Download Belomor: Criminality and Creativity in Stalin's Gulag by Julie S. Draskoczy PDF

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By Julie S. Draskoczy

Containing analyses of every thing from prisoner poetry to album covers, Belomor: criminal activity and Creativity in Stalin's Gulag strikes past the simplistic good/evil paradigm that regularly accompanies Gulag scholarship. whereas acknowledging the normative energy of Stalinism--an ethos so hegemonic it desired to harness the very mechanisms of inspiration--the quantity additionally acknowledges a number of the loopholes provided by means of inventive expression. might be the main notorious venture of Stalin's first Five-Year Plan, the Belomor building used to be riddled through paradox, primarily the truth that it created a huge waterway that used to be too shallow for giant crafts. much more major, and sinister, is that the venture received the backing of recognized inventive luminaries who enthusiastically professed the doctrine of self-fashioning. Belomor complicates our figuring out of the Gulag by way of taking a look at either prisoner motivation and professional reaction from a number of angles, thereby supplying a extra expansive imaginative and prescient of the hard work camp and its connection to Stalinism.

“Julie Draskoczy’s Belomor: illegal activity and Creativity in Stalin’s Gulag is a well-conceived and carefully researched research of unknown, but actually vital, points of the Belomor camp, a key website of Stalin’s Gulag. This examine stands proud via its cautious archival learn into interesting prisoner writings produced within the camps―autobiographies in addition to literary makes an attempt submitted to the camp newspaper Perekovka. The physique of unpublished prisoner writings that Draskoczy has studied in Moscow information are ‘live’ debts of camp lifestyles, but, as Draskoczy rigorously indicates, they're hugely mediated representations of the writers and their camp reports, advanced texts which could proportion narrative techniques with either futurist and socialist realist paintings. Given the numerous assorted literary and cultural layers that make up those writings, it takes a discerning and a professional reader to do justice to the complexity of the cloth. Draskoczy rose to this problem, and has produced a sensible, insightful, and readable study.” (Cristina Vatulescu, affiliate Professor of Comparative Literature, long island University)

. . . [T]he ebook deals an in-depth learn of the colossal number of narratives, voices, and performative acts hooked up to the Belomor venture understood as a enterprise to rework either nature and prisoners. such a lot apparently Draskoczy deals a clean view on camp event within the early Thirties, leaving the normal narrative of political prisoners apart in desire of the point of view of criminals, who more often than not constituted the most staff inside Gulag society and at whom the idea that of perekovka used to be before everything aimed.” (Felicitas Fischer von Weikersthal The Russian assessment, October 2014 factor (Vol. seventy three, No. 4))

“The most eminent function of this ebook is definitely one of the unpublished fabric it comprises and its research as awarded by way of the writer. This, including the wide variety of cultural items analysed (art, theatre, poetry, autobiographies, songs, chastushki, tattoos, etc.), testifies to the tremendous worthy paintings performed through the writer, who controlled to get over Russian country files and from secondary resources a really fascinating set of fabric for her paintings. . . . [T]here is not any doubt in regards to the caliber of this learn, which the writer has performed with devotion, enthusiasm, and―interestingly enough―creativity. . . . Draskoczy’s ebook is without doubt one of the few monographs dedicated to the research of creativity in the camp. It indicates how insightful, inspirational, miraculous, and efficient examine at the Gulag from inside of, utilizing the records written or created by way of prisoners in the course of the time they spent there, can be.” (Andrea Gullotta (University of Glasgow) sleek Language evaluation, quantity a hundred and ten, half four, October 2015)

"Julie Draskoczy’s new examine. . . is the 1st to systematically learn a trove of Belomor prisoner narratives held in Russian kingdom files. through reading such narratives in dialog with better-known paintings produced through prisoners and nonprisoners, she explores the subjectivities of these who took half during this huge, and lethal, development undertaking. As she discovers, there has been impressive variety in how prisoners answered to camp officials’ widespread encouragement to take part in literary endeavors. the outcome, Draskoczy argues, is that prisoner narratives can be utilized to realize a greater figuring out of the connection among creativity and illegal activity within the gulag, in addition to the artistic and damaging potentials of Stalinism." (Alan Barenberg, Texas Tech college Slavic evaluation, vol. seventy four, no. four (Winter 2015))

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Extra info for Belomor: Criminality and Creativity in Stalin's Gulag

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It is important to remember that the vospitateli are prisoners themselves, and the camp officials clearly could not control them nor prevent them from getting drunk. The volume From Crime to Labor (Ot prestupleniia k trudu, 1936), a sort of bible of Soviet penal philosophy, offers insight into the process of perekovka as a specifically pedagogical phenomenon. 111 Chapters focus on remaking prisoners’ attitudes, the organization of cultural-educational work, the importance of collectivity as a work principle, and udarnichestvo (shock-worker labor) as a method of work stimulation—all of which were key components of the Belomor program.

86 The importation of a massive workforce to a sparsely inhabited area allowed for freed prisoners to remain in the region and build the population base. The Soviet goal was unequivocal—the waterway was intended to have a colonizing function by transmogrifying both landscape and people. The harsh physical conditions and subsequent high fatality rate also link the construction of the White Sea-Baltic Canal with the Tsarist-era project of a boat conduit. Both the Tsar’s Road and the pathway of the White Sea-Baltic Canal come to be known colloquially as the doroga na kostiakh, or the “road of bones,” underscoring the interconnectedness of these two historical experiences and the brutality imbedded in the landscape.

Similarly, Nietzsche posits the development into the Übermensch as — 31 — ——————————————————— Introduction ——————————————————— a perennially elusive goal; like the Faustian concept of striving, the individual is forever trying to perfect oneself without necessarily ever achieving perfection. This constant yearning renders the present as the future, as the purpose of today is necessarily the reward of tomorrow. 64 In the absence of an end result or final destination, the voyage itself becomes the site of cultural exploration.

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