Cover Osteuropa 6/2007

In Osteuropa 6/2007

Strength for Life and De
Varlam Shalamov and the Mandel’shtams

Pavel Nerler

Deutsche Fassung


For Varlam Shalamov, Osip Mandel’shtam was an admired fellow writer and comrade in misfortune. The poet’s death on the way to Kolyma is treated by Shalamov in the story “Cherry Brandy.” He dedicated another story, “The Sentence,” to Mandel’shtam’s widow, Nadezhda. While the first story propels the reader towards death and bristles with apathy and resignation, a grain of hope and life is planted in the second. This is no coincidence, for Shalamov saw in Nadezhda Mandel’shtam’s memoirs a document which erected a powerful, inspiring memorial to the Russian intelligentsia, a signal to return to life. The mutual admiration for the work of the other found expression in an intensive correspondence from 1965 to 1967 and survived their personal strife.

(Osteuropa 6/2007, pp. 229–238)