RESEARCH: PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE


In my current primary research project, I examine how James Joyce’s legacy radiated throughout Russian literature of the long twentieth century. To do so, I complete close readings of texts by five representative Russian authors who actively read the Irish luminary: Yury Olesha (1899-1960), Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977), Andrei Bitov (1937–), Sasha Sokolov (1943–), and Mikhail Shishkin (1961–). This project simultaneously fills a substantial gap in the history of Russian literary exchanges and provides new insights into several major writers’ novels. I consider each figure’s biographical, historical, and cultural contexts, while a set of shared themes, namely artistic identity, generational conflicts, and the influence of the past, unites their responses and shapes their dialogue with Joyce’s oeuvre, ideas, and persona.

My research on Joyce and Russia has led to several related peer-reviewed articles published, forthcoming, and under review on topics in Russian modernist and postmodernist prose, including at least one on each of my monograph’s five primary authors. Additionally, I have published articles on the multilingual Czech surrealist poet Ivan Blatný and on Daniil Kharms's short story "Blue Notebook No.10" through the lens of cognitive linguistics. For a complete list of publications, including reviews, translations, and essays, please see my CV.

Now in its early stages, “The Poetics of Resignation in Russian Modernism” is the subject of my next manuscript-length project. I will explore why the trope of capitulation features prominently among authors including Evgeny Zamiatin (1884-1937), Mikhail Bulgakov (1891-1940), Daniil Kharms (1905-1942), and Boris Pasternak (1890-1960). This undertaking will map connections and contrasts with European and Anglophone works, while drawing on philosophical texts regarding resignation (e.g., Schopenhauer and Kierkegaard) to trace Russian modernists’ tendency toward capitulation.

Photo by Claire Mason