Varlam Shalamov

Authors catalogue

Michael Meyer Brewer

Michael Brewer — Team Leader for Undergraduate Services, The University of Arizona.

Link to russian page of Michael Brewer

  • Michael Meyer Brewer Varlam Shalamov's Kolymskie rasskazy: The Problem of Ordering

  • “The author's correspondence and notes support the view that the work has an intended ordering and that it was constructed and reconstructed by the author toward a certain artistic and semantic goal. I have researched the placement of certain stories within the work, positing why the author's ordering in these instances is important. The repetitions of key narrative events, lyrical passages, camp aphorisms, and other units of text, also link into the importance of ordering — Shalamov's ordering of stories with repeated elements serves to build on their meaning as symbols, as well as ironically juxtapose diverse narratives. The close readings of “Po snegu,” “Sententsia,” “Kant” and “Stlanik” are meant to elucidate how the work, when read in the author's intended ordering, reveals its richness and web-like complexity”.

  • Michael Meyer Brewer “Authorial,” Lyric and Narrative Voices in Varlam Shalamov's Kolymskie rasskazy: A Close Reading of "Sententsiia”

  • “Shalamov's work has been much criticized for its wholly pessimistic, misanthropic tone, its artistically uneven nature, as well as for its occasional factual or historical inaccuracy. But, as argued in this paper, when viewed as a work of fiction within the larger authorial framework, which dialogizes the disparate “voices” and invalidates any question of unevenness by freeing the “stories” themselves from specific generic limitations, these criticisms cease to be appropriate. The entire work, itself dense and coiled-tight like a taut spring, must be left intact to play itself out. Dissonant to be sure, at times in minor keys, it finds its incremental power in contrapuntally recurrent sub-themes, and the interaction of disparate discourses of authority that give Kolymskie rasskazy its profound ambivalence, and semantic and ethical breadth.”