Varlam Shalamov

International Symposium "The Gulag in Writings of Solzhenitsyn and Shalamov: Fact, Document, Fiction" (Uppsaala, Sweden)

20 april 2017 - 21 april 2017

Uppsala Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies International Symposium on Varlam Shalamov

Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Varlam Shalamov are two of the best-known Gulag writers. After a short period of personal acquaintance, their lives and views on literature took different paths. Solzhenitsyn did not see a literary program in Shalamov’s works, which he describes as “a result of exhaustion”. By understanding the text as a “result”, Solzhenitsyn critically touched on a concept of evidence, which Shalamov several times emphasized as important to his own works. Instead of the text being a re-presentation, it should be an extract from or substitute for the real or the factual. At the same time, Solzhenitsyn, viewing his own task as one of restoring historical experiences of the Russian people, assumed the dual role of writer and historian, which inevitably raises the question of what characterizes the borders between ”fact” and ”fiction” in his works. It also raises question about dichotomies of historical and fictional truth.

This symposium aims to bring together Shalamov and Solzhenitsyn scholars in order to address a number of key themes and concepts such as fiction and fact, document and trace, memory, evidence, and authenticity.

An international conference organized by Uppsala Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Dalarna University and University of Oslo with support from Sven och Dagmar Saléns stiftelse and Vera Sagers stiftelse.

Attendence: by subscription only. For more details, contact Jevgenija Gehsbarga,

Conference organizers: Fabian Heffermehl and Irina Karlsohn


Thursday, April 20

Welcome Speech by Irina Karlsohn and Fabian Heffermehl

Introduction by Irina Sandomirskaja (Södertörn University)

Session 1

Chair: Julie Hansen (Uppsala University)

Michael Nicholson (Oxford University)

The Relevance of Solzhenitsyn and Shalamov’s Earlier Literary Endeavours to the Emergence of the Canonical Gulag Texts, Odin den’ Ivana Denisovicha and Kolymskie rasskazy

Ulrich Schmid (University of St. Gallen)

Poetry after the GULag: Do Solzhenitsyn and Shalamov Have a Lyric Mindset?

Session 2

Chair: Maria Engström (Dalarna University / Uppsala University)

Elena Mikhailik (University of New South Wales)

Shalamov, Solzhenitsyn and the Annales School: Long-term and Eventual History

Irina Karlsohn (Uppsala University / Dalarna University)

Контрафактичность в «Архипелаге ГУЛаг»

Session 3

Chair: Jakob Lothe (University of Oslo)

Andrea Gullotta (University of Glasgow)

More than a Cat. Reflections on Shalamov’s and Solzhenitsyn’s Writing through the Perspective of Trauma Studies

Leona Toker (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

The Issue of “Lightening” and the Problem of Target Audience in Solzhenitsyn and Shalamov

Friday, April 21

Session 4

Chair: Andrea Gullotta

Fabian Heffermehl (University of Oslo)

«Геноцид? С чем его едят?» Тактильность, печать и архаизм в текстах В.Т. Шаламова и С.С. Аверинцева

Luba Jurgenson (University of Paris)

Почему Варлам Шаламов не стал соавтором «Архипелага Гулаг»?

Session 5

Chair: Fabian Heffermehl

Franziska Thun-Hohenstein (Zentrum für Literatur und Kulturforschung, Berlin)

«Я хотел бы быть обрубком». Память, тело и вещь в творчестве Варлама Шаламова

Susanne Frank (Humboldt University of Berlin)

Соловецкие нарративы. Документальная проза о СЛОНе и русская современная художественная проза

Session 6

Chair: Irina Karlsohn

Stig Fredrikson (former Moscow correspondent)

How I became Solzhenitsyn´s secret courier and middleman to the West 1972-1974, until the publication of The Gulag Archipelago

General discussion (concluding remarks & publication)