The Dream of Western Law: Legal Layers in Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago
Acta Juridica Hungarica, Vol. 53, No 1, pp. 72-82 (2012)
11 Pages Posted: 1 Jun 2012
Date Written: June 1, 2012
This essay discusses Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago from the aspect of “law and literature.” As a starting point, it argues that its “legal” reading is of a high relevance, since it helps us to better understand both the reality of Soviet law and the achievements of our legal systems. In order to illustrate this, it examines various legal layers embedded in the work: legal history, sociology of the punishment, criminal investigation, organizational sociology and psychology, and legal theory. In addition, the essay also focuses on the role of Western Law as a contrast in Solzhenitsyn’s work, and analyzes its metaphorical language about law. To conclude, it argues that this book could caution lawyers of the consequences of a politically-oriented approach to law that disregards the fundamental values of Western law.
Keywords: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Gulag Archipelago, Soviet law, law and politics, values of Western law, law and literature
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