Varlam Shalamov

Authors catalogue

Valery Yesipov

Valery Yesipov is a historian, essayist, and journalist, with a Ph.D. in Cultural Studies, who lives in Vologda. He has written articles on Shalamov’s life and work and is the author of the first monograph on Varlam Shalamov (Varlam Shalamov and His Contemporaries [in Russian], Vologda, 2007), as well as the editor and coauthor of three collections of essays on Shalamov (published in Vologda in 1994, 1997, and 2002).
Link to russian page of Valery Yesipov.

  • Valery Yesipov Cerebration or Genuflection? (Varlam Shalamov and Alexander Solzhenitsin)

  • “Many thought he had already died. “Varlam Shalamov is dead,” Alexander Solzhenitsyn declared to the whole world from America. Meanwhile, Shalamov still walked the streets of Moscow. He could be seen on Tverskaya, when he ventured out from his hole to buy groceries. He was a ghastly sight, reeling down the street like a drunk, falling over.”

  • Valery Yesipov They Will Push Me Down the Hole

  • “There were other reasons, apart from weak health, that Shalamov stood apart from the dissidents. Firstly, he considered art, including literature, even unpublished, a sufficiently strong means of resistance to any regime. Secondly, he understood how destructive it can be for a writer to slip into political writing. This was Shalamov’s firm sceptical stance, the fruit of much thought in the camps and after: “The affliction of Russian literature is that it sticks its nose where it shouldn’t, trying to guide people’s lives, pronouncing on issues it is not competent in”.”