Whitney (English)
PublisherÉditions du Seuil
Publication date
Published in English
Media typePrint (Hardback & Paperback)
LC ClassHV9713 .S6413 1974

The Gulag Archipelago (Russian: Архипелаг ГУЛАГ) is a book in three volumes by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. The gulags were the forced labour camps in the Soviet Union from the 1930s to the 1950s.

The narrative relies on accounts from people who experienced the events, including the author himself, who was a prisoner in one of the labour camps. The book was written between 1958 and 1968. It was published in the West in 1973. In the Soviet Union, the book circulated in samizdat until its official publication in 1989.

The word "archipelago" compares the network of labor camps to a vast chain of islands.

Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the formation of the Russian Federation, The Gulag Archipelago is included in the high-school curriculum in Russia. It has been compulsory reading for high-school students since 2009.

Literary criticism[change | change source]

  • "It is a warning to us all of what it means to lose freedom, but it is a warning to tyrants as well, that they can never hope to win in the end".[1]
  • "To live now and not to know this work is to be a kind of historical fool missing a crucial part of the consciousness of the age".[2]

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. Watson, Peter 2009. Ideas: a history, from Wittgenstein to the world wide web, vol 2. London: The Folio Society, p189.
  2. Webb W.L. book review in the Guardian, quoted in Berg, David & Feiffer, George 1972. Solzhenitsyn: a biography. London: Hodder & Stoughton, p315.

Other websites[change | change source]

Quotations related to The Gulag Archipelago at Wikiquote