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Matt McGarry
Teaching Assistant Professor of Russian

MA, Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of Kansas, 2005


My research focuses on the problem of realism in history and literature in Russian prose and poetry. Building on the work of Roman Jakobson, it proceeds from the position that Realism as practiced and defined in Western European literature ceases to exist in Russian literature from the 1840s onward. Whereas Western European Realism privileges continuity and contiguity, Russian Realism values incommensurability and disjuncture; contradiction in Russian Realism is not evidence of error or bad thinking but an opportunity to think differently. Russian Realism honors reality by making new, co-equal realities that exert pressure on constituted ones by the construction of other visions.

Collectively inspired by Tolstoy, Derzhavin, Pasternak, Mandelshtam, and Bitov my goal as a teacher of Russian language, literature, and culture is to, as Hayden White writes, help students become agents rather than patients of history.

Recent Publications

Extended Encylopedia Article: “Acmeism,” The Routledge Encyclopedia of European Modernism; Ed. Megan Swift (Routledge: 2015).

Translation: “Vdrug u Tolstogo: neozhidannoe v mire zakonnomirnogo, (“Tolstoy’s Tropics of Suddenness: The Unexpected in the World of the Law”) The Unexpected in the World of the Law”) Olga Slivitskaya, Tolstoy Studies Journal, Vol. XXV.

Translation: “Padeniie” (The Fall), Dmitrii Bykov, Late- and Post-Soviet Russian Literature: A Reader; Eds. Mark Lipovetsky and Lisa Ryoko Wakamiya; Brighton, MA: Academic Studies Press (2013).

Review: Tolstoy on War, Narrative Art and Historical Truth in “War and Peace”; Eds. Rick McPeak and Donna Tussing Orwin. Cornell, 2012. Tolstoy Studies Journal, Vol XXV, 1-3

Review: A History of Russian Literary Theory and Criticism; Eds. Evgeny Dobrenko and Galin Tihanov Pittsburg: 2012. Slavic and East European Journal, 57:3, 488-489.

“Ode to the Great Leader” or “Ode to the Poet”: Identifying the Hero in Osip Mandel’shtam’s “Poems about Stalin.” Studies in Slavic Cultures and Literatures VI 2007, 67-81.

Recent Conference Papers

November 2019, Paper: “Nabokov’s The Gift: Literary History as Fulfillment” ASEEES, San Francisco

November 2019 (Discussant)“Mandelstam: Art, Politics, and Religion” ASEEES, San Francisco

October 2019, “The Dialectical Figure of Realism in War and Peace.” SCMLA, Little Rock Arkansas

November 2016, Roundtable: “Tolstoy and the Fiction of History” (with Donna Orwin, Jeff Love, Michael Denner, and Dominic Lieven); ASEEES Paper: “The Figure of History in Mandelstam’s Critical Prose.” ASEEES, Washington, D. C.

2015, Roundtable: “Tolstoy: Aesthetics, Politics, and Death” (Discussant w/ Michael Denner, Jeff Love, and David Houston), ASEES, Philadelphia

November 2013 Panel: Acmeism and Modernism: “Derzhavin’s Slate and Acmeist Materiality of Modernism” ASEEES, Boston

Frequently Taught Courses

  • RUSS 101
  • RUSS 102
  • RUSS 203

Additional Information

For further information, please consult Matt McGarry’s CV.