Professor Pamela Davidson. After studying Russian, French and Italian at Newnham College, Cambridge, I moved to St Antony’s College, Oxford, where I began postgraduate research in the field of comparative literature under the supervision of Max Hayward and Timothy Binyon. My doctoral thesis on the reception of Dante in Russia focused on the Russian Symbolist poet and philosopher, Viacheslav Ivanov. Thanks to the award of a travelling Junior Research Fellowship at Queen’s College, I was able to live in Moscow for some years, working in literary archives and savouring the many incongruities of Soviet life in the late Brezhnev era. I was privileged to meet several writers, artists, and members of the unofficial Russian intelligentsia, who had a profound influence on my intellectual and personal development. In 1981 I returned to England to take up a Lectureship in Russian at the University of Birmingham; after a spell at the University of Surrey, I moved to SSEES in 1993. From 2003 to 2006 I was Head of the Russian Department, and became a professor in 2007.
I am very interested in the dynamics of the development of literary tradition, and also fascinated by the varied ways in which the complex relationship between ideas and literature manifests itself in different cultures. My investigation of the reception of Dante in Russian literature led me to discover Viacheslav Ivanov; his astonishing range and depth, spanning the worlds of poetry, philosophy, classical scholarship, aesthetics, Russian Orthodoxy, and Catholicism, continue to excite me. The letters he exchanged with the famous classicist C.M. Bowra, found in Rome and Oxford, form the basis of my study Vyacheslav Ivanov and C.M. Bowra: A Correspondence from Two Corners on Humanism (Birmingham, 2006).
Vyacheslav Ivanov and C.M. Bowra: A Correspondence from Two Corners on Humanism Birmingham Slavonic Monographs, no. 36 (Birmingham, 2006)