All posts tagged Solzhenitsyn

Bedtime reading

A fit of nostalgia following the recent death of the actor Lewis Collins has seen me revisiting old episodes of The Professionals, which was probably the first grown-up TV series I watched as a kid. It’s very entertaining, not least in the way it confounds expectations. The default position may be causal sexism, for instance […]

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, […]

Gulag Voices: two books

This year has seen the publication of two books titled Gulag Voices: an anthology of memoirs edited by Anne Applebaum, and a collection of oral histories by Jehanne Gheith and Katherine Jolluck, so this seems like a good opportunity to look at both of them. I had previously read all but one of the extracts […]

Judging books by their covers

As part of some work on Vasily Grossman (about which more anon), I’ve been catching up with my reading on Gulag history. Stephen Cohen’s The Victims Return finally arrived at the library, so I went to get it out. The first thing that struck me was how similar its cover was to another recent book on Gulag […]

Top ten food in Russian literature

Food is a tricky subject, as there are a lot of viable candidates for inclusion – so many that I toyed with the idea of doing a top twenty, but that’s a cop out, so I’ve had to whittle it down, and some exceptional works have missed the cut. I’ll say a bit more about […]

Top ten beards in Russian literature

I know I said I’d write another post about Mapping Petersburg, but I’m still thinking about that, so in the mean time, another top ten. But this time it is not the works, but the writers themselves, and specifically their facial adornments, that interest me. Beards, as Elif Batuman has affirmed, are hugely important to […]

An Interview with Robert Chandler

The Road, Robert Chandler’s new collection of translations of Vasily Grossman’s short stories and essays, will be published by MacLehose Press on 14th October 2010. On Monday 4th October at 6.30pm, he will be giving a talk about Grossman at Pushkin House, 5a Bloomsbury Square, to mark the publication. Here I talk to Robert about Grossman’s writing […]

Ephemerality and versionality

I know I said my next post would explore some aspects of the connections in Shalamov, and that will be coming up soon, but for now… At the inaugural UCL Centre for Digital Humanities Decoding Digital Humanities event, a wide-ranging discussion initiated by our reading of Walter Benjamin’s The Work of Art in the Age […]

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 […]