All posts tagged Gulag

No worse than English prisons…

My work on nineteenth-century narratives about Russian imprisonment and exile has not only led me to read the classics that established the genre, notably Dostoevsky’s House of the Dead and Chekhov’s Sakhalin Island, but has also necessitated ploughing through many less celebrated works by both travellers and former prisoners and exiles. (See my previous post […]

The Gulag fantastic?

I have just finished teaching a new cross-cultural course, Tales of the Unexpected, with my colleague Peter Zusi. A whistle-stop tour through the fantastic and supernatural from the Grimm brothers to H. P. Lovecraft, the course has been great fun, but beyond the appearance of Gogol (his Ukrainian folktale ‘Vii’) and Dostoevsky (the classic work […]

Keeping Faith with the Party

I’ve been working on my research project on narratives of imprisonment, hard labour and exile for several years now, and am at last making concrete progress with my book. While I’m completing it, I plan to use the blog to organize my notes by writing short reflection pieces on primary and secondary sources as I read […]

Discovering Ivy Litvinov

A post for Women’s History Month A few weeks ago whilst preparing for my final-year undergraduate Dostoevsky class I plucked an old translation from my shelf that I’d bought a couple of years previously at the Amnesty shop in Shoreditch boxpark. I’d barely looked at it before – I tend to collect old Dostoevsky translations […]

Women in the Gulag

I always welcome new contributions to the study of the Gulag, particularly (because it is a dimension that remains much less explored than the history) those that focus on personal experiences of the Soviet labour camp system and the writings associated with it, so I was looking forward to reading Paul R. Gregory’s Women of […]

New publications: the spatial turn

I have a couple of recent publications to announce. The first is on Shalamov: ‘Mapping Space as Factography: Human Traces and Negated Genres in Varlam Shalamov’s Kolymskie rasskazy,’ Slavonica, 19.1 (April 2013), 1-17 ) (£). The second, co-authored with John Levin, is  ‘Mapping Machines: Transformations of the Petersburg Text’, The Spatial Turn in Literary Studies, Primerjalna književnost (Comparative Literature) 36.2 (2013). […]

Russian prison experience

Last week I participated in a workshop titled ‘Punishment as a Crime? Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Prison Experience in Russian Culture’, at Uppsala University’s Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies. The programme, which is available here, was notable for its wide range of papers and approaches. The imperial, soviet and post-soviet periods were all covered, and […]

Four short links: Gulag

A number of Gulag sites have come or returned to my attention recently, so this is a quick round-up of the best (for reasons I won’t go into, I’m rather short of time at the moment and the longer posts I’m trying to write are somewhat behind schedule). I’ve not included the virtual museums I […]

Varlam Shalamov and the art of defecation

With apologies to any readers of a sensitive disposition, this is an important subject. Pretty much every Gulag narrative makes mention of the primitive toilet facilities and prison cells and camps – the ubiquitous and foul-smelling parasha (slop bucket) and arrangements for its emptying – and there are plenty of references to feelings of shame […]

Dostoevsky and the Gulag

I’ve started work on a paper on the depiction of criminals in labour camp writing for a workshop later this summer, and as Dostoevsky is one of my starting points, this has led me to revisit the broader question of the role of recurrent references to him in Gulag literature. This post is not intended […]