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Vel’tman and Pinkerton at AATSEEL 2014

January 15, 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, but for now the program still seems to be here.]

4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 16, 2014 10:57 am

    So did you go to Labunets’s paper? If so, I trust you’ll write at more length about it! Needless to say, I’m sorry I missed it, and Dralyuk’s as well — I loved his Pinkerton book (LH post).

  2. January 16, 2014 5:21 pm

    Unfortunately I missed Labunets’s paper. There’s an abstract in the conference program, but it doesn’t seem to be online here. If it doesn’t show up on AATSEEL’s site soon, I’ll find a way to send it to you.

    Thanks for the link to your old post! That’s probably where I first read about Pinkerton, but Dralyuk’s (always interesting) work trickles to me by various routes – journals, conferences, your blog, Lizok’s Bookshelf – and I’d forgotten why it seemed familiar.

    • Boris D. permalink
      January 17, 2014 9:48 am

      Erik, thank you very much for your encouraging words about my work. I’m a devoted reader of XIX vek, and it’s a wonderful surprise to see my name appear here. (And while I’m at it, I should extend my gratitude to LH and Lizok!)

      • January 17, 2014 12:07 pm

        It’s a wonderful surprise for me in turn to find out that you read this blog. Thank you for helping make that AATSEEL panel so interesting, and if you happen to be the Boris D. who explained the connection between ни к стру, ни к смотру and ни в строй, ни к смотру, thank you for that too!

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