Category Archives: Reading Group

A recording of Dr Katherine Bowers’s 25 May talk on ‘Radcliffiana and the Russian Gothic Wave’, is now available on YouTube

In the third ARRN seminar of 2021, we were joined by Dr Katherine Bowers for a deep dive into the reception of the English Gothic novelist Ann Radcliffe in Russia. Why were so many novels falsely attributed to Radcliffe (alongside her actual work) in the early nineteenth century, and what can such publishing microhistories tell us about Russian, and transnational, literary culture at the time?

The talk is now available on YouTube.

ARRN Summer Events – Maria Krivosheina and Sveta Yefimenko

We are pleased two announce two Anglo-Russian Research Network events for summer 2021. Both these events are on Zoom, and details and links to the Eventbrite booking pages are below.

21 June – Maria Krivosheina on Russian literature, modernism and the British press

The New Age (1907-1922), a controversial British weekly, is well-known as an arena for heated debates on culture, arts, and politics. Russian literature stands out in the eclectic subject array of the magazine as one of the most frequently and fervently discussed topics. The New Age played a crucial role in dissemination of Russian culture in Edwardian and WWI Britain and to a large extent contributed to the ever-growing fashion for Russian fiction and poetry, most notably via the mechanism of constant polemics (including interperiodical ‘polemical networking’). This talk will focus on The New Age in context: comparison with The Egoist (1914-1919), another influential little magazine, allows us to trace how the discussion of Russian literature reflected the attempts of two prominent intellectual circles to comprehend the challenges of modernity. Looking at polemics as the principal editorial strategy of both titles, this talk will examine how debates around Russian authors fit into a number of discourses, pivotal for Anglo-American modernism: cultural and historical continuity, powers and limitations of language, functions of literature and literary criticism in the changing society, importance of cross-cultural literacy, understanding “the Other”. Furthermore, the talk will discuss the contribution of notable Anglo-Russian mediators into the cultural exchange between two empires, as individual figures as well as the agents of a broader network (Alfred Orage, C.E. Bechhofer, Paul Selver, John Cournos, and other authors).

21 July – Sveta Yefimenko, ‘Tolstoy On & In England’

Tolstoy arrived in London in March 1861. Exactly how much time he spent in the city is a matter of debate; however, whether his stay lasted twenty days or six weeks (Tolstoy claimed both at different times), the brief visit was productive and left a lasting impression on him. He toured English schoolrooms, visited Alexander Herzen’s home, was bored by Lord Palmerston’s speech at the House of Commons, wandered almost daily through the South Kensington Museum (now the Victoria and Albert Museum), met Matthew Arnold (maybe), and heard Charles Dickens speak (maybe), all while suffering from a debilitating toothache. A month after his departure, Tolstoy remarks ungratefully in his journal that London left him with ‘a disgust for civilization.’

In this talk, I will draw on Tolstoy’s letters, a draft for his short story “Lucerne” (“Liutsern,” 1857), his journal entries, and his published didactic articles, to examine Tolstoy’s attitude to both England and the English people, and how this attitude changed throughout his life. We will consider the following questions: What brought Tolstoy to London and what did he accomplish there? What did Tolstoy think of England prior to his arrival in London, particularly following his 1857 sojourn to Paris? Did the 1861 journey to London alter his view? How did the English education system contribute to Tolstoy’s own involvement with educational reform in Russia? Finally, why did Tolstoy spontaneously decide to emigrate to England in 1872 – to ‘settle first somewhere near London, and then find a beautiful and healthy spot near the sea’ – despite his professed disdain for Europe? In considering these questions, we will gain a deeper insight into Tolstoy’s critique of European civilization that informed so much of his writing and thought.

Re-scheduled ONLINE EVENT: Dr Katherine Bowers on ‘Ghost Writing: Radcliffiana and the Russian Gothic Wave’

Dr Katherine Bowers on ‘Ghost Writing: Radcliffiana and the Russian Gothic Wave

This talk will discuss the phenomenon of Radcliffiana in the context of early nineteenth-century Russian literary culture. English gothic novelist Ann Radcliffe’s writing was extremely popular in Russia. Indeed, so popular that books by other authors were frequently attributed to her and translators found it more expedient to write new gothic novels under Radcliffe’s name than to translate existing ones. The talk will give an overview of Russian Radcliffiana and its influence on readers and writers in nineteenth-century Russia. What was more influential, Radcliffe or the bevy of ghost-written and mis-attributed works that bear her name? How did Russian critics react to women novelists? And how did this Radcliffiana shape Russian literature of the nineteenth century for decades after Radcliffe’s final work? In addressing these questions, the talk will examine the curious phenomenon of transnational and transcultural literary ghostwriting and its role in creating Radcliffe’s Russian identity.

Dr Katherine Bowers is Associate Professor of Slavic Studies at the University of British Columbia. She is an expert in Russian literature and culture, whose research interests include genre, narrative, and imagined geography. Her first monograph, Writing Fear: Russian Realism and the Gothic, is forthcoming with University of Toronto Press.

Tuesday 25 May 2021, on Zoom, 6pm GMT.

As before, signups are handled on Eventbrite, and are free.

ONLINE EVENT: Dr Katherine Bowers on ‘Ghost Writing: Radcliffiana and the Russian Gothic Wave’

This talk will discuss the phenomenon of Radcliffiana in the context of early nineteenth-century Russian literary culture. English gothic novelist Ann Radcliffe’s writing was extremely popular in Russia. Indeed, so popular that books by other authors were frequently attributed to her and translators found it more expedient to write new gothic novels under Radcliffe’s name than to translate existing ones. The talk will give an overview of Russian Radcliffiana and its influence on readers and writers in nineteenth-century Russia. What was more influential, Radcliffe or the bevy of ghost-written and mis-attributed works that bear her name? How did Russian critics react to women novelists? And how did this Radcliffiana shape Russian literature of the nineteenth century for decades after Radcliffe’s final work? In addressing these questions, the talk will examine the curious phenomenon of transnational and transcultural literary ghostwriting and its role in creating Radcliffe’s Russian identity.

Dr Katherine Bowers is Associate Professor of Slavic Studies at the University of British Columbia. She is an expert in Russian literature and culture, whose research interests include genre, narrative, and imagined geography. Her first monograph, Writing Fear: Russian Realism and the Gothic, is forthcoming with University of Toronto Press.

4 May 2021, on Zoom, 6pm GMT.

Signups are managed via Eventbrite, here:

1 April 2021 – Katya Rogatchevskaia on ‘Anglo-Russian Social Networks in the Early 20th Century’

In the first ARRN event of 2021, Dr Katya Rogatchevskaia talks about Anglo-Russian social networks in the early 20th century.

This reading group will focus on Russian emigre academics in Britain, and Anglo-Russian social networks more broadly, at the turn of the 20th century. It takes the form of a thought experiment (i.e. who would have come to ARRN meetings had they existed one hundred years ago) with a view to rethinking the contours of Anglo-Russian studies and examining potential new research avenues for the field.

Dr Katya Rogatchevskaia is Lead Curator, East European Collections at the British Library. She joined the BL in 2003. Previously she had taught various courses related to Russian literature, language and culture at Russian State University for Humanities (Moscow), Glasgow and Edinburgh Universities, and had worked as a research fellow at the Institute of World Literature (Moscow). From 2006 to 2013 she was review editor, Solanus: International Journal for Russian and East European Bibliographic, Library and Publishing Studies. She was also associate editor of ‘The Book in the Slavonic and the East European World’ for Oxford Companion for the Book, ed. by Michael Suarez and HW Woudhuysen (OUP, 2010), and from 2011, chair of COSEELIS (Council for Slavonic and East European Library and Information Services).

6pm on Zoom.

You can sign-up for this event below, or here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/katya-rogatchevskaia-the-anglo-russian-research-network-100-years-ago-tickets-146024060897

Spring 2021 events

The Anglo-Russian Research Network is pleased to announce events for Spring 2021. We have three sessions lined up in April and May, with more to come later in the year.

1 April – Katya Rogatchevskaia – ‘The ARRN 100 years ago: Anglo-Russian academic and social networks in the early 20th century’ (reading group/discussion)

22 April – Bob Henderson – ‘The Little Russian Island: Lenin in London’ (guest lecture)

4 May – Katherine Bowers – ‘Ghost Writing: Radcliffiana and the Russian Gothic Wave’ (seminar)

We will circulate more details about each of these events in due course. These events will be held online.