Alexander Solzhenitsyn turned down a White House invitation because he views himself as an artist, not a ''Soviet dissident,'' he said in a letter to President Reagan.
The Nobel Prize-winning writer said he was insulted by news reports -- never officially denied or corrected -- that presidential advisers counseled against a private meeting with him because he was viewed as an ''extreme Russian nationalist.''
In the letter published by the Rutland, Vt., Herald, Mr. Solzhenitsyn told the President that he ''would be prepared to go for a substantive conversation with you . . . but not for a merely formal ceremony.''