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Reading lists

I’ve started compiling reading lists on the two main areas of my current research: Gulag narratives and Dostoevsky. There are a couple of reasons for doing this. They will eventually, I hope, be decent resources for other people, but it’s also about keeping track of things for myself. They’re both very much in the initial  stages, and are likely to grow quite slowly, particularly at the moment when I don’t seem to have time to do anything.

The Dostoevsky list is of critical works, and I’m going to write a brief description/review for each entry. One of the things that will be enjoyable about doing this, I think, is that it won’t be as restrictive as writing formal reviews. That doesn’t mean I’m going to be rude about things, though, because I want it to be a list of what is best in Dostoevsky studies today, so if there’s good reason to be rude about something, it’s probably not going to make it on to the list in the first place. I’m sticking to books initially, but will probably expand it at some point to include articles.

The other list is called ‘Gulag narratives’, but this is very loosely conceived and includes not only narratives of exile, imprisonment and hard labour (to borrow the title of my MA course), from the pre-revolutionary as well as the Soviet era, but also works about the terror. So far I’m concentrating mainly on memoirs and fiction by witnesses (also broadly defined), but such genre distinctions are often questionable. Given that The Gulag Archipelago — which is as much history and polemic as personal or collective memoir — is already there, I may well start including other types of work, such as histories, and maybe critical works as well, while fiction written by writers who were not witnesses also has a place. I’m just writing short comments on each entry, giving a bit of background, and/or saying something about the text itself. Where I’ve found on-line versions of the Russian text (and the English, in a couple of places), I’ve put in links.

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