Vel’tman and Pinkerton at AATSEEL 2014
Several months after I started this blog I went to two conferences in southern California, ASEEES 2010 and AATSEEL 2011. Apparently I didn’t post about either. Last week I went back to AATSEEL and the world of “this paper is part of a larger project.” I was ready to feel cynical, thinking academics communicate their ideas by publishing and use conferences for some other purpose. But after a few years away, what surprised me was how much everyone knew and how much they cared.
Here are some of the things I wanted to see but couldn’t: a paper by Polina Maksimovich on Vampilov’s Duck Hunting; roundtables on teaching Chekhov, introductory literature courses, and Polish language; and panels called “Russian Literature and Ideology in the 1860s,” “Intergeneric Play in Pushkin,” “Challenging Tolstoy,” “Chekhov,” “Silver Age Poetry,” “Adaptations of Tolstoy,” “Women in Soviet and Post-Soviet Cinema,” “Russian-Ukrainian Cultural Intersections,” and “Silver Age Culture.”
After reading so much about Vel’tman on Languagehat, I really wanted to see Natalia Labunets’s paper “История слова в контексте ‘этимологических романов’ А. Ф. Вельтмана” [“The History of a Word in the Context of A. F. Vel’tman’s ‘Etymological Novels’”], which was intriguingly placed on a panel by itself that met in the same room and time slot as a linguistics panel. As far as my new interests of the past year go, that was the only Vel’tman paper I noticed; I don’t think there was anything on Pisemskii; and one of the two Leskov papers was canceled. No Ol’ga N. or Elena Gan either.
Most of all I’m sorry I missed Boris Dralyuk’s poetry translation workshop. Dralyuk wrote up last summer’s Translators’ Coven and I loved his comparison of translations of The Gambler. I did get to see him talk about his work on the “Pinkerton craze,” the pulp fiction reworkings of a Western detective for Russian audiences in the decade or two on either side of the October Revolution. [Update: Languagehat on Dralyuk on Pinkerton.]
Not counting his, I saw 34 papers on 10 panels, all very good, and I may post on a few of them. AATSEEL seems to have taken down the online 2014 conference program, but when it’s back up I’ll link to it. [Update: there aren’t obvious links to it at aatseel.org, but for now the program still seems to be here.]