Assistant Professor of Russian
Education: PhD, Stanford University, 2007
BA, Cambridge University, 1999
Office: 218D Strickland Hall
I have taught a range of courses at MU, from Russian Civilization (a large lecture course) to small discussion-based courses (“The Russian Poetic Tradition,” “Russian Modernism,” “Tolstoy and Dostoevsky,” “The Russian Novel”) to language courses from first- to third-year.
In my teaching I frequently incorporate visual culture, encouraging students to draw cross-media comparisons. Film plays some part in practically all the courses I teach. Through reference to visual, verbal and musical compositions, I emphasize the broader cultural movements to which texts respond.
While I research a variety of topics ranging from the late nineteenth century to the present, three basic interests unite my work: poetry, religion and visual culture.
My monograph Unorthodox Beauty: Russian Modernism and Its New Religious Aesthetics is forthcoming with Northwestern University Press. In this project I show how poets negotiated Russia’s relation to modernity through re-envisioning traditional religion in their own work. These modernist poets (I investigate Aleksandr Blok, Mikhail Kuzmin, Anna Akhmatova and Boris Pasternak) seek to represent a peculiarly Russian modernity—an “alternative” modernity—that is distinguished for being a specifically religious modernity. Their versions of Russian Orthodox Christianity, and its liturgy, are as unorthodox as they are rich and imaginative, and their poetry emblematizes the increasingly complex place of religion in modern society.
Academic Studies Press recently published a new anthology of Russian modernist poetry that I co-edited with Sibelan Forrester: Russian Silver Age Poetry: Texts and Contexts. In this collection we include not only brief bios and key poems but also manifestoes, correspondence, publicistic writings, memoirs and literary criticism from the dizzyingly rich conversation of the epoch.
I am beginning a new project on contemporary Russian poet, scholar, essayist and translator Olga Sedakova, and on her role in Russian public life. Through her life and work we can better understand the shifting place of the poet in post-Soviet Russian society, even as we see her adapt traditional roles of the literary intelligentsia to new circumstances.
“What Is Beauty?: Pasternak’s Adaptations of Russian Religious Thought,” in eds. Judith Kornblatt and Patrick Lally Michelson, Thinking Orthodox in Modern Russia: Culture, History, Context. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 2014. 22pp.
“Cultural Transformation as Transdisfiguration in Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago.” Russian History 40: 1 (2013), 68-89.
“The Art of Knowing: Music and Ritual in Two Chekhov Stories.” Slavic and East European Journal 56 (January 2012), 38-55.
“Aleksandr Blok’s Other Body.” Russian Review 70 (January 2011), 118-136.
Under revision (Slavic Review): “The Choralic Self in the Poetry of Ol’ga Sedakova,” / Ol’ga Sedakova: Stikhi, smysly, istolkovaniia. 30pp.
Forthcoming: “The Art of Change: Adaptation and the Apophatic Tradition in Sedakova’s Chinese Journey,” in eds. Stephanie Sandler, Maria Khotimsky, Margarita Krimmel and Oleg Novikov, Ol’ga Sedakova: Poems, Philosophies, Points of Contention. 2016. 30pp.
Forthcoming:“Mikhail Kuzmin,” Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism.
Translation: Ol’ga Sedakova, “The Morality of Art, or the Evils of Mediocrity,” St. Katherine Review 1 (January 2011).
Forthcoming (Slavonica, Winter 2016): Review, McQuillen, Colleen. The Modernist Masquerade: Stylizing Life, Literature, and Costumes in Russia. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 2013.
Review, Gatrall, Jefferson J. A., and Douglas Greenfield, eds. Alter Icons: The Russian Icon and Modernity. University Park: Penn State UP, 2011. In Russian Review 71 (January 2012).
Review, Jenifer Presto, Beyond the Flesh: Alexander Blok, Zinaida Gippius, and the Symbolist Sublimation of Sex. University of Wisconsin Press, 2008. In Russian Review 68 (October 2009).
Review, Valerie A. Kivelson and Joan Neuberger, eds. Picturing Russia: Explorations in Visual Culture. Yale University Press, 2008. In Russian Review 68 (January 2009).
Forthcoming (Russian Review): Review, Gatrall, Jefferson J. A., and Douglas Greenfield, eds. Alter Icons: The Russian Icon and Modernity. University Park: Penn State UP, 2011.
Review, Jenifer Presto, Beyond the Flesh: Alexander Blok, Zinaida Gippius, and the Symbolist Sublimation of Sex (University of Wisconsin Press, 2008), in Russian Review 68 (October 2009).
Review, Valerie A. Kivelson and Joan Neuberger, eds. Picturing Russia: Explorations in Visual Culture (Yale University Press, 2008), in Russian Review 68 (January 2009).