The 'cultural village' of the Solovki Prison Camp: a case of alternative culture?

Gullotta, A. (2010) The 'cultural village' of the Solovki Prison Camp: a case of alternative culture? Studies in Slavic Cultures, 9, pp. 9-25.

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revious research concerning Gulag literature has frequently focused on single authors, who published their books after being incarcerated in concentration camps. However, there were also poets, novelists, and writers who had the chance to write from inside the iron curtain of the camps, publishing in journals and magazines controlled by the Chekists.1 Most times, authors wrote hymns and praise for Soviet power. But, in the very early years of the forced labour camp system, exceptions were possible. One of these exceptions occurred in the first Gulag that was situated and run on the Solovki archipelago. There, thanks to some extraordinary conditions, many intellectuals were often able to express themselves freely, and were able to use their wit and culture to oppose the brutal violence of the guards. They were part of a “cultural village,” where poets published poems, actors performed plays, and professors held seminars, while many of their friends and fellow prisoners perished, killed by the tortures of the overseers. Their cultural fight was even more important: the culture they produced was pre-revolutionary, and they produced it at a moment when this culture was eliminated by the newly born Soviet state. Somehow, they managed to create an alternative cultural system inside the camp. But can we really speak of alternative culture in this context, given the particular cultural situation of that period?

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Issue title: Alternative Culture
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Gullotta, Dr Andrea
Authors: Gullotta, A.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Modern Languages and Cultures
Journal Name:Studies in Slavic Cultures
Journal Abbr.:SISC
Publisher:Dept. of Slavic Languages and Literatures and Center for Russian and East European Studies, University of Pittsburgh
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2010 The Author
First Published:First published in Studies in Slavic Cultures 9:9-25
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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