I am currently working on an interdisciplinary study of the relationship between words and music in Russian culture from the late eighteenth century to the present day, with a specific focus on the literary, musical and cultural history of the art-song repertoire, as well as on aspects of opera too. I continue to be interested in the modernist prose writers of the early-Soviet period, particularly Andrei Platonov (on whom I wrote my doctorate) and Isaak Babel’. 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 a member of several international networks, including Writing 1900 (a research project jointly hosted by the University of Oxford and the Humboldt University in Berlin), the Study Group for Russian and East European Music (supported by the British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies), and the International Platonov Seminar. In 2015, I was elected a to serve a three-year term as a member of the ‘wissenschaftlicher Beirat’ of the Tschaikowsky-Gesellschaft, and together with Alexandra Lloyd and Laura Tunbridge, I run the Oxford Song Network: Poetry and Performance at TORCH (The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities).
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.
Dr Polly Jones teaches a wide range of modern Russian literature and Russian language for the faculty and college, and has published widely on Soviet literature and cultural politics. Her research interests centre on 20th-century literature and culture, especially of the post-Stalin period (1953-91). She also writes regularly for the TLS and the Times Higher, and has appeared several times on BBC radio and TV to talk about Russian culture.
Andrew Kahn, M.A., D.Phil. (B.A. Amherst, M.A. Harvard)
Professor of Russian Literature,
Fellow and Tutor, St Edmund Hall,
Lecturer at Queen’s College
Andrew has been visiting professor at Columbia University, the University of California Berkeley, and in 2018 will be visiting professor at the École Normale supérieure in Paris. He is on various editorial boards, and for Peter Lang edits a series called Russian Transformations.
Catriona Kelly works on Russian literature and on Russian cultural history, particularly Russian modernism, gender history, the history of childhood, national identity, and the recent history of Leningrad/St Petersburg. 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). From 2007 to 2011, she led 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). Her 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, St Petersburg: Shadows of the Past,was published by Yale University Press in 2014. Soviet and Post-Soviet Identities, co-edited with Mark Bassin, came out in 2012 from Cambridge University Press. 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). In 2013, she was pre-elected President of the Association of Slavic„ East European, and Eurasian Studies, USA (ASEEES) for 2015. She is the first person not working at a US university to hold this position.
Starting from my doctoral dissertation on the history of Bulgarian syntax, my research has focused primarily on the delimitation and interaction of various Slavonic vernaculars and the medieval literary language, Church Slavonic. My primary data are drawn from the various translations of the Psalter produced up to the fifteenth century, and my investigations touch on the origins of Old Church Slavonic, medieval translation technique, evidence for prosodic and morphosyntactic developments (e.g. in clitic use, word division, tense distinctions, mood and verbal aspect), 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.
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.
My research is mainly concerned with the cultural and literary history of the Soviet Union, especially the relationship between cultural producers and the state. My current project is a study of censorship and the Soviet censor.
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.
Research: Russian Literature and Cultural History of XVIII early XIX centuries in European Context. Russian Literature and Ideology. Cultural History of Emotions. Late Soviet and Post Soviet Literature.