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."
Our course will attempt to create a map of contemporary Russian culture and 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. The main focus will be on the relationship between the official "propaganda" culture and its Others: opposition within and without, cultural conflict with Ukraine, reactions to the Putin's empire in the West.
Everyone who has read and written may know a desire to respond creatively to a work of art. But what kind of response may be urged by the work of the "greatest" writer who ever lived: William Shakespeare? Does one wish to mimic or to challenge? What does it mean to re-make Shakespeare? How can a modern work of art absorb something that different and that huge? This course will explore works of Shakespeare as the source of inspiration for arts verbal and visual, perfomative and rhetorical. We will read closely four plays from the latter half of Shakespeare's career and analyze artistic reactions to these texts in: modern world theater, film, fiction, and poetry, together with other selected visual representations of Shakespearean characters and scenes. Topics of discussion will include: reading, re-reading, adaptation and translation; the historical and cultural conditions of reception and canon-making; modern theoretical responses (psychoanalytic, postcolonial); as well as individual battles with and seductions by the Bard. There will be regular written responses expected--critical and perhaps creative--together with two formal analytic essays and one longer, developed paper or project.
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