The Sub-Faculty of Russian and Other Slavonic Languages is a thriving centre for research across the areas of literature, philology, linguistics, and cultural studies in Russian, Church Slavonic, Czech, Slovak, Polish, as well as in other Slavonic Languages.
Research includes: philological and linguistic investigations into a range of Slavonic languages; the history of ideologies of language in Eastern Europe; the languages, literature, and culture of modern Czech and Slovak; Russian poetry, especially Pushkin, Khodasevich, and Joseph Brodsky; Bulgakov and on Zamiatin; Solzhenitsyn, Varlaam Sharlamov and Socialist Realism; late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century literature and history of ideas, and also on Russian poetry more broadly; Russian official ideology at the turn of the nineteenth century, the history of emotions in Russia, and Lidiya Ginzburg; nineteenth- and twentieth-century Russian culture including studies of Andrei Platonov, the reception of Russian culture in Britain, and Russian music, and its relations with Russian literature; Russian cultural history and literature, including Russian modernism, and also gender studies, and the history of everyday life, particularly of childhood.
Russian and Slavonic was ranked second in its subject in the UK in RAE 2008.
Professor Andrei Zorin
Andrei Zorin researches in Russian literature and cultural history of XVIII early XIX centuries in a European context; Russian literature and ideology; cultural history of emotions; and late Soviet and Post Soviet literature.
Dr Philip R Bullock
My main areas of methodological expertise include theories of gender and sexuality, interdisciplinary approaches to the relationship between literature and the other arts, and the study of translation, reception and cultural exchange. I am currently co-editing a volume of essays entitled Russia in Britain, 1880-1940: From Melodrama to Modernism for OUP, and was recently one of the judges of the 2012 Rossica Translation Prize. I am also a member of the AHRC-funded network 'Internationalism and Cultural Exchange, 1870-1920' (http://internationalismandculturalexchange.wordpress.com/). In the longer term, I continue to work on the relationship between words and music in Russian culture from the late eighteenth century to the present day. My specific focus is the literary, musical and cultural history of art-song in Russia, but I am also interested in opera too. I particularly enjoy communicating academic ideas to a broader public, and have written and presented a number of talks and features on Russian literature and music that have been broadcast on BBC Radio 3.
Dr Julie A E Curtis
Julie Curtis' work focusses in particular on twentieth-century Russian literature, especially Mikhail Bulgakov and Evgenii Zamiatin. She has also published on the literature of the Gorbachov era, and has a special interest in Russian drama.
Professor Andrew S Kahn
My research falls into these three areas:
1. The Russian Enlightenment in its comparative European context
I am the author of a number of studies, a major translation, a monograph and editor of a forthcoming book that aim to revise our understanding of the modernization and secularization of Russian culture in the 18th century through the transmission of fundamental ideas of the Western European and British Enlightenment to Russia during the reign of Catherine the Great. My skill set includes an excellent knowledge of French and English literature and thought in the period, history of science, and classical literature and its reception in this period. I also have a very good knowledge of institutional history of the Russian Enlightenment and its Academies and an excellent knowledge of rare printed sources (often pursued in rare book libraries all over the world). Without this learning I could not ask the questions that I think are important to the subject and of interest to me. On this basis I have pursued questions about the impact of science on literature, the image of the nobleman, the figure of the Enlightened despot, the key area of translation, and the capacity of literature to raise philosophical consciousness have all sought to reveal the quality and type of engagement with ideas that transformed Russian elite culture and thought. The edition of Montesquieu's masterpiece The Persian Letters published by OUP in its trade series is actually quite a scholarly production, and gave me a chance to pursue some questions outside the Russian context and for a larger audience.
2. The work of Alexander Pushkin
Much of my research has been on the work of Russia's most famous writer, Alexander Pushkin. I am the author of a monograph on Pushkin's most important narrative poem the Bronze Horseman. My book on Pushkin's lyric poetry that aims fundamentally to revise the notion that his poetic genius was effortless, naïve, all style and no intellectual content. It aims to lay bare just how his engagement with key concepts about the body and soul, the imagination, Nature, many of them part of the Enlightenment legacy in which he was so well read, informs his writing at a far more profound level than interpretations have allowed. The book made it onto the cover of the Times Literary Supplement has been well received in many scholar journals and provoked considerable argument and disagreement, which is good too. I edited the Cambridge Companion to Pushkin, which contains much new research by a distinguished group of scholars, and continue to write articles about Pushkin.
3. Russian poetry: the traditions
Outside the above areas of concentrations I have produced a steady stream of articles on major poets of the 20th century. I suppose it was on that basis that I was commissioned to write the new chapter entry on Russian poetry for the new Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics, which is probably the reference Bible for scholars in all literatures who work on poetry. The common denominator of these items of research is that they explore the connection between poetry and aesthetic and political movements of the period. I am at the beginning of a new generation of projects, and continue to believe that much of what I am doing has a revisionist value because I look at new material and also at familiar material in a new light and in a much deeper context than has been customary. One example of this would be the work I am currently doing on Osip Mandelshtam, for many the greatest Russian poet of the 20th century, whose poems of the 1930s have been overlooked as too difficult and puzzling. The entire book as I write is aimed at dismantling an ossified critical method that simply doesn't work for the subject. Potentially these arguments can radically change scholarly views on his development and genius. One reviewer of Pushkin's Lyric Intelligence said that the book had a lot to teach people who work on poetry in general. I'd like to think that this new project, which is one among several, might offer some new thoughts on how to understand difficulty of the linguistic and representative kind that we find in modern poetry.
Professor Catriona H M Kelly
Catriona Kelly works on Russian literature and on Russian cultural history, particularly Russian modernism, gender history, the history of childhood, and national identity. She has published a large number of books and articles in these areas, sponsored by grants from the Leverhulme Trust and the British Academy (see http://www.mod-langs.ox.ac.uk/russian/childhood). She is currently leading a large international project on Russian national identity, sponsored by a major grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (see http://www.mod-langs.ox.ac.uk/russian/nationalism)and is working on a study of cultural memory in Leningrad/St Petersburg since 1957, supported by work in archives, interviews, and first-hand observation as well as work with printed sources. Other interests include oral history (for information about the Oxford Archive of Life History, see http://www.ehrc.ox.ac.uk/lifehistory). Catriona Kelly also works as a literary translator, particularly of poetry, and writes for the general literary press (particularly The Guardian and The Times Literary Supplement). She is on the editorial board of several journals, including Kritika, Slavic Review, Slavonic and East European Review, and Antropologicheskii forum/Forum for Anthropology and Culture (St Petersburg).
Dr Catherine Mary MacRobert
Starting from her doctoral dissertation on the history of Bulgarian syntax, Catherine MacRobert's research has focussed primarily on the delimitation and interaction of various Slavonic vernaculars and the medieval literary language, Church Slavonic. Her primary data are drawn from the various translations of the Psalter produced up to the fifteenth century, and her investigations touch on the origins of Old Church Slavonic, medieval translation technique, evidence for prosodic and morphosyntactic changes (e.g. in clitic use and word division), the principles and practice of textual criticism in application to Church Slavonic material, the palaeography of Cyrillic and Glagolitic manuscripts, and Church Slavonic hymnographical traditions.
Dr Michael A Nicholson
The bulk of Dr Nicholson's publications have been on unofficial Russian literature and especially the Gulag theme. His work on Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn ranges from the phenomenology of his reception in East and West to textological and bibliographical aspects of his work, and he has translated several of Solzhenitsyn's writings over the years. His current project is a study of Solzhenitsyn's writing in the 1940s and 1950s (provisional title: Solzhenitsyn's Road to 'Ivan Denisovich'). The other twentieth-century writer on whom he has published is Varlam Shalamov, author of Tales of Kolyma (Kolymskie rasskazy). He is an Honorary Professor of Henan University, China.
Dr Jennifer C A Baines
Jennifer Baines' research interests include the post-Soviet novel and early 20th-century poetry, especially Osip Mandelstam.
Dr Josie von Zitzewitz
Late Soviet literature, in particular the 1970s and 'underground' literature;
Russian poetry in all its forms;
Religious thought and its bearing on literature;
The literature and material memory of the Gulag.
My current project is a book on the poetry of the unofficial 'Religious-Philosophical Seminar' (1974-1980). I am also working on a monograph on Viktor Krivulin, one of the most important 'underground' poets of that decade, focusing on Krivulin's indebtedness to various Silver Age figures.
My second interest, the memory of the Gulag, I pursue as a research associate for the 'Virtual Museum of the Gulag' (http://www.gulagmuseum.org), a project run by 'Memorial' St Petersburg in which I have been involved since 2003.
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