The programme for the symposium "New UK Research in Nineteenth-Century Russian Literature" is now available online! Full schedule and abstracts may be found here

The symposium will be held on 1 February, 2014 in Darwin College, Cambridge, beginning at 9am.
Mel Bach as posted bibliographic notes to accompany Dr. Rosamund Bartlett's talk on "The Music of Russian Prose." They can be found here:

CamCREES bibliographic notes: Dr. Bartlett

Bibliographic notes are also cross-posted on the Cambridge University Library's new blog, European Languages Across Borders, which highlights items from the Slavonic, Germanic and Romance collections. 
After the resounding success of the Michaelmas term seminars, the next step of the project is a symposium to be held 1 February, 2014 at Darwin College, Cambridge. This is a quick reminder that abstracts are coming due on 15 December, just over a week away! We've already received a number of them, and the symposium is shaping up to be quite exciting!
See the 'Symposium' section of the website for more details.

Slavonic Specialist librarian for the UL and CamCREES secretary, Mel Bach, has written up bibliographic notes for Robin Feuer Miller's talk of three weeks ago, "Tolstoy's 'About Mushrooms'." 

They can be found here:
Bibliographic notes

The notes highlight related items in the UL collection and also works mentioned by Miller during her talk.

Join us tomorrow for the last talk in the seminar series, Rosamund Bartlett on "Tolstoy, Chekhov, and the Music of Russian Prose." 5pm in the Latimer Room, Clare College, with tea, coffee and biscuits from 4:45pm.
On Tuesday, the last of the seminar series talks will take place. Rosamund Bartlett will come and speak on "Tolstoy, Chekhov, and the Music of Russian Prose." As usual, the talk will be held at 5pm in the Latimer Room of Clare College. All are welcome. Tea, coffee and biscuits will be served from 4:45pm.

Here is Dr. Bartlett's abstract:

‘Tolstoy, Chekhov and the Music of Russian Prose’,

Although Tolstoy and Chekhov have traditionally, and with justification, been associated with the Russian realist movement, certain narrative techniques evident in their prose, such as stream of consciousness, repetition, rhythmical phrasing and counterpoint, seem to point to a closer affinity with literary modernism.  With reference to recent research into the musical affinities of works by Virginia Woolf and Katherine Mansfield, this paper will compare and contrast the different ways in which narrative construction in Tolstoy and Chekhov bears comparison with musical composition. 

The Cambridge University Library's Slavonic specialist Mel Bach has done bibliographic notes for Dr. Doak's talk on Dostoevsky's Demons on Oct 29th.

They are available here: Of Men and their Demons.

They feature: a cover page from an 1890 edition of Besy as well as Dr. Doak's informative handout, which he kindly gave us permission to reproduce. 

The next talk in the series is taking place tomorrow, at 5pm in the Latimer Room, Clare College. Robin Feuer Miller will give a talk on 'Tolstoy's 'On Mushrooms'.'


On Mushrooms


The third speaker in our series is coming on Tuesday, Nov 12th! Dr. Robin Feuer Miller of Brandeis University will give a talk called "Tolstoy's 'On Mushrooms'." As usual, the talk will take place in the Latimer Room, Clare College at 5pm. Tea and biscuits will be served from 4:45. All are welcome!

Here's the abstract:

Two secondary characters, Sergei Koznyshev and Varenka (whose last name we never learn, and know only that she was the daughter of a hotel chef, and raised, as a kind of changeling, by Mme Stahl)  contribute in multiple and important ways to the matrix of interconnections and doublings of theme in Anna Karenina.  At the same time, however, their brief foray to the edge of the woods to pick mushrooms reflects a sensibility on Tolstoy’s part that seems more akin to Chekhov’s aesthetic vision than to what we tend typically to think of as Tolstoyan.  Chekhov’s profound response to Tolstoy and especially to Anna Karenina is visible in a number of his stories such as “Anna on the Neck,” “The Lady with a Dog,” “At Home,” “About Love,” “Ariadne” and “The Nameday Party.” Tolstoy’s later deep admiration for Chekhov’s stories was, likewise, significant, as is the dialogue that developed between them both in their friendship and through subsequent stories they each wrote.  But the episode of the mushroom hunt and the ensuing conversation between Koznyshev and Varenka embodies an artistic departure of sorts for Tolstoy and a surprising excursion into a pre-Chekhovian realm.

This is the first of two talks about Tolstoy and Chekhov in our series.

Our next event will take place on Tuesday in the Latimer Room of Clare College at 5pm.

Dr. Connor Doak (Bristol) will give a talk called 'Of Men and their Demons: Masculinity in Dostoevskii's Besy'

Here's his abstract:

Critics have long considered Besy to be Dostoevskii's most political novel, a judgement that has distracted attention from the sexual deviance and gender reversals also present in the work.  My talk argues that Dostoevskii's Besy  presents a genealogy of shifting masculinities in nineteenth-century Russia. The novel critiques both the sentimental men of the 1840s generation­—presented as effete performers who have voluntarily renounced their manliness—and the radical men of the 1860s—presented as hypermasculine in their taste for violence. More intriguingly, Dostoevskii struggles to provide an alternative, positive vision of masculinity. Even Ivan Shatov is a cuckold with a naïve faith in humanity, and the converted Stepan Verkhovenskii retains his effeminacy and emotionalism in the closing chapters. My study places Dostoevskii in the context of broader European anxieties about masculinity in the second half of the nineteenth century, and argues that his work resists the essentialism seen in thinkers such as Max Nordau, Cesare Lombroso and Richard von Krafft-Ebing, who share his anxieties about gender and sexual deviance, but who propose different solutions.

Following Dr. Valeria Sobol's fascinating talk on colonial mimicry and the gothic in Antonii Pogorel'skii's Monastyrka this week, the Cambridge University Library Slavonic Specialist, Mel Bach, has put together a couple of resources that may be of interest:

1. Pogorel'skii is the featured item of the month for October on the UL website.

2. Bibliographic notes about Cambridge UL holdings related to Pogorel'skii.
The first seminar of our series, 'Interdisciplinary Approaches to Nineteenth-Century Russian Literature', is tomorrow, Tuesday October 15th at 5pm in the Thirkill Room, Clare College. The speaker is Valeria Sobol, Associate Professor in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She will be speaking on "The Gothic and Colonial Mimicry in Antony Pogorelsky's Monastyrka".

Here's the abstract:
This talk offers an analysis of Antony Pogorelsky’s novel Monastyrka (1830-33) in the theoretical framework of the “imperial Gothic/uncanny”— the entwinement of Gothic poetics with Russian imperial and colonial anxieties as manifested in nineteenth-century literary works. My reading of Monastyrka--a novel set in “Little Russia,” two generations after the absorption of the Hetmanate into the Russian empire—discusses several competing models of Ukrainians’ adoption of or resistance to the Russian imperial identity. I argue that, while conventional Gothic tropes are typically used in the text with a parodic or satiric purpose, the true Gothic threat emanates from the uncanny relay of colonial mimicry portrayed in the novel.

Valeria's work fuses studies of empire, ethnography, and the gothic, and her talk will be a great start to the seminar series.

The talk is free and open to the public, no registration required. It is supported by CEELBAS and CamCREES.