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Solzhenitsyn’s Refusal

In response to:

The Solzhenitsyn Archipelago from the December 3, 1998 issue

To the Editors:

I would like to respond to a question raised in a footnote to Michael Scammell’s review of D.M. Thomas’s Alexander Solzhenitsyn:A Century in His Life [NYR, December 3, 1998].

Mr. Scammell states, correctly, that I was “…in possession of a complete edited version of Thomas Whitney’s translation of volume one of The Gulag Archipelago,” but he adds, incorrectly, that I “…declined to show it to Solzhenitsyn’s Swiss lawyer….”

The fact is that when I was still Solzhenitsyn’s legal representative in the West, the author told me that the version edited by my husband and myself was to be destroyed and the translation begun at ZERO (A.S.’s emphasis). When Solzhe-nitsyn appointed the Swiss lawyer as his sole representative in the West, I twice offered him the edited translation and he twice pointedly refused it, favoring instead Mr. Whitney’s unedited version, presumably in accordance with his client’s wishes.

Accounts of the complex, Solzhenitsyn-directed events which led to the “fiasco” referred to by Mr. Scammell appear in my Solzhenitsyn and the Secret Circle (1978) and Under a New Sky (1993).

Olga Andreyev Carlisle
San Francisco, California

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