Alexander ZholkovskyProfessor of Slavic Languages and Literatures
Phone: (213) 740-0029
Office: THH 255
Alexander Zholkovsky graduated from MGU, Russia (1959), earned his Ph. D. in linguistics from the MGU Institute of Oriental Languages (1969), and worked on structural semantics and lexicography in collaboration with Professor Igor Mel'cuk (since 1977 at the University of Montreal, Canada). His major publications in these fields include Somali Syntax: Deep and Surface Structures (Moscow, 1971) and Explanatory Combinatorial Dictionary of Modern Russian (with I. A. Mel'cuk; Vienna, 1984).
Parallel to these linguistic studies, he developed an interest in poetics. He was active in the Moscow-Tartu school of semiotics and together with Yuri Shcheglov (now at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisc.) developed a "poetics of expressiveness," introducing and developing the concepts of expressive device, thematic and structural invariance, and authors' poetic worlds. This "generativist" approach to literary competence and its applications in practical criticism (of Pushkin, Tolstoy, and Pasternak, among others) are reflected in numerous articles in Russian and European journals and the monographs : Themes and Texts Ithaca & London, 1984) and Poetics of Expressiveness (with Yu. Shcheglov; Amsterdam & Philadelphia, 1987).
Prior to emigrating from the Soviet Union in 1979, Alexander Zholkovsky organized and chaired the Moscow Seminar in Poetics (1976-1979), which gathered at his home, bringing together such eminent figures as Boris Gasparov, Mikhail Gasparov, Viacheslav Vs. Ivanov, Yuri Levin, Yuri Lotman, Eleazar Meletinsky, Irina Paperno, Kiril Taranovsky, Olga Sedakova, Yuri Shcheglov, Tatiana Tsiv'ian, Boris Uspensky, and others. In the West, he guest-lectured in major universities of Europe and taught at the University of Amsterdam (1979), Cornell University (1980-1983), where he chaired the Russian Department, and USC (since 1984).
The experience of emigration, teaching Russian literature to American students, and exposure to postmodern thinking led to a change in the approach to literary studies. His focus shifted to the Soviet Aesopian "art of adaptation," the poetics of "bad writing" (plokhopis'), and intertextuality. Zholkovsky's second English-language book, Text Counter Text: Rereadings in Russian Literary History (Stanford, 1994 [cloth], 1995 [paper]) is about the ways modern Russian writers (Brodsky, Limonov, Sokolov, Olesha, Bulgakov, Il'f and Petrov, Zoshchenko, Platonov, Pasternak [The window in the poetic world of Boris Pasternak, The dynamics of the second birth], Bunin) are engaged in a reinterpretive dialogue with the past masters of Russian literature (Karamzin, Pushkin, Gogol, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Chekhov), as well as with one another and the major co-temporary discourse: that of Soviet totalitarianism.
An intertextualist agenda underlies also his study of the Jewish-Russian writer Isaac Babel, coauthored by NYU's Mikhail Yampolsky (Babel'/Babel, Moscow, 1994). In his chapters of the book (some of which are available as articles in English), Zholkovsky traces the writer's Bloomian misreading of his Russian predecessors (Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Gorky) and some topoi of Russian literature, a rereading that draws on the "alien" support from Guy de Maupassant and the French literary tradition in general (in particular, Rousseau, Flaubert, and Zola).
Professor Zholkovsky's recent and current projects include (i) a demythologizing study of Anna Akhmatova's zhiznetvorcheskie ("life-creation") strategies as a sui generis obverse of Stalinism (Anna Akhmatova: scripts, not scriptures [Review Article], Anna Akhmatova piat'desiat let spustia, The obverse of Stalinism: Akhmatova's self-serving charisma of Selflessness) and (ii) a reinterpretation of Mikhail Zoshchenko's oeuvre, including his comic stories, as an expression of the author's existential anxieties (discussed in his autopsychoanalytical book Before Sunrise). The latter study has appeared in book form in Russian as Mikhail Zoshchenko: A Poetics of Mistrust (Moscow: "Shkola Iazyki Russkoi Kul'tury," 1999) and, in part, as a series of articles in English.
His recent work has focused on the phenomenon of what he termed "infinitive poetry" - verses written in sequences of (quasi)-absolute infinitive constructions and sharing a common semantic "halo", with special reference to the poetry of Pasternak, Shershenevich, and Brodsky. He is now preparing an annotated anthology of Russian infinitive poetry of the 18th--20th centuries.
Professor Zholkovsky has been a recipient of several grants and fellowships, among them those from Cornell University's Society for the Humanities, the National Humanities Center, North Carolina, and the American Council of Learned Societies. He was awarded the Prize of the journal Zvezda (The Star) (1998) and USC's Raubenheimer Award (1999). He is a member of the Editorial Board of Novoe Literaturnoe Obozrenie ( New Literary Survey). He is a regular participant in the national conferences of Slavic scholars and national and international invited symposia and publishes activelyboth in Russia and the West. All in all, Professor Zholkovsky is the author of over 210 scholarly articles and 18 books, including two excercizes increative writing: a book of (meta)fiction: NRZB ["Illegible". Fictions] (Moscow, 1991) and two of non-fiction (Memoiristic vignettes and other non-fictions (Moscow, 2000) and Erosiped and other vignettes (Moscow 2003).
Professor Zholkovsky may reached via e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ph.D. Modern Russian literature, intertextuality, and writers' personal myths, Lomonosov State University
Description of Research
Summary Statement of Research Interests
Conferences and Other Presentations
- ""Fazil Iskander’s Pantomime Narratives." ", AATSEEL 2010-2011 Convention , Talk/Oral Presentation, Refereed Pasadena, CA , Spring 2011
- ""Infinitive Poetry, Relevance of Linguistics and Issues in Poetic Analysis." ", AATSEEL 2010/2011 Convention , Talk/Oral Presentation, Refereed Pasadena, CA, Spring 2011
- ""On Iconicity: The Effects of Separateness, Boundary, Spacing, Wholeness." ", International conference on "Russian Verse" (Moscow, The Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of th, Talk/Oral Presentation, Moscow, Russia, Invited, Spring 2011
- ""On Textual and Structural Borrowings: Triquet, Pushkin and Rossini." ", International Conference on "The ‘Italian’ Text in Russian Literature and the ‘Russian’ Text in I, Talk/Oral Presentation, Moscow, Russia, Invited, Spring 2011
- "Poetry of Grammar: Pushkin’s "City Pompous, City Poor." ", International Conference on "Poetry and Poetics: A Centennial Tribute to Kiril Taranovsky", Talk/Oral Presentation, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, Invited, Spring 2011
- "Presentation of my newly published monograph "Pasternak's poetics: Invariants, Structures, Intertexts", NLO Publishers, 2011, 608 pp.) at the Gylea Academic Bookstrore, Moscow", Talk/Oral Presentation, Gylea Academic Bookstrore, MoscowMoscow, Russia, Invited, Spring 2011
- "Vladislav Khodasevich’s "In Front of the Mirror": Russian and Italian Subtexts. An Invited lecture (co-author Dr. Lada Panova; ) ", Moscow, The Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Slavic Studies, Talk/Oral Presentation, Moscow, Russia, Invited, Spring 2011
- ""More Keys To The Lamarck Puzzle And Related Theoretical Issues". ", ASEEES 2010 Convention , Talk/Oral Presentation, Refereed Los Angeles, CA, Fall 2010
- " "On My Metatextual Poem "The Art of Poetr-2010" and the Mechanisms of Creativity With Special respect to Joseph Brodsky" ", GUEST-SPEAKER PROGRAM, Lecture/Seminar, Guest-Speaker Seminar at the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, USC, Invited, 2009-2010
- " Latest developments in Slavic Scholarship", interview, Talk/Oral Presentation, Moscow, Radio City-FM, hosted by the Author Dmitrii Bykov , Invited, 2009-2010
- ""Leo Tolstoy’s Queen-Bee Motif in War and Peace" ", II International Symposium on "Russian Literature in World Cultural Context", Talk/Oral Presentation, Pokrovskoe, Moscow region, Russia, Invited, 2009-2010
- ""Nikolai Zabolotskii’s "Merknut Znaki Zodiaka… [The Signs of the Zodiac Are Dimming]"", VI International Efim. Etkind Colloquium chairing a panel; paper on "Alexander Pushkin in the Role o, Talk/Oral Presentation, "Nikolai Zabolotskii’s "Merknut Znaki Zodiaka… [The Signs of the Zodiac Are Dimm, Invited, 2009-2010
- ""Nikolai Zabolotskii’s "Merknut Znaki Zodiaka… [The Signs of the Zodiac Are Dimming]"", VII International Summer School on Textology (June; invited; , Talk/Oral Presentation, The Pushkin House of the Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg, Russia, Invited, 2009-2010
- ""On the Concepts of the Poetic Invariant and the Author’s World" ", TV Lectures, Two Lectures Recorded for the Academia Program of the Culture Channel of the Rus, Culture Channel, Moscow TV, Invited, 2009-2010
- ""The Demonology in a Nikolai Zabolotskii Poem", International conference on "Demonology as a Semiotic System: Visual Media, Text, Folklore , Talk/Oral Presentation, Moscow, The Russian University for the Humanities, Invited, 2009-2010
- ""Zhiznetvorchestvo [Life as Art], (Self-)Censorship, and Cultural Canons in the Epilogue of Anna Akhmatova’s Requiem (1940–1963–1987)" ; The Russian University for the Humanities, Moscow, Russia; invited)", XVII Iurii Lotman Colloquium chairing a panel on Pushkin’s disputed verse, Talk and Q and A , Abstract, The Russian University for the Humanities, Moscow, Russia, Invited, 2009-2010
- "My Recent Work on Russian Literature (June; Moscow, Radio City-FM, hosted by the Author Dmitrii Bykov)", interview, Interview on Moscow, Radio City-FM, hosted by the Author Dmitrii Bykov), Invited, 2009-2010
- "Novaia i noveishaia russkaia poeziia [Modern and Recent Russian Poetry]. Moscow: RGGU. 2009. 366 p.; Ostorozhno, trenozhnik! [Beware: A Tripod!] Moscow, Vremia, 2009. 496 pp ", Presentations of my two newly published books, Moscow, Russia,The Andrei Belyi Museum; Moscow, Russia, the Biblio-Globus Bookst, Invited, 2009-2010
- "Talk and Q and A discussion on "Anna Akhmatova: Her Life-Creation and Text" ; with Dr. Lada Panova, UCLA Visiting Scholar)", Akhmatova evening, Lecture/Seminar, The Anna Akhmatova Museum at the Fountain House, St. Petersburg, Russia; invited, Invited, 2009-2010
- Editing two collections of the scholarly legacy of the late Professor Yuri K. Shcheglov (University of Madison, Wisconsin) for two Moscow publishers (RGGU and NLO), to come out in 2012 (together with his widow, Valeria Shcheglov)., 2010-2011
- Zholkovsky, A. (2012). Ochnye stavki s vlastitelem i drugie razbory. Stat'i o russkoi literature [Confronting power figures: Essays on Russian prose]. Moscow, RGGU.
- Zholkovsky, A. (2012). Poetika Borisa Pasternaka: Invarianty, struktury, interteksty [Pasternak’s poetics: Invariants, structures, intertexts]. Modcow: NLO.
- Zholkovsky, A. (2010). Ostorozhno, trenozhnik! [Beware: A tripod!]. Moscow: Vremia.
- Zholkovsky, A. (2009). Novaia i noveishaia russkaia poeziia [Modern and recent Russian poetry].
- Zholkovsky, A. Russkaia infinitivnaia poeziia XVIII-XX vekov. Kommentirovannaia antologaia [Russian Infinitive Poetry of the 18th-20th centuries. An Annotated Anthology]. St-Petersburg: Akademicheskii proekt.
- Zholkovsky, A. (2008). Zvezdy i nemogo nervno. Memuarnye vin'etki [Stars and somewhat nervous. Memoiristic vignettes].
- Zholkovsky, A. (2011). Mikhail Kuzmin’s infinitive poetry. The many facets of Mikhail Kuzmin. A Miscellany. pp. 27-42. Bloomington, Indiana: Slavica Publishers,.
- Zholkovsky, A. (2009). Towards a typology of "debut" narratives: Babel, Nabokov and Others: In The Enigma Of Isaac Babel: Biography, History, Context. The Enigma of Isaak Babel pp. 149-156. Stanford CA: Stanford UP,.
- Zholkovsky, A. (2007). Sintaksis somali. Glubinnye i poverkhnostnye struktury [Somali syntax. Deep and surface structures].
- Zholkovsky, A. (2007). Mikhail Zoshchenko: Poetika nedoveriia [Mikhail Zoshchenko: A Poetics of Mistrust].
- Zholkovsky, A. (2010). Marginalii k "Postscriptumu" Brodskogo [Marginal notes on Joseph Brodsky's "Postscriptum"]. Zvezda [The Star]. pp. 226-238.. St-Petersburg,. Zvezda.
- Zholkovsky, A. (2010). "Grivennik serebrianyi v karmane…" [A Silver dime in my pocket…]. In: Ozernaia shkola: Trudy Shestoi Mezhdunarodnoi letnei shkoly na Karel'skom peresheike po russkoi literature [Transactions of the VI International summer school on the Karelian isthmus on Russian literature]. (A. Kobrinskii et al. Pos. Poliany (Uusikirko), Ed.). Len. obl.
- Zholkovsky, A. (2009). Ostorozhno, trenozhnik! [Beware: A tripod!]. pp. 496. Moscow, Vremia.
- Zholkovsky, A. (2009). Novyi avangard -- novaia klassika (Losev, Sedakova, Limonov) [New avant-garde, new classics (Lev Losev, Olga Sedakova, Eduard Limonov)]. In: Avangard i ideologija: russkie primery [The Avant-garde and ideology: Russian examples]. (Korneliia.Ichin. Belgrade: Izdanie Filologicheskogo fakul'teta Belgradskogo Universiteta, Ed.). pp. 685-696. Belgrad.
- Zholkovsky, A. (2009). Chekhov, Gor’kii i my. Iz opyta prepodavaniia russkoi prozy [Chekhov, Gorky and we: From lectures on Russian prose]. In Segni. Scritture. Culturei [INVITED]. A cura di Sergio Bertolissi, Marina Di Filippo, Roberta Salvatore. Napoli, Italy.
- Zholkovsky, A. (2009). Sbrosit’ ili brosit’? [To Dump or to throw? ]. Novoe literatyrnoe obozrenie [New literary survey].
- Zholkovsky, A. (2009). "Iz noveishikh odobrialsia nesomnenno odin Turgenev..." (K teme I. S. Turgenev i N. S. Leskov) ["Of the newest only Ivan Turgenev was approved unconditionally..." (Notes on Ivan Turgenev and Nikolai Leskov]. In: Na rubezhe dvukh stoletii. Sbornik v chest' 60-letiia Aleksandra Vasil'evicha Lavrova [At the borderline of two centuries. A collection of essays to honor Aleksandr Vasil’evich Lavrov]. (Vs. Bagno, J. Malmstad, M. Malikova, Ed.). pp. S.266-281.
- Zholkovsky, A. (2009). Vlast' slova: Tema i variatsii [The power of the word: A theme and variations]. Voprosy literatury [Problems of literature]. pp. 6:204-227.
- Zholkovsky, A., Panova, L. (2008). Samoubiitsvo kak priem: "Sladko umeret' Mikhail Kuzmina" [Suicide as Technique: Mikhail Kuzmin's "'Tis Sweet to Die..."]. pp. 191-201. Zvezda [The Star].
- Zholkovsky, A. (2008). Malen'kii metatekstual'nyi shedevr Leskova [Nikolai Leskov's Metatextual Gem]Novoe literatyrnoe obozrenie [New literary survey]. pp. 155-176.
- Zholkovsky, A. (2007). Iz zapisok ob infinitivnoi poezii (Problemy opisaniia i obraztsy kommentariev) [Notes on infinitive poetry (Issues in analysis and samples of annotation)]. In: Iazyk kak materiia smysla. Sbornik statei k 90-letiiu akademika N. Iu. Shvedovoi. Ed. M. V. Liapon [Language as Meaning's Matter: Essays in Honor of Academician N. Iu. Shvedova's 90th Birthday; INVITED]. pp. 478-487.. Moscow: Azbukovnik.
- Zholkovsky, A. (2009). Zloveshchie motivy v poeticheskom mire Pasternaka. In: Ozernaia shkola: Trudy Piatoi Mezhdunarodnoi letnei shkoly na Karel’skom peresheike po russkoi literature [Transactions of the V International summer school on the Karelian isthmus on Russian literature; INVITED]. pp. 77-101.
- Zholkovsky, A. (2009). Gore mykat’ [The Trouble with "we"]. Zvezda (The Star; REFEREED.
- Zholkovsky, A. (2009). Skromnoe obaianie russkoi skazki No. 421 [Discreet charm of Russian folktale No. 421]. Zvezda (The Star; REFEREED),.
- Zholkovsky, A. (2008). Esse. [The Essay. An essay]. Inostrannaia Literatura [Foreign Literature. pp. 233-236.
- Zholkovsky, A. (2008). Liubov' ekspata [An Expatriate's Love]. Zvezda (The Star; REFEREED),. pp. 198-205.
- Zholkovsky, A. (2008). Ostorozhno, trenozhnik! Otvet opponentu (Caution: A Tripod! A Response to a Critic). PubMed Web Address
- Zholkovsky, A., [A Courteous Tikhonov], T. k. (2008). Tikhonov kurtuaznyi [A Courteous Tikhonov]. Zvezda (The Star). Zvezda (The Star; REFEREED. pp. 220-229.
- Zholkovsky, A. (2008). "Neuzheli" (Olga Sedakova, "Kitaiskoe puteshestvie", 13) ["Is It Possible…?" (Olga Sedakova's "Chinese Journey", 13), Zvezda. Vol. 11, pp. 180-190.
- Zholkovsky, A. (2008). Infinitivy sub specie d'inachevé. Zametki k teme "poetika Tiutcheva." I [Infinitives sub specie d'inachevé: Notes on the subject "Tiutchev's poetics." I]// I vremia i mesto: istoriko-filologicheskii sbornik k shestidesiatiletiiu Aleksandra L'vovicha Ospovata ['Tis Both the Time and the Place: A Historical-philological Collection of Essays to Honor the Sixtieth Birthday of Aleksandr L'vovich Ospovat; INVITED]. pp. 369-373.
- Zholkovsky, A. (2008). Eshche raz o malen’koi Khloe Khodasevicha (K analizu "Begtsva") [More on Vladislav Khodasevich’s litlle Chloe (Understanding "Flight").In: Russian Literature and the West: A Tribute for David M Bethea. P. II. Stanford Slavic Studies. Vol. Eds (Alexander), pp. 80-95.
- Zholkovsky, A. (2008). Infinitivnoe pis'mo Pasternaka [Pasternak’s infinitive poetry]. In: Wortkunst -- Erzählkunst -- Bildkunst. Festschrift für Aage A. Hansen-Löve [INVITED].
- Zholkovsky, A. (2007). Gde konchaetsia filologiia? Osennie zachistki na letnikh territoriiakh [Where Does Philology End? Autumn Cleansing on Summer Territories]. Zvezda [The Star].
- Zholkovsky, A. (2007). Kak organizovano "Begstvo" Khodasevicha [How Vladislav Khodasevich’s "Flight" Was Organized], Zvezda [The Star]. Vol. 7, pp. 179-194.
- Zholkovsky, A. (2007). Tak i etak Georgiia Ivanova («Luny nachishschennyi piatak…») [Georgii Ivanov’s tak and etak («Moon’s polished nickel...» ], Zvezda [Star]. pp. 185-194.
- Zholkovsky, A. (2007). "Akhmat" Bunina, ili kratkaia grammatika zhelaniia [Ivan Bunin’s "Akhmat", or A short grammar of desire. Voprosy literatury [Problems of literature]. pp. 310-321.
- Zholkovsky, A. (2007). Tak i etak Georgiia Ivanova («Luny nachishschennyi piatak…») [Georgii Ivanov’s tak and etak («Moon’s polished nickel...» ], Zvezda. Vol. 9, pp. 185-194.
- Zholkovsky, A. (2006). Blistaiushchie odezhdy. Ob odnom literaturnom motive [Radiant garments: A literary motif]. Voprosy literatury [Problems of Literature]. Vol. 4, pp. 221-136.
- Zholkovsky, A. (2006). Pri muzyke: "Razryv. 9" i ego intertekstual’nyi akkompanement. [In the Presence of Music: Pasternak’s "Break-up. 9" and Its Intertextual Acompaniment]. In: The Real Life of Pierre Delalande. Studies in Russian and Comparative Literature in Honor of Alexander Dolinin. pp. 293-314.
- Zholkovsky, A. (2006). Neuzheli…?" (Olga Sedakova, "Kitaiskoe puteshestvie", 13) ["Is It Possible…?" (Olga Sedakova's, "Chinese Journey", 13), Zvezda [The Star]. Vol. 11, pp. 180-190.
- Zholkovsky, A. (2006). Otkuda eta Diotima (Zametki o "Lete" Pasternaka). [Whence This Diotima? (Notes on Boris Pasternak's "Summer"]. In: Eternity's Hostage. pp. 239-314.
- Zholkovsky, A. (2006). Rosygrysh? Khokhma? Zadachka? [Poem? Problem? Prank?]. In: Imperia N: Nabokov i nasledniki. Sbornik statei [The Empire N: Nabokov and heirs. Essays]. pp. 428-441.
- Shcheglov, Y. (2012). Yurii Shcheglov. Proza. Poeziia. Poetika. Izbrannye raboty [Prose. Poetry. Poetics. Selected works]. NLO publishers.
- Zholkovsky, A. (2009). Ochnye stavki s vlastitelem i drugie razbory. Stat'i o russkoi literature [Confronting power figures: Essays on Russian prose]. Russian State University for the Humanities.
- Zholkovsky, A. (2009). Novaia i noveishaia russkaia poeziia [New and newest Russian poetry]. Russian State University for the Humanities..
- Zholkovsky, A. (1999). Mikhail Zoshchenko: Poetika nedoveriia [Mikhail Zoshchenko: A Poetics of Mistrust]. M.: Shkola "Iazyki Russkoi Kul'tury,".
- Zholkovsky, A. (1996). Raboty po poetike vyrazitel'nosti. Invarianty - tema - priemy - tekst [Studies in a poetics of expressiveness: Invariants - theme - device - text; co-author Iu. K. Shcheglov].
- Zholkovsky, A. (1994). [Isaak] Babel (with Mikhail Iampolsky).
Multimedia Scholarship and Creative Works
- audiobook, 30. Iz memuarnykh vin’etok [From memoiristic vignettes]. Read by Liudmila Larionova, 2011 [96 kbps, MP3] (http://rutracker.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3650606)., 2011-2012
Honors and Awards
- USC Raubenheimer Outstanding Senior Faculty Award, 1999
Service to the University
Other Service to the University
- Supervision and consultation of M. A. and Ph. D. theses; writing letters of recommendation for them and others , 2007-2008