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."
This course will explore how narratives live and die; how society can endanger them and bring them to fruition; how various environments, social and natural, influence production of language and narrative. Among these environments, we will look at writing in and about prison, concentration camps and environmental disaster, with special attention dedicated to the topics of censorship and language death, which we will treat as political and social environments of their own kind. We will ask questions like: (1) Why are narratives censored and why are so many languages dying? Who has a say in the matter and what can be done? (2) How does a censored narrative/dead language become uncensored/revitalized? Why is it often labeled "classic"/"exotic" by virtue of being found/revitalized? (3) Can and should we find extinct narratives/languages? (4) How and why does a human create narratives while knowing it will likely be censored and extinct?
In Greek, the term "Ekphrasis" means "to describe, to point out, to explain" and is associated with the desire to turn that which is visual into words. How do text and image reflect and depend on each other? For centuries, these two modes of representation have enjoyed fruitful yet difficult paths of communication and mutual questioning/interrogation. This course will touch on various issues that emerge from the rhetorical collaboration between text and image. Beginning with G.E. Lessing's 18th century discussion of the ancient sculpture of the Laocoon and ending with contemporary texts and imagery, we will examine the mutual "collaborations" between artist and writer, and writer and artist as romantic, modernist, and post-modernist activities. Writers and artists may include but are not limited to: Auden, Baudelaire, Beuys, Bruegel, Cezanne, Duchamp, Elmer, Ginsburg, van Gogh, Gogol, Hawthorne, Keats, Kennedy, Khnopff, Lessing, Moreau, Redon, Rich, Rossetti, Ruskin, Sexton, Shelley, Stein, Tennyson, Tsvetaeva, Turner, da Vinci, Waterhouse, Wilde, and Williams. This course is designed primarily for Division II students with at least one course in literature and/or art history.