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Petersburg: the space of Russian literature? (Talk by Polina Barskova)

In her lecture, Professor Barskova will talk about literary fates of the city of Petersburg that for centuries was the capital of Russian Empire and inspired much adoration and resistance in its inhabitants and especially in its poets and artists. What made the city so important for Pushkin and Gogol, Dostoevsky, Nabokov, Akmatova, and Brodsky? Why so many great works of Russian literature take place in Petersburg? What's the fatal attraction? This lecture will be a guided tour of literary history of one of the most controversial and irresistible places in Russia.

Polina Barskova was born in Leningrad in 1976, began writing poetry at the age of eight and since then during many years had been attending studio (“kruzhok”) for writing children.  She published her first book of poetry “Christmas” in 1991, at the moment her 10th of poetry “Summer Morning in the Square” is in print in Saint Petersburg. Barskova received her BA from St. Petersburg State University in Classics for diploma on Catullus, and her MA and PhD from the University of California at Berkeley where she arrived in 1998 and studied cultural history of Petrograd-Leningrad. Her scholarly publications include articles on Nabokov, Bakhtin brothers, early Soviet film, and, lately, on culture of the besieged Leningrad. Now Barskova lives in Amherst with her daughter Frosia where she is teaching Russian literature at Hampshire College; working on a project entitled "The Ruin Screams: Culture in the Besieged Leningrad (1941-44)," new books of her poetry and prose both in Russian and in English translation. At the end of 2015 Barskova received Andrey Bely Prize for her book of prose “Living Pictures.”

 

The event is sponsored by UMass Russian, Eurasian and Polish Studies Program and Three College Russian Initiative.