Tag Archive for Priscilla Meyer

Books by Meyer, Smolkin Translated and Distributed in Russia

meyer book

Two books written by Wesleyan faculty have recently been translated to Russian, where they are now being distributed.

Nabokov and Indeterminacy: The Case of the Real Life of Sebastian Knight was originally written by Priscilla Meyer, professor emerita of Russian language and literature, and published by Northwestern University Press in 2018. Renowned translator and Nabokov expert Vera Polishchuk translated Meyer’s book, which is now available in Russian by Academic Studies Press.

Nabokov and Indeterminacy shows how Vladimir Nabokov’s early novel The Real Life of Sebastian Knight illuminates his later work. Meyer explores how Nabokov associates his characters in Sebastian Knight with systems of subtextual references to Russian, British, and American literary and philosophical works. She then turns to Lolita and Pale Fire, applying these insights to show that these later novels clearly differentiate the characters through subtextual references. Meyer argues that the dialogue Nabokov constructs among subtexts explores his central concern: the continued existence of the spirit beyond bodily death. She suggests that because Nabokov’s art was a quest for an unattainable knowledge of the otherworldly, knowledge which can never be conclusive, Nabokov’s novels are never closed in plot, theme, or resolution.

sacred space

A Sacred Space Is Never Empty: A History of Soviet Atheism was written by Victoria Smolkin, associate professor of history, and published by Princeton University Press in 2018. Olga Leontieva translated the book, which is now available by New Literary Observer.

A Sacred Space Is Never Empty presents the first history of Soviet atheism from the 1917 revolution to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. Smolkin argues that to understand the Soviet experiment, we must make sense of Soviet atheism. She shows how atheism was reimagined as an alternative cosmology with its own set of positive beliefs, practices, and spiritual commitments. Through its engagements with religion, the Soviet leadership realized that removing religion from the “sacred spaces” of Soviet life was not enough. Then, in the final years of the Soviet experiment, Mikhail Gorbachev—in a stunning and unexpected reversal—abandoned atheism and reintroduced religion into Soviet public life.

The translation was already featured in the Russian newspaper Kommersant, in the media project STOL, in The Journal Republic, and the media platform polit.ru.

Meyer Recipient of Excellence in Post-Secondary Teaching Award

Priscilla Meyer

Priscilla Meyer

Priscilla Meyer, chair and professor of Russian, East European and Eurasian studies, is the recipient of a 2014 Excellence in Post-Secondary Teaching award, granted by the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages (AATSEEL).

AATSEEL exists to advance the study and promote the teaching of Slavic and East European languages, literatures, and cultures on all educational levels.

Meyer received her award during the the 2015 AATSEEL Conference Jan. 9 held in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The event featured scholarly panels, supplemented by advanced seminars, roundtables, workshops, informal coffee conversations with leading scholars, and other special events, such as poetry readings and receptions.

Priscilla Meyer received the prize from AATSEEL President Thomas Seifrid of the University of Southern California.

Priscilla Meyer received the prize from AATSEEL President Thomas Seifrid of the University of Southern California.

Wesleyan graduates Lindsay Ceballos ’07 and Emily Wang ’08, both Ph.D. candidates at Princeton University, delivered papers at the conference.

At Wesleyan, Meyer teaches courses on 19th and 20th century Russian literature. Her research interests include intertextuality, French and German sources of the 19th century Russian novel, and works by Russian novelist Vladimir Nabokov. Learn more about her research here.


Meyer Presents Paper at Vladimir Nabokov Museum

Rachel Trousdale and Priscilla Meyer stand on the landing of the Nabokov Museum at 47 Bol'shaya Morskaya Street in St. Petersburg.

Rachel Trousdale and Priscilla Meyer stand on the landing of the Nabokov Museum at 47 Bol’shaya Morskaya Street in St. Petersburg.

Chair of the Russian Language and Literature Department Priscilla Meyer and her daughter, Rachel Trousdale, an associate professor at Agnes Scott College, co-authored a paper. The paper, “Vladimir Nabokov and Virginia Woolf,” will appear in the coming issue of Comparative Literature Studies. A Penn State Press publication, Comparative Literature Studies “publishes comparative articles in literature and culture, critical theory, and cultural and literary relations within and beyond the Western tradition.”

Vladimir Nabokov was a Russian-born novelist, most known for his book, Lolita (1955). He also founded Wellesley College’s Russian Department and was a distinguished entomologist.

In July, Meyer and Trousdale presented two sections of the paper at the “Nabokov Readings,” a conference held annually in the Nabokov Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia.

In addition, the Nabokov Society of Japan invited Meyer to speak at the Kyoto conference in November 2013. In Japan, scholars of Russian and English literature traditionally studied Nabokov’s works separately without the benefit of a common forum for discussion. The Nabokov Society of Japan organizes two scholarly conferences every year in order to allow scholars and fans of Nabokov to discuss their research and ideas.

Meyer Participates in Russian Paper’s 100th Anniversary

Priscilla Meyer, professor of Russian language and literature, chair of the Russian Department, professor of Russian and Eastern European studies, presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to Valery (Lawrence) Wainberg, editor of the oldest Russian-language newspaper in the United States, The New Russian Word. Meyer participated in the 100th anniversary of the newspaper's existence and the 21st anniversary of the founding of the Russian division of the United Jewish Appeal (UJA). The celebration took place at the Park Avenue synagogue in New York in June.