Warlam Schalamow: Über Prosa
[On Prose]

Verlag Matthes & Seitz, Berlin 2009, 144 pages
ISBN 978-3-88221-642-4

Varlam Shalamov’s literary work is often placed in close vicinity to Franz Kafka, Isaac Babel, but also Samuel Beckett. On Prose brings together Shalamov’s reflections on writing, granting insight into the workshop of truth.

To convey the unspeakable reality of the camp experience, Varlam Shalamov developed a unique literary language. He aimed to draw the reader into everyday life at the camp while keeping the difference between actual experience and narration as low as possible to stay as close to the truth as possible: “He wanted to solely create ‘authentic’ literature, a paradoxical ‘non-literary literature,’ an anti-literature. Conveying the unspeakable that is the camp experience required a new, unprecedented style of writing.” (Ralf Dutli, Literaturen)