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

                                          20-21 April, 2017

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