All posts for the month December, 2009

The problem with Solzhenitsyn

Not entirely in the festive spirit, I’ve been reading Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s Invisible Allies (trans. Alexis Klimoff and Michael Nicholson; London: Harvill, 1997) with my usual set of mixed feelings. He’s not the greatest writer the world has ever seen, but he is very readable. Last time I read The Gulag Archipelago in full, I couldn’t […]

Four short links: Dostoevsky

1. The Complete Works of Dostoevsky. A really pioneering website; the concordance and Gospel, with Dostoevsky’s textual markers, are a must for any scholar. It’s been around for years, and used to be very slow (in the late nineties when I was working on my PhD, searches were best conducted after midnight — at other […]

Fairytale and reality in Gulag narratives

The fairytale metaphor is a recurring feature a large number of Gulag narratives, both fictional and non-fictional, and it stands out because most of these texts are otherwise determinedly unmetaphoric. Amid the stark language habitually used to narrate the experience of the Gulag, aimed at depicting the harshness of reality, there are recurring images of […]

Reading lists

I’ve started compiling reading lists on the two main areas of my current research: Gulag narratives and Dostoevsky. There are a couple of reasons for doing this. They will eventually, I hope, be decent resources for other people, but it’s also about keeping track of things for myself. They’re both very much in the initial […]