About

Research interests

I am a scholar of Russian and comparative literature whose research explores the relationship between art and lived experience, language and power, as well as theory and practice. I specialize in Russian culture and society from the Romantic period to the present day, with a particular interest in cultural manifestations of gender and sexuality, and especially how the expression of gender and sexual identities are encoded in formal experimentation. I have published on queer aspects of Dostoevsky’s novels, on fatherhood in Chekhov’s short stories, and contested national identities and histories in Pushkin and Byron’s narrative poems. Most recently, I edited a special issue of the journal AvtobiografiЯ focused on Queer Life Writing in Russia and Beyond (2023).

I am currently working on a monograph on masculinity and power in the work of Vladimir Maiakovskii. The book deconstructs the popular image of Maiakovskii as a ‘manly’ poet, a myth propagated not only by the writer himself, but by generations of critics in both Russia and the West, seduced by his work, and in possession of a powerful, but unarticulated and uncritical, gender essentialism. The book offers a new approach to Maiakovskii, going beyond essentialist readings, to show the poet as using verse to negotiate the shifting terrain of masculinity in revolutionary Russia and the early Soviet period.

My work on how cultures and ideas travel across borders have sparked an interest in translation studies, as well as transnational and decolonial thought. I have collaborated with colleagues Andy Byford (Durham) and Stephen Hutchings (Manchester) to develop a transnational vision for Russian Studies, laid out in our co-edited volume Transnational Russian Studies (2020). Currently, we are working on a piece on how Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is reshaping our discipline and how thinking transnationally and decolonially might help us respond.

Teaching

At Bristol, my teaching focuses primarily on Russian literature, culture and society from 1800 to present, with occasional forays into earlier periods. Units that I teach regularly include Understanding Russia: Literature and Visual CultureEngineers of the Human Soul: Russian Culture and Politics 1917-1941 in Year 2, and Russia and the World 1991-present in Year 4.

I regularly contribute to teaching on the BA and MA Comparative Literatures and Cultures programme, and convene an comparative MA unit on Queer Lives.

I have taught Russian language at all levels and especially enjoy teaching Russian-English literary translation. I have supervised several practical translation projects and contributed a session on Queer Translation to our Bristol Translates summer school.

At postgraduate level, I have supervised MPhil students working on the image of Moscow in Russian literature, on Dostoevskii’s Brothers Karamazov, and queer digital cultures in Russia. Currently, I am co-supervising three PhDs, one on Soviet translation theory, one on machine translation of contemporary Russian poetry, and one on how Emily Dickinson and Sylvia Plath have been translated into Russian.

I am open to enquiries from prospective PhD students working in Russian and comparative literature, topics related to gender and sexuality, as well as literary translation, and transnational and decolonial approaches to Russian Studies.

Biography

Originally from Northern Ireland, I read Russian and Spanish at Robinson College, Cambridge (first-class honours), and then took my Master’s in European Literature at Oxford (with distinction) after a year working in Riga, Latvia. I then lived in the USA for six years while working on my PhD in Slavic Languages & Literatures at Northwestern University, in Evanston, Illinois, just outside Chicago.

I joined Bristol University in 2013 and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2021. I have served as Director of Teaching for Russian and Czech (2016-19) and Head of Subject (2020-23).

Beyond the university, I am actively involved in service to the field. I served as representative for Slavonic & East European Languages to the University Council For Languages (2018-21) and currently represent Slavonic and East European Languages on the Advisory Board of the Institute for Languages, Cultures, and Societies (ILCS) at the University of London (2021-present).

Education

PhD, Slavic Languages & Literatures, Northwestern University, 2013

MSt (with Distinction), European Literature, University of Oxford, 2007

BA (First-class honours), Modern and Medieval Languages (Russian and Spanish), University of Cambridge, 2005

Publications

Edited works

●  ‘Queer Life Writing in Russia and Beyond‘, edited special issue of AvtobiografiЯ 11 (2022).

●  (with Andy Byford and Stephen Hutchings) Transnational Russian Studies (Liverpool: Liverpool Univ. Press,  2020). Transnational Modern Languages series. 354 pp.

●  (with Katherine Bowers and Kate Holland) A Dostoevskii Companion: Texts and Contexts (Boston: Academic Studies Press, 2018). Cultural Syllabus series. 535 pp.

 

Journal Articles

●  Myshkin’s Queer Failure: (Mis)reading Masculinity in Dostoevsky’s The Idiot, Slavic and East European Journal (SEEJ) 63.1, Spring 2019, 1–27.

●  The malen’kii chelovek in Almaty: Masculinity in Nariman Turebaev’s Films’, KinoKultura 54, Oct 2016. c. 8000 words.

●  What’s Papa For? Paternal Intimacy and Distance in Chekhov’s Early Stories’, SEEJ 59.4, Winter 2015, 517–541.

●  ‘One Man’s Meat is Another Man’s Poetry: Masculinity and Metaphor in the Work of Vladimir Maiakovskii’, Modernism/Modernity 20.2, April 2013, 239–264.

●  ‘Babushka Writes Back: Grandmothers and Grandchildren in Petrushevskaia’s Time: Night, Forum for Modern Language Studies 47.2, April 2011, 170–181.

●  ‘Poltava at 300: Reading Byron’s Mazeppa and Pushkin’s Poltava in the Post-Soviet Era’, Australian Slavonic and East European Studies (ASEES) 24.1–2, 2010, 83–101.

 

Chapters in Edited Volumes

●  ‘Queer Transnational Encounters in Russian Literature’, in Transnational Russian Studies, ed. Andy Byford, Connor Doak, and Stephen Hutchings (Liverpool: Liverpool Univ. Press, in press, 2020), 213–231.

●  ‘The Emotion as Such: Un/masking the Poet in Mayakovsky’s Early Lyrics and Drama’, in Behind the Masks of Modernism: Global and Transitional Perspectives, ed. Andrew Reynolds and Bonnie Roos. Gainesville, FL: Univ. of Florida Press, 2016, 135–157.

●  ‘Masculine Degeneration in Dostoevskii’s Demons, in The Twilight of Realism: Russian Writers and the Fin de Siècle, ed. Katherine Bowers and Ani Kokobobo. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2015, 105–125.

Editorials

●  (with Kevin M.F. Platt and Vlad Strukov) ‘The Transnational Turn in Russian Studies’, NewsNet,  Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES), March 2020, 2-6

●  (with Andy Byford and Stephen Hutchings) ‘Transnationalizing Russian Studies’, British Association of Slavonic and East European Studies (BASEES) Newsletter, February 2020, p. 5.

 

Encyclopedia Entries

●  ‘Russian Futurism’ and ‘Ukrainian Futurism’ in The Routledge Online Encyclopedia of Modernism, ed. Stephen Ross, 2017.

●  Edited and revised entries for The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics, 4th ed., 2012:

(i) Burns Stanza; (ii) Dol’nik; (iii) Priamel; (iv) Satanic School; (v) Smithy Poets.

 

Book Reviews

●  Lynn Patyk, Written in Blood: Revolutionary Terrorism and Russian Literary Culture, 1861-1881. In ASEES 34, 2020, 151-153.

●  Susanne Fusso, Mikhail Katkov and the Great Russian Novel. In Modern Language Review (MLR) 114.3, Jul 2019, 609–610.

●  Dagmar Gramshammer-Hohl, ed. Aging in Slavic Literatures: Essays in Literary Gerontology. In SEEJ 62.3, Fall 2018, 617–619.

●  Rico Isaacs, Film and Identity in Kazakhstan: Soviet and Post-Soviet Culture in Central Asia. In Studies in Soviet and Russian Cinema 12.3, Autumn 2018, 266–268.

●  Sibelan E.S. Forrester and Martha M.F. Kelly, eds. Russian Silver Age Poetry: Texts and Contexts. In SEEJ 60.2, Summer 2016, 358–360.

●  Russell Scott Valentino, The Woman in the Window: Commerce, Consensual Fantasy, and the Quest for Masculine Virtue in the Russian Novel. In Journal of Soviet and Post-Soviet Politics and Society 2.1, Apr 2016. 253–256.

●  Bengt Jangfeldt, Mayakovsky: A Biography. In Slavonic and East European Review 94.1, Jan 2016, 158–160.

●  Fyodor Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment. A new translation by Oliver Ready. In SEEJ 59.2, Summer 2015, 298–300.

●  Gary Rosenshield, Challenging the Bard: Dostoevsky and Pushkin. A Study of Literary Relationship. In MLR 110.1, Jan 2015, 306–307.

●  Cathy Popkin, ed. Anton’s Chekhov Selected Stories. In SEEJ 58.4, Winter 2014, 707–708.

●  Carmen Bugan, Seamus Heaney and East European Poetry in Translation: Poetics of Exile. In SEEJ 58.1, Spring 2014, 166–167.

●  Dennis G. Ioffe and Frederick H. White, eds. The Russian Avant-Garde and Radical Modernism: An Introductory Reader. In SEEJ 57.4, Winter 2013, 687–688.

●  Rina Lapidus, Passion, Humiliation, Revenge: Hatred in Man-Woman Relationships in the 19th and 20th Century Russian Novel.  In Canadian Slavonic Papers 52.1, Mar–Jun 2010, 200–201.

●  Irene Masing-Delic, Exotic Moscow Under Western Eyes: Essays on Culture, Civilization and Barbarism.  In Slavonica 16.1, 2010, 45–46.

●  ‘Men’s Tears and Other Extreme Situations’. Review of D.V. Gromov and N.L. Pushkareva, Muzhskoi sbornik [Masculinities Symposium] vv. 1-3. In Forum for Anthropology and Culture 5, 2009, 459–464; Russian translation by Arkadii Bliumbaum in Antropologicheskii forum 9, 2008, 324–330.

●  I occasionally contribute book reviews to Forum of Modern Language Studies, which publishes short (250–350 words) anonymized reviews of recent academic titles in modern languages/literary studies.

 

Film Reviews

●  Griaz’ bol’shogo goroda [City Filth], dir. Nariman Turebaev (2017). In KinoKultura 55, Jan 2018. 1700 words.

●  Kletka [The Cage], dir. Ella Arkhangel’skaia (2015). In KinoKultura 51, Jan 2016. 2000 words.

●  Prikliuchenie [Adventure], dir. Nariman Turebaev (2014). In KinoKultura 49, July 2015. 1200 words.

●  The Double, dir. Richard Ayoade (2013). In KinoKultura 45, July 2014. 1300 words.

 

Interviews

●  (with Callum Doyle) Interview with Evgeniy Pisemskiy, LGBTQ+ Activist. In AvtobiografiЯ 11 (2022): 339-356.

●  Interview with Nariman Turebaev, film director. In Kinokultura 54, Oct 2016.

 

Translations

●  ‘The Knight of the Air’, a translation of Sergei Gorodetskii’s poem ‘Vozdushnyi vitiaz’’. In Tertia Vigilia, an online journal of Russian Silver Age poetry in translation. 26 April 2016.

 

Research-Based Blog Posts

●   (with Andy Byford and Stephen Hutchings) ‘All the Russias: A Transnational Approach’. In All the Russias, the blog of the New York University Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia, 20 Feb 2020. 1200 words.

●  ‘Painting the Town Black: A Japanese Take on Brothers Karamazov. Review of Brothers Karamazov miniseries (Fuji TV, Japan, 2013). In All the Russias, 7 Mar 2016.

●  ‘Gender Trouble in The Double: Masculinity in Dostoevsky’s Novella and Ayoade’s Film’. In All the Russias, 30 Oct 2015.

Blog Posts

    Memberships

    ●   ASEEES: Association for Slavic, Eastern European and Eurasian Studies

    ●   BASEES: British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies

    ●   IDS: International Dostoevsky Society

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