On the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s classic, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, when even the BBC is remembering the event, I think it might be appropriate to remind readers of one of the most important rules of language etiquette—indeed all etiquette—which is to respect the freedom of civilised people to express honestly held opinions without fear that they might be beaten senseless with metal bars, sent to jail for a couple of years, or cut in Bond Street or on the Tverskaya.
In that spirit I would like to reproduce a diary entry about Solzhenitsyn from Auberon Waugh (son of Evelyn Waugh, the author of Brideshead Revisited etc.) which was published in Private Eye, the English satirical magazine, thirty years ago. I think it is self-explanatory:
With hindsight, dear reader, do you think that is (or was) fair?