Prof J A E Curtis

Julie Curtis, M.A., D.Phil. Oxon.
Professor of Russian Literature, Fellow of Wolfson College.
Lecturer at Jesus, Oriel, St Catherine’s, St John’s and St Peter’s Colleges.


Professor Curtis’s published research has largely been focused on subversive writers of the early Stalin Period (1920s and 1930s). She has spent a great deal of time working in archives in Russia and abroad, and this has enabled her to publish a range of analytical and biographical studies of the life and works of the satirical novelist/playwright Mikhail Bulgakov (1891-1940). More recently she has turned her attention to Evgeny Zamiatin (1884-1937), an anti-utopian writer much admired by George Orwell. Recently she completed work on the first full biography of Zamiatin to appear in any language; she has also co-edited (with a St Petersburg colleague) a scholarly edition in Russian of his most famous novel, based on a unique typescript she discovered in an American archive.

Professor Curtis has developed a particular interest in Russian drama, and runs a specialist option for students which involves the study of plays from the 1820s right up to the present day. Over the last few years she has been involved in helping with productions of Russian plays in several British theatres (the RSC at Stratford, the Barbican and National Theatres in London, the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry) by providing cast workshops, writing programme features, working on translations, and advising directors and design staff. Future research plans include a study of the 21st-century theatre scene in Russia, parts of which have been notably bold in their challenges to the political establishment.


  • J.A.E. Curtis, The Englishman from Lebedian’. A Life of Evgeny Zamiatin (1884-1937), (Boston: Academic Studies Press, October 2013), 420 pages;
  • J.A.E. Curtis, ‘A Theatrical Battle of Wits: Bulgakov, Maiakovskii and Meierkhol’d’, Modern Language Review, July 2013, pp. 921-46;
  • E.I. Zamiatin, My. Tekst i materialy k tvorcheskoi istorii romana, M.Iu. Liubimova and J.A.E. Curtis (eds), (St Petersburg: Mir, 2011), 600pp;
  • Julie Curtis, ‘Neizvestnye pis’ma E.I. Zamiatina iz amerikanskogo arkhiva (Vstupitel’naia stat’ia, publikatsiia i kommentarii Dzhulii Kurtis)’, in Evgenii Zamiatin i kul’tura XX veka — Issledovaniya i publikatsii, (Sankt Peterburg: Rossiiskaia Natsional’naia Biblioteka, 2002), pp. 301-51.
  • M. Bulgakov, Flight, edited with introduction, notes and vocabulary by J.A.E. Curtis, (London: Bristol Classical Press, 1997), 88pp;
  • ‘Mikhail Bulgakov and the Red Army’s Polo Instructor: Political Satire in The Master and Margarita’, in The Master and Margarita — A Critical Companion, ed. L.D. Weeks, (Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 1996), pp. 213-26;
  • J.A.E. Curtis, Manuscripts Don’t Burn — Mikhail Bulgakov: A Life in Letters and Diaries, (London: Bloomsbury, 1991), 306 pp.: republished in British paperback and American editions, and translated into German, French, Dutch, Italian and Finnish. Reissued in Britain and the USA in 2012/13.
  • ‘Literature under Gorbachev — a Second Thaw?’, in Perestroika — The Historical Perspective, ed. C. Merridale and C. Ward, (London: Edward Arnold, 1991), pp. 168-80.
  • ‘Down with the Foxtrot! Concepts of Satire in the Soviet Theatre of the 1920s’, in Russian Theatre in the Age of Modernism, ed. R. Russell and A. Barratt, (London and Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1990), pp. 219-235.
  • J.A.E. Curtis, Bulgakov’s Last Decade — The Writer as Hero, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), 250pp; reissued 2009.
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