MOSCOW — Alexander Solzhenitsyn's wife on Thursday presented the initial three volumes of the first full collection of his works to be published in Russia, a country still struggling with the legacy of the oppressive era he documented.
It was a cherished moment for the aging Nobel laureate, who has been through prison camps and exile and, Natalya Solzhenitsyn said, feels the "draining of the life force" as his 88th birthday approaches. He was not at the presentation and his wife did not elaborate on his health.
"Alexander Isayevich told me that the French have a saying: 'Nothing comes too late for he who is able to wait,' " Natalya Solzhenitsyn said.
With financial support from a state-owned bank, the 30-volume project to be completed in four years marks the latest twist in what the reclusive author's wife called the "very dramatic fate of Solzhenitsyn's books," which helped reveal the brutality of the Soviet system and dictator Josef Stalin's labor camps.
Solzhenitsyn won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1970. The only previous major collection of his works, in 20 volumes, was published decades ago in Paris.
The new collection is to comprise those works and others, as well as material that has never been published -- including a diary he wrote during the quarter-century that he worked on his 10-volume saga about the Russian Revolution, "The Red Wheel," his wife said.
The three volumes presented Thursday include one book of stories and "August 1914," the two-volume first part of "The Red Wheel." There were no known plans to publish the collection in English.