On Studying and Teaching Lesser-Known Russian Writers



At every meeting of “The Other 19v,” a reading group devoted to discussing less-studied nineteenth-century Russian writers, we find new insights into this century of literary experimentation and cultural transformation. We are also currently working on a special issue of “Russian Literature” on the “unknown nineteenth century,” focused on less-studied writers. We are collecting abstract submissions for the issue until March 15; please contact Helen Stuhr-Rommereim or Vadim Shneyder if you are interested in contributing.

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Minor Writers and the Major Leagues, Part II



Another reason to study minor writers is that they help us to understand historical eras. They are part of the thick description of a given time. For the major-centric among us, minor writers can be seen as important for what they can tell us about major writers, although the relationship is not always cristalline. Even major writers had to read something, after all, although they might not tell you what it was or how it influenced them. Just as Pushkin would not have told you that he’d devoured the novels of Sophie Cottin (as Hilde Hoogenboom has explored), so did Tolstoy play down Mariia Zhukova (as discussed in Part I), while both Turgenev and Dostoevsky borrowed plot motifs from authoress Evgenii Tur (Jane Costlow, Svetlana Grenier).

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19v So Far



As we approach the one-year mark of 19v’s inception, I’ve been polling some of our participants to learn which of our activities have proven valuable so far and what we might want to undertake in the future.

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Minds and Bodies in the World, or: Learning to Love Dostoevsky



I’m not one of those American Slavists who came to the study of Russian literature by way of Dostoevsky. For a long time, I wasn’t even particularly interested—I’m afraid that I took the pseudo-Nabokovian reading of Dostoevsky as my own, and even as my students clamored for more Dostoevsky, I resisted the idea of a Russian literature defined by Big Ideas.

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Art in the Middle



When I started working on nineteenth-century Russian art almost two decades ago, one of the things that surprised me most was the stark division between the two halves of the nineteenth century—and the absence of a middle.

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“From Another Shore”: Zoom in Russian Literary Studies



Online technologies are, of course, a wonderful tool, but they do not solve the fundamental problems still discernible in our ways of conducting research on literature and culture in Russia today. In this note I’ll touch upon two important problems related to the institutional context and traditions of Russian literary criticism.

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Between the Provinces and the World



Here, I will first explain my personal understanding of the meaning of “the provinces” to Russian Studies, then expound on some aspects of the same concept within Chinese and Russian cultures from a comparative perspective, charting out tantalizing possibilities in that nascent field.

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Announcing Upcoming Events Sponsored by 19v, a Working Group on Nineteenth-Century Russian Culture



Please join us on Zoom Wednesday, June 24, 12-2 pm EST, for an interdisciplinary roundtable on “What Is The 19th Century?” with panelists Alex Martin (University of Notre Dame), Rosalind Polly Blakesley (Cambridge), and Luba Golburt (Berkeley). The panel will be moderated by Sara Dickinson (Università di Genova). Please also mark your calendars for these upcoming 19v Seminars, always held on Wednesdays.

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On Not Talking about Gender in Nineteenth-Century Russian Literature



As a graduate student in Russian literature, I wrote a dissertation and eventually a book about the body and the grotesque in nineteenth-century realism. As I look back, I can’t help but think that mine was a book that desperately sought to be about gender and sexuality. And it would have been about those things, if I were comfortable writing about gender or had the training then to do so. But the field of nineteenth-century Russian literary studies has tended to be more conservative about theory. I read Judith Butler and Foucault in grad school, but felt too intimidated to work with them, let alone Jack Halberstam and others. Instead, since I knew Bakhtin (nashi), I relied on his theory of the grotesque to talk about the body and not talk about sexuality. I talked about protruding bodies seeking to connect with the world, being integrated into other bodies — all the while dancing around and keeping at bay the menacing, actual penetration…of intercourse.

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Announcing: Working Group on 19th-century Russian Culture and Literature



Dostoevsky + 11 time zones: it’s why Russian studies is never going away. Or at least that’s what I was taught in graduate school—and indeed the brilliant cultural production of the nineteenth century has long drawn students and scholars to the Russia field. But as the literature of this period grows more distant from our own moment (is the nineteenth century the new eighteenth century?), we encounter both framing challenges and intellectual opportunities. What does nineteenth-century culture mean for us today?

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