Thus, in an extended sense, the entire tradition of Russian prison-camp writing since Avvakum is likened to a file of prisoners beating a path through the snow. Every author in this literary procession is also bound to play the role of a reader – of those who came before him, of times and places where s/he has not been. Throughout his own works, Shalamov consistently invokes his literary precursors and refers not only to Dostoevsky, as well as tsarist-time revolutionaries such as Vera Figner and Nikolai Morozov, but also to Avvakum, whose trace he follows in one of his most memorable poems, “Avvakum in Pustozersk”.
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