Empire and the Russian Classics


Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowships for Recently Tenured Scholars


Germanic, Russian, and East European Languages and Literatures


For residence at the Institute for Advanced Study, School of Historical Studies during academic year 2013-2014


The project centers on imperial themes in the works of major Russian writers of the 1850s to the 1900s. It will show that, far from an exotic setting in a handful of literary texts, empire was an enduring concern for all canonical writers of the tsarist era. In the case of some of these writers, their imperial thematics are largely unknown. The project examines the impact of Russia’s history, geography, and ethnic diversity on its literary culture. It also links literary treatments of empire with their reception in the journals. The focus lies on the diversity of the authors’ approaches to Russia’s imperial victories, challenges, and dilemmas. Clearly, Russians have disagreed robustly about their nation; this project traces how they have disagreed about their empire.