Current Institutional Affiliation
Associate Professor, Russian and Comparative Literature, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey / New Brunswick

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2005
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Literature, Harvard University
Boundary Literature: Aesthetic, Personal, and Historical Dimensions

My dissertation work draws its inspiration and focus from the work of Lydia Ginzburg, a figure most widely known as a literary scholar, but whose writings so thoroughly straddle critical, autobiographical, and historical modes that we must at first consider her (through the convenience of the hyphen) as a scholar-writer. Lydia Ginzburg's Notebooks, composed over a period of more than six decades (but published only under Gorbachev in the 1980s) form a kind of un-self-centered autobiography, which try to fix in words the patterns of individual and social (collective) life in Leningrad from the 1920s through the Stalinist purges and the Blockade, and into the years of perestroika. The combination of diverse disciplines (history, philosophy, political science) within works of Russian literature is a well-established feature of the tradition. I regard Ginzburg within this tradition, but believe that her scholarly publications on the one hand, and her notebooks and essays on the other (i.e. her subtler fictions), while remarkably consistent in concern, reveal new aspects of her theories, ethics, and aesthetics. I plan to study the ability, more broadly, of the notebook genre (a fragmentary form) to inhabit and investigate intersections between individual and general history, and to explore the notebooks within a Russian tradition of similar works in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries (beginning with Herzen, Viazemsky, and Tolstoy). My examples of boundary literature will allow me to consider larger questions of the relationships between: fact (or history) and fiction, sociology and literary scholarship, and more broadly, literature and life.