Edition Practices

Warlam Schalamov-Edition

Dr. Franziska Thun-Hohentstein

The literary work of the Russian poet and author Varlam Shalamov (1907-1982) remained relatively unknown for a long time to the German reading public and other international audiences. He did, however, establish a prominent position for himself in twentieth-century literature thanks to the literary caliber of his critique of Stalin’s regime of violence, especially in his six cycles of short stories entitled, »The Kolyma Tales«. In his writings on Soviet ›camp civilization‹, Shalamov develops an extremely dense and sober literary style, making him something of a contrasting figure, aesthetically speaking, to Aleksander Solzhenitsyn. In addition to the editorial coordination of publishing Shalamov’s works, this project is also concerned with situating Varlam Shalamov within international debates on »writing after the GULag« and »writing after Auschwitz«.

In 2007 the publishers Matthes & Seitz Berlin began the multivolume collection of Shalamov’s works with Erzählungen aus Kolyma 1 – Warlam Schalamow: Durch den Schnee [The Kolyma Tales 1 – Varlam Schalamov: Through the Snow]. The collection is translated by Gebriele Leupold and edited by Franziska Thun-Hohenstein. Each volume features annotations, a glossary, and an afterword.

The publication of The Kolyma Tales cycles was completed in 2011. The subsequent volumes contain two autobiographical prose pieces (»Das vierte Wologda« [The Fourth Vologda] and »Wischera« [Vishera]) in addition to reminiscences, essays, letters (to B. Pasternak, A. Solzhenitsyn, and N. Mandelstam, among others), and selected poems