This week has finally seen the publication of my article ‘Knowing Russia’s Convicts: the Other in Narratives of Imprisonment and Exile in the Late Imperial Era’ in Europe-Asia Studies. It’s a special issue based on the Villains and Victims workshop which I wrote about previously, and it contains some great articles that really reflect what an amazing event that was.
My contribution, comparing attitudes to peasant convicts in Dostoevsky’s Notes from the House of the Dead, Chekhov’s Sakhalin Island and Kennan’s Siberia and the Exile System, relating particularly to the question of knowledge, represents my first shift backwards from Gulag narratives into pre-revolutionary prison/exile texts, which has subsequently generated a whole new approach to the subject. Some ideas relating to that will appear in an essay in a forthcoming collection based on last year’s workshop on prison experience in Russian culture, and I’m working on a book manuscript that will eventually bring everything together.
For readers who do not have institutional access to Europe-Asia Studies, click here for a free e-print – I have 50 of these to give away and will remove the link once they’ve all gone.