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Writing and Reading Russian Biography in the 19th and 20th centuries

  • University of Oxford, University College High Street Oxford OX1 4BH Oxford (map)

REGISTRATION OPEN: 'Writing and Reading Russian Biography in the 19th and 20th centuries', University College, Oxford, 14-16 March

Registration is essential for anyone wanting to attend any of the conference events.

Keynote speaker: Jochen Hellbeck

Keynote speaker: Jochen Hellbeck

Other speakers: Andrei Zorin, Nathaniel Knight, Duccio Colombo, Tania Voronina, Page Herrlinger, Ludmilla A. Trigos, Carol Ueland, Angela Brintlinger, Marsha Siefert, Polly Jones, Ben Eklof, Lynne Hartnett, Ivan Peshkov, Jon Stone, Galina Rylkova, Sasha Smith, Lina Bernstein, Julie Curtis, Denis Sdvizkov, Stephen M. Norris, Anatoly Pinsky, Andrea Gullotta, Philip Bullock, Margarita Vaysman, Vicky Davis, Dan Healey.

Funded by: the John Fell Fund, University of Oxford; Overbrook research fund, University College Oxford; CEELBAS

Registration is via the link below, by end of February. Places are limited and allocated on a first come, first served basis.

Registration store:

Conference webpage (with complete program; program also pasted below):


Friday 14 March 2014


5:00-6:30 WELCOME Polly Jones (Oxford)


Jochen Hellbeck (Rutgers): Biographical Clarifications and Reckonings: Soviet Survivors of Nazi Occupation and Their Audiences (1943-1945)


Saturday 15 March 2014


PANEL 1. Biographical genres and narrative forms

Discussant: Samantha Sherry (Oxford)

Andrei Zorin (Oxford), Radishchev's "The Life of Fyodor Ushakov” and the early period of Russian biographical art.

Nathaniel Knight (Seton Hall University), Biography as Archive:  The Genre of Scholarly Biography in Pre-revolutionary Russia Duccio Colombo (University of Palermo), Evil Deeds and Evil Fiction: Russian Criminal Biography from Van'ka Kain to Len'ka Panteleev Tatiana Voronina (EUSPb), Making Socialist Realist stories: the Leningrad Blockade in Soviet memories and reminiscences

11:00 COFFEE


PANEL 2. Changing Biographies over time

Discussant: Simon Dixon (UCL-SSEES)

Page Herrlinger (Bowdoin), Not a Saint’s Life:  Biographical Sketches of the Lay Preacher and Healer, Brother Ioann Churikov, 1910-1963 Ludmilla A. Trigos and Carol Ueland (Drew), Lives of Remarkable People as a Cultural Phenomenon Angela Brintlinger (Ohio State), Pushkin 'Threefold' in the Pages of ZhZL Marsha Siefert (CEU), From Biographical Novel to Biographical Film: “The Lonely Life” of Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovsky


PANEL 3. Revolutionary lives

Discussant: Susan Morrissey (UCL-SSEES)

Ben Eklof (Indiana University) and Tatiana Saburova (Omsk State Pedagogical University), О далёком прошлом. Nikolai Apollonovich Charushin and the Generational Memory of the Revolutionaries of the 1870s Lynne Hartnett (Villanova University), Literary Legitimacy:  Justifying a Radical Life in a Revolutionary Age through Autobiography Polly Jones (Oxford), Reimagining Revolutionary Heroism in Late Socialist Biographies Ivan Peshkov (Poznan University), The Grammar of Revolutionary Flame in the Fiery Revolutionaries biographical series. The Post-Stalinist Usable Past and Russian-Oriented Cosmopolitanism in the Late Soviet Union



PANEL 4. Literary biography from the imperial to the post-Soviet era

Discussant: Julie Curtis (Oxford)

Jonathan Stone (Franklin & Marshall College), Symbolist Works and Symbolist Lives: Ellis and the Return of Russkie simvolisty Galina Rylkova (University of Florida), Living with Tolstoy and Dying with Chekhov: Ivan Bunin’s Liberation of Tolstoy (1937) and About Chekhov (1953) As Two Modes of Auto/Biography Writing Alexandra Smith (University of Edinburgh), Post-Soviet Biographies of Russian Major 20th-c. Poets.


ROUNDTABLE. Writing biographies of Russians

Julie Curtis (Oxford); Lynne Hartnett (Villanova); Lina Bernstein (Franklin and Marshall); Angela Brintlinger (OSU)


Sunday March 16



PANEL 5. Auto/biography

Discussant: Catriona Kelly (Oxford)

Denis Sdvizkov (German Historical Institute Moscow), The diary of a village priest. (Auto)biographies of clerics in Russia in the first half of the nineteenth century (1780-1860) Stephen M. Norris (Miami University, Ohio), Son of the Soviet Century:  Boris Efimov and Soviet Auto/Biography Anatoly Pinsky (EUSPb), The Personal and the Public after Stalin:  The Diaries of Aleksandr Tvardovskii Andrea Gullotta (University “Ca’ Foscari” of Venice), V teni Gogolya: Sinyavsky’s Path to the Self through Biography



PANEL 6. Reading, reception and the uses of biography

Discussant: Steve Smith (Oxford)

Philip Bullock (Oxford), Biography as a Category of Reception: Russian Music in Britain, 1890-1914 Margarita Vaysman (Oxford), Nikolenka’s Childhood: Nikolay Chernyshevsky in Children’s Literature Vicky Davis (UCL-SSEES), The rise and fall of Malaia zemlia: The role of Brezhnev's biography in the construction and deconstruction of the war myth in Novorossiisk Dan Healey (Oxford),“Non-traditional” lives: the dilemmas of queering Russian biography

1:30-1:45 (approx.)