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Semaine culturelle L’Ukraine et la Biélorussie

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Vasil Bykau’s The Wolves’ Pit: Flora and Fauna Are Not What They Used to Be in Belarus
Zinaida Gimpelevich (univ. Waterloo (Ontario, Canada))

24 mars 2006

Séance Histoire nationale / mémoire nationale présidée par Delphine BECHTEL, directeur adjoint du Centre Interdisciplinaire de Recherches Centre-européennes, Université Paris IV Sorbonne
The basis of my paper is Bykau’s “Ваўчыная яма” (The wolves’ pit), written in 1998 and first published in 2001. This typically existential short novel was completed twelve years after the Chernobyl catastrophe and during the writer’s first year abroad. The Wolves’ Pit, the theme of which portrays the familiar figure of a Belarusian soldier and his tragic fate, differs greatly from Bykau’s earlier works: the fate of the soldier is intertwined not only with regular military service during the peacetime but with ecological, cultural, social, and political issues.

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Zinaida Gimpelevich Zinaida Gimpelevich (univ. Waterloo (Ontario, Canada))
Zina Gimpelevich is an associate professor in UW’s Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages. A specialist also in Belarusan writing, Gimpelevich’s book Vasil Bykau: His Life and Works, a biography of the Belarusan writer and dissident, was published by McGill-Queen’s UP in 2005 and a second book, Twentieth Century Belarusan Jewish Writers, is forthcoming in 2007.