Gulag narratives: a bibliography and metadata project (version 1)

Some years ago, when this blog was a new venture, I started an annotated reading list of Russian and Soviet labour camp narratives. My aim initially was to expand it over time, but as one so often finds, there never is time, and it has lain neglected for several years now, despite fairly regular comments […]

Raskolnikov on Twitter

For the last few days on Twitter @RodionTweets has been tweeting Crime and Punishment in real time from Raskolnikov’s perspective. A collaborative project developed by a group of North-American and British colleagues, we have each been responsible for turning one part of the novel into tweets. As my contribution for Part II begins, I repost here […]

Reading Gulag propaganda

As regular readers will know, I am currently working on a book manuscript on the Russian tradition of prison and exile writing, from the tsarist era to the present day. This is a subject that generally focuses, with good reason, on the victims’ perspective, and many people will disagree with the idea of including Stalinist […]

Historical memory of the Gulag (3): Contested memory

The failure to establish a central memorial to the victims of the Gulag mentioned in my previous post is part of a problem of contested memory that has been apparent since the demise of the Soviet Union but has escalated in the last decade or so. As Arseny Roginsky’s eloquent essay The Embrace of Stalinism shows, […]

Historical memory of the Gulag (2): Memorials, maps and other memory projects

Since the final years of the Soviet Union, memorializing the victims of the political repressions – in itself a curious formulation that indicates some of the problems associated with this subject – has remained a significant and, to a large extent, unresolved question. Historical memory projects can obviously have all sorts of different aims: the […]

Historical memory of the Gulag (1): Memory books

I’ve been thinking about historical memory of the Gulag and the Stalinist repressions recently whilst working on my book, and have decided to put together a few posts of links relating to the subject. This is partly from my own need to organize the material coherently, and partly because an up-to-date list would, I hope, […]

The Russian Museum in Málaga

Last week I visited the new Spanish outpost of the State Russian Museum, Collección del Museo Ruso in Málaga. I’d read about the plans for it last year, so was delighted that its opening coincided with my stay in Granada, where I’ve been hiding away on research leave and writing my book since early January […]

Modern Languages Open

This week has seen the launch of Modern Languages Open, an open access publishing platform for scholarly research in all modern languages and their cultures – one of the most exciting aspects of the project is that it brings a more global perspective to a field that has traditionally defined itself in relation to Europe and its diasporas. As […]

Katorga and exile illustrated

Whilst planning a section of my chapter on pre-revolutionary works on Siberian prison and exile, I’ve been considering the role of images as well as the words, as many of the books I’ve been reading – at least most of those published after around 1880 in the UK and the States, and after around 1900 […]

Convicts and serfs: two books on Russian penal reform

I’m currently reading and re-reading material for a chapter of my book on narratives of prison, exile and hard labour, and have a few thoughts to put in order in relation to two books on Russian penal reform: Bruce F. Adams, The Politics of Punishment: Prison Reform in Russia 1863-1917 (DeKalb: North Illinois University Press, 1996) Abby […]