All posts tagged Shalamov

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 […]

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). […]

From Herzen to Leskov, and back again

I’ve been re-reading Nikolai Leskov’s Cathedral Clergy (Soboriane) in the excellent recent translation by Margaret Winchell (Slavica, 2010) for a new undergraduate course I’m starting to teach in the Autumn, Identities in nineteenth-century Russian literature. The first part of the course – and in many ways the most interesting for me in terms of preparing […]

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 […]

Music Monday: Hooligan

While I was reading up on Sergei Esenin recently (in connection with Shalamov), I was alerted to the song ‘Hooligan’ by Max, Kevin Mooney’s post-Adam and the Ants band, here in a great performance at The Clarendon, Hammersmith in, I believe, 1985: ['Hooligan' on YouTube] Reliable sources who were there at the time inform me […]

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 […]

BASEES 2012 highlights

I was quite busy with committee business during the BASEES conference, but did manage to attend a few panels, and want to pick out a few highlights from what everyone I spoke to agreed was a very stimulating and enjoyable weekend. A Monday morning panel on Gulag literature may not be everybody’s idea of fun, […]

Top ten letters in Russian literature

Letters play a significant role in some of my favourite works of Russian literature, and a couple in particular have been very much on my mind lately. So here is my top ten, which manages to encompass everything from the absurd to the tragic. Apologies for the plot spoilers (especially in entries 10, 7 and […]