Associate Professor of Russian Literature
Her scholarly publications include articles on Nabokov, the Bakhtin brothers, early Soviet film, and the aestheticization of historical trauma, primarily, culture of the Siege of Leningrad (1941-1944).
She has also authored eight books of poetry and one book of prose in Russian. Three books of her poetry in English translation were published recently: This Lamentable City (Tupelo Press), Zoo in Winter (Melville House Press), Relocations (Zephyr Press).
Professor Barskova is currently working on a project entitled "The Ruin Screams: Poetics of the Spatial Representation During the Siege of Leningrad."
The task of this course will be to develop portfolio of translations connected to the discussions about specifics of the poetry translation, both in theory and in practice. Students should be curious (but, obviously not masterful) about poetry and literary translation and willing to experiment with stretching the limits of their linguistic and creative possibilities. Readings will include both theoretical thinkers of translations (such as Benjamin, Derrida et al.) and poets and writers who insisted on enriching their creative practice working with translation (Poe, Nabokov, Borges, Brodsky, Carson). Portfolios for this course will include among the other possible assignments -- translations, post-class and in-class assignments, interviews with the translators in one's life.
This course will explore the lesser-known masterpieces of the "Golden Age" of Russian Literature. Outside of the realm of the great Russian novel (poignantly described by Henry James as "loose baggy monsters"), there exists a realm of the exquisite shorter works of literature: short stories, tales, and sketches. We will read them, talk about them, write and play in their light. Readings will include short fictions by Alexander Pushkin, Mikhail Lermontov, Ivan Turgenev, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Anton Chekhov, and others.
Experts in literature seek to provide an interpretation of a given discourse. Experts in linguistics seek to provide a theory that explains how that interpretation comes about. For example, a literature expert may ask of a given discourse: who is being addressed, from what point of view and why? On the other hand, a linguist would ask: how is it that we understand that particular individual(s) are being addressed in a certain way? The goal of this class is to employ both methodologies to explore forms of address in literary (poetry and short prose), documentary (letters, newspapers) and popular (songs, films) discourses.
This course provides both the "greatest hits" of Russian and Soviet film (including the work of Sergei Eisenstein, Dziga Vertov, Andrey Tarkovsky, and Nikita Mikhalkov) and many names, movies, and topics that still await appreciation in the West. These less-known gems include the silent achievements of Evgeniy Bauer, the subversive, anti-colonial riches of Sergey Paradjanov, and the dreamlike animation of Yuri Norstein are some of them. We cover works of the Soviet avante-guard, the "high" Stalinist Cinema, neo-realism of the Thaw, and go as far as Russian films that are made now, at the beginning of the 21st century. In addition to exploration in aesthetics and ideological tasks of the Russian film, we will pay close attention to the many connections between the cinematic and literary traditions in Russian film century.
We will read works by Tolstoy and Dostoevsky paying close attention not only to the context of these works' creation and their aesthetic qualities, but crucially, to how they were received by their readers used for shaping new literary theories in the 19th and 20th centuries. We will look at Russian Formalism, Bakhtin's Circle Structuralism et al. Intended for close readers, theory fiends and aspiring writers alike--we'll work on all these skills.
A seemingly straightforward question: "What does it mean to translate?" might be one of the trickiest, most paradoxical, and yet liberating questions in the field of language study. This class aims to prepare students for the task of translation by introducing them to various approaches - as a creative process, as a multifaceted profession, as a political and ethical problem in our world today -- and by encouraging its practice. In class we will discuss leading and competing theories of translation as well as works of fiction that highlight the work of the translator. We will contemplate the place of translation in global writers of the xx-xxi centuries. And, crucially, we will facilitate the students' work on their portfolio of translations
While Tolstoy and Dostoevsky in the 19th century and Socialist Realists in the 20th century defined form and content of the Russian and Soviet literatures, two writers whom we will read closely for this course observed, commented on and derided construction of the canon while sitting--as Cheshire cat once did--on the imaginary clouds of the self-imposed marginality. Both created their most famous works in the exile, both played with limits of language, traditional morale and gender, both were eccentric, provocative, unique and highly influential. In our readings we will move between the celebrated texts, such as Gogol's "Overcoat" and Nabokov's "Pnin" to the lesser known works of various genres: short stories, essays, letters and interviews. We will also watch several film adaptations of Gogol's and Nabokov's texts attempting to answer the question: how--if at all--notoriously playful stylistic literary choices can be "translated" for the screen? Our protagonists--who saw themselves as eccentrics and were seen in equal measures of awe and animosity by others--should help us define what it means to be different within a discourse and a culture.
In Russia, the beginning of the twenty-first century has witnessed enough change, upheaval, and controversy that we might start looking for the emergence of new modes of cultural representation. When the president of the country flies up to guide a herd of migrating cranes and dives down to discover archaeological artifacts, when the fathers of the Russian Orthodox Church focus on the interpretation of an all-girl punk group performance, when the popular protest against the Kremlin is led by popular writers and poets-how do all these and many other bewildering phenomena create texts and how do texts in turn shape them? Our course will attempt to create a map of contemporary Russian literature, exploring its institutions, major players and genres, as well as the modes of its interaction with other discourses and media. We will read novels and essays, poetry and drama; we will also contemplate the role of translation and criticism in the development of the Russian literary languages and strategies of today. Our research topics will include the ways in which Russian literature now reflects on its relationship with tradition and canon formation (just how new are much discussed movements like New Drama and New Left poetry and how do they relate to their predecessors?), the dialogue between East and West, new figurations of gender and class, of cultural and historical memory. In drawing our map, we will also explore new Russian writing in the diaspora, seeing how it creates a dialogue with-and a critique of-contemporary modes of textual production in the "metropole."