A/Z: Essays in Honor of Alexander Zholkovsky

A/Z: Essays in Honor of Alexander Zholkovsky

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Edited by Dennis Ioffe, Marcus Levitt, Joe Peschio, and Igor Pilshchikov

ISBN: 9781618117205 (hardcover) / 9781618117786 (paperback)
Pages: 702 pp.
Publication Date: April 2018

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This bilingual collection in honor of the great scholar and writer Alexander Zholkovsky brings together new work from forty-four leading scholars in nine countries. Like Zholkovsky’s oeuvre, this volume covers a broad range of subjects and employs an array of approaches. Topics range from Russian syntax to Peter the Great, literary theory, and Russian film. The articles are rooted in computational analysis, literary memoir, formal analysis, cultural history, and a host of other methodological and discursive modes. This collection provides not only a fitting tribute to one of the most fascinating figures of Russian letters but also a remarkable picture of the shape of Russian literary scholarship today.

Dennis Ioffe is a research fellow at the University of Amsterdam and a lecturer at Ghent University, Belgium. He received his PhD in Slavic Studies and Cultural Analysis from The University of Amsterdam. His previous teaching and research appointments also include The University of Edinburgh (UK) and Memorial University (Canada). Ioffe has edited a number of academic book-collections and has authored more than eighty scholarly articles.

Marcus Levitt is professor emeritus of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Southern California and the author, editor, or translator of ten books, as well as numerous scholarly articles.

Joe Peschio is associate professor of Russian at the University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee and author of The Poetics of Impudence and Intimacy in the Age of Pushkin (U Wisconsin Press, 2012). He received his PhD in Russian Literature from University of Michigan. 

Igor Pilshchikov is research associate professor in the Institute for World Culture at Lomonosov Moscow State University, senior research fellow at Tallinn University, and visiting associate professor of Slavic, East European and Eurasian Languages and Cultures at University of California—Los Angeles. He is the author of two books and numerous scholarly articles on Russian poetry and literary theory.


How diverse and inspiring can a researcher’s interests be? In the case of Alexander Zholkovsky, who celebrates his eightieth anniversary with thirty-five books and about four hundred articles, not including translations and reprints, interviews and other newspaper materials, the scope must be very wide. … Essays in Honor of Alexander Zholkovsky demonstrates that the celebrant’s creativity and academic fertility clearly give life to a large number of research ideas in a wide variety of research domains.
— Natalia Batova, University of Melbourne, Australian Slavonic and East European Studies, Vol. 32
Zholkovsky’s work—vast in scope and eclectic in methodology—has long been humanizing semiotics in both the Russian and American academy, giving it a face, a sense of humor, a stake in the real worlds we live by, but never losing its structuralist bedrock. The essays collected here, which range from Pushkin to Fyodor Karamazov, Okudzhava and Sedakova, from Peter the Great’s scandals abroad to Russian literary theory and filmmaking at home, are a goldmine by leading Slavists in North America, Europe, and Russia. A huge book of brilliant nuggets, it lights up the contours of our field today while paying perfect vignette-like tribute to Alik’s long non-conformist career, as fascinating and inscrutably flexible as it was often perilous.
— Caryl Emerson, A. Watson Armour III University Professor Emeritus of Slavic Languages and Literatures, Princeton University
This book is a wonderful gift not only for the ‘jubilee celebrant’ (for AZ it is impossible to imagine this phrase without quotes), but for all of us. The variety of topics, genres and authors might seem surprising were it not for the fact that this variety reflects the character of the book’s addressee. Its content, better than any manifesto or theoretical treatise, brings us good news: that a lack of intellectual inhibition, an unrestricted field of vision, and an enthusiasm that does not cloy are all so becoming to scholarship that, in essence, has as its sole palpable subject the infinity of creative choices.

I have always liked Mayakovsky’s neologism: ‘Do not jubilee!’ (He himself, though, was very much concerned with his own anniversaries.) A / Z is completely devoid of the sedate smoothness of octogenaric jubilees, but it has a lot of panache and a spirit of intellectual adventure, and most importantly, fun. In this, the book bears a striking resemblance to its addressee.
— Boris Gasparov, Boris Bakhmeteff Professor Emeritus of Russian and East European Studies, Columbia University; Head of Philology Academic Program, Higher School of Economics, St. Petersburg

Table of Contents

Dennis Ioffe, Marcus Levitt, Joe Peschio, and Igor Pilshchikov
Александр Жолковский: От жизни логоса к логосу жизни

Dennis Ioffe, Marcus Levitt, Joe Peschio, and Igor Pilshchikov
Alexander Zholkovsky: From the Life of Meaning to the Meaning of Life

Anthony Anemone (New York)
“Dear Iosif Vissarionovich”: The Unmaking of Kalatozov’s Mountain Eagles

David Bethea (Madison)
Notes Towards an Evolutionary Poetics

Mikhail Bezrodny (Heidelberg)
«Против инварианта не попрешь»

Alina Bodrova (Moscow)
Неподцензурные редакции как подтекст: К литературной истории послания Пушкина «К.А. Тимашевой»

Nikolai Bogomolov (Moscow)
Заметки о песнях Булата Окуджавы

John E. Bowlt (Los Angeles)
Победы реализма

Marijeta Bozovic (New Haven)
“I’ll Permit Myself to Continue for Pasternak”: The Reflections on Olga Sedakova’s Long Modernist Century

Oksana Bulgakowa (Mainz)
Режиссер как звезда: Сергей Эйзенштейн в портретах и автопортретах

Andrei Dobritsyn (Lausanne)
От Варрона до Панара: Комментарий к «Обедам» Баратынского

Alexander Dolinin (Madison)
Вослед Жолковскому. Пять заметок о рассказе Набокова «Весна в Фиальте»

Mikhail Epstein (Atlanta)
Парадоксальные речевые акты в литературе: Трансформативы и контраформативы

Stuart Goldberg (Atlanta)
Creating a Sincere Voice: One Poetic Device in Pushkin’s Lyrics of the 1830s

Vladimir Golstein (Providence)
Sacred Violence in Blok’s “Dvenadtsat'”

Mikhail Gronas (Hanover), Boris Orekhov (Moscow)
Что такое семантическое издание и почему в будущем все издания станут семантическими?

Aage Hansen-Löve (Munich / Vienna)
«Scribo, quia absurdum» у Даниила Хармса: Трамвайные вопросы

Leonid Heller (Lausanne / Paris)
«Я–город» из стекла, или Прозрачность и зверь в романе Замятина «Мы»

Yuri Leving (Halifax)

Mark Lipovetsky (Boulder)
Трикстер vs. трикстер: «Учителя» и «ученики» у Эренбурга, Олеши, Булгакова и Бабеля

Igor Mel'čuk (Montréal)
“Wordlets”: One of Zholkovsky’s Major Contributions to the Notion of Deep-Syntactic Structure

Michael Meylac (Strasbourg / Saint Petersburg)
«Индия пусть»: Обоснование чужой одушевленности

Igor Nemirovsky (Boston / Saint Petersburg)
Федор Павлович Карамазов — человек пушкинской эпохи

Lada Panova (Los Angeles)
Магия старинного слова: О любовной элегии Осипа Мандельштама «Tristia»

Kevin M. F. Platt (Philadelphia)
Dmitry Golynko and the Weaponization of Discourse Poetry

Sarah Pratt (Los Angeles)
Small Talk, Whimsy, and Gravitas: A Few Quasi-Zholkovskian Vignettes of Encounters with Lidiia Ginzburg

Oleg Proskurin (Atlanta)
«И бездны мрачной на краю»

Barry P. Scherr (Hanover)
Seeing the Forest Through the Trees: The Underlying Structure of Gumilev’s “Les”

Wolf Schmid (Hamburg)
Книга Иова в «Братьях Карамазовых», или «надрывная» теодицея

Andreas Schönle (London)
Structures of Time and the Topos of Ruin in Kira Muratova’s “Among Grey Stones”

Thomas Seifrid (Los Angeles)
The Paradox of Tolstoyan Interiority

Igor P. Smirnov (Konstanz)
Обнажение мастера, засекречивающего прием (Источники груневальдского эпизода в романе Владимира Набокова «Дар»)

Galin Tihanov (London)
Organicity: From the History of a Discourse

Boris Uspensky (Moscow / Naples)
Из гоголевской антропонимики

Ilya Vinitsky (Princeton)
La Leçon d’Anatomie: Как царь Петр своих подданных от брезгливости не отучил

Ronald Vroon (Los Angeles)
“Though I Speak with the Tongues of Men and of Angels…”: Some Notes on Velimir Khlebnikov’s “Liminal” Neology

Michael Wachtel (Princeton)
Four Notes on Pushkin’s Prose

Willem G. Weststeijn (Amsterdam)
Can We Know the Writer from His Work? The Case of Alexander Zholkovsky

Frederick H. White (Orem / Salt Lake City)
Aleksei Balabanov’s “Cinema about Cinema”

Aleksey Yudin (Ghent / Brussels)
Символика пересечения границ в восточнославянских заговорах

Andrei Zorin (Oxford / Moscow)
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