Ease My Sorrows (Magill's Literary Annual 1984)
On December 7, 1954, Lev Kopelev left the Marfino sharashka, the prison in a former church called Ease My Sorrows, as a free man. In the hell which was the Stalinist prison system, the sharashkas were the first circle: special scientific and technical institutes staffed by prisoners. The prisoners, including engineers, mathematicians, and other technicians, spent their time on research, experimentation, and translation.
It was the last which enabled Kopelev to find himself in such relatively comfortable surroundings instead of in the forests and uranium mines of Siberia. In the sharashka, Kopelev translated technical articles from German, English, Italian, Polish, and other languages, worked on linguistics, and devised a method of recording and reading voiceprints. It was there that Kopelev met Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn; the two became close friends, and Kopelev later served as the model for Lev Rubin in Solzhenitsyn’s V kruge pervom (1968; The First Circle, 1968); In fact, Kopelev’s connections with the Russian intelligentsia were helpful in publishing Solzhenitsyn’s first book, Oden den’ Ivana Denisovicha (One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich), in the literary journal Novy Mir in 1962.
This volume, however, is much more than the recounting of time spent in prison. It is the story of a man’s life. Ease My Sorrows is the third volume of Kopelev’s memoirs,...
(The entire section is 1464 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1984)
Choice. XXI, January, 1984, p. 711.
Library Journal. CVIII, September 1, 1983, p. 1702.
The New York Review of Books. XXX, October 13, 1983, p. 9.
The New York Times Book Review. September 18, 1983, p. 7.
Publishers Weekly. CCXXIV, July 22, 1983, p. 126.
(The entire section is 31 words.)