Le chat qui a semé la zizanie entre Soljenitsyne et Chalamov
ALEKSANDR SOLZHENITSYN, VARLAM SHALAMOV, AND THE CAT IN BETWEEN / Based on an example from Solzhenitsyn’s One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich and from Shalamov’s short story, “The Silence,” this paper analyses the divergence of the two authors. Indeed, Solzhenitsyn and Shalamov endeavour to translate, in their own way, the reality of the Gulag into a language that the reader might understand. But Solzhenitsyn attempts to invent a “translation code” to transmit the experience of the Gulag through a coherent tale, while Shalamov uses his experience as a deportee and inmate to show how such a translation is impossible. If Solzhenitsyn wrote the camps into the culture, Shalamov in his Kolyma Tales undertook an attempt to write them out of the culture. For Shalamov, the reality of the prison camps lies in their absolute hostility to life. In the Kolyma Tales the corrosive experiences of Kolyma are packaged in a multilayered, highly efficient, subversive structure designed to make the reader a sharer, not in life but in its decomposition.
Key words: translation code; reality of the Gulag; deconstruction of narrative patterns; immersive experience; meta-language