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Eugene Ostashevsky

Image of Dr. Eugene Ostashevsky. Prof. Ostashevsky is a professor at NYU with the Russian and Slavic Studies.

Poet and cultural arbiter Ezra Pound once defined literature as “news that stays new.” Dr. Eugene Ostashevsky’s teaching hews closely to Pound’s proclamation. He asks students to project themselves into classic texts, pictures, and films, in order to see these worlds from the points of view of their characters, including the author; and thus to understand the characters’ choices in the light of the options available to them. Although he is obsessed with dependence of meaning on historical context, what ultimately renders a work canonical—i.e., not boring— is the force with which it escapes preconceived notions, the way it sabotages systems of political dominance (such as morality or utility) to show the tragedy and slapstick of being human.

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