Cover Osteuropa 6/2007

In Osteuropa 6/2007

Non-Literature without Morality
Why Varlam Shalamov Was Not Read

Ulrich Schmid

Deutsche Fassung


Varlam Shalamov (1907–1982) is without a doubt one of the most important writers to deal with the Gulag by means of literature. Unlike Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, however, he was unable to have a broad impact on Russia or the West. The reasons for this are his demanding poetics, his moral nihilism, his provoking revision of the Russian literary canon, and his political behaviour after rehabilitation. Only in recent years had Shalamov become recognisable as an author who combined avantgarde and realist techniques of expression to form a demanding and contradictory unity.

(Osteuropa 6/2007, pp. 87–106)