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About this blog

Welcome! I use this blog to keep a record of what I read and push myself to read more. The summaries of books and articles I used to write in Endnote and the lists of linguistic oddities I kept in Word files don’t make sense in the age of free blogging platforms: now I can make all that easily accessible to myself and anyone else interested.

Over time posts have started to fall in these categories:

Translation comparisons, where I link to or comment on the work others have done evaluating multiple translations of one book, like Goncharov’s Oblomov (Barry Scherr), Dostoevskii’s The Gambler (Boris Dralyuk) and Crime and Punishment (Richard Lourie), and Gogol’s Evenings at a Farmhouse near Dikanka (Languagehat and Jamie Olson).

Old poetry translations, English versions of Russian poems where the translation itself is from the nineteenth century, or at least old enough to be in the public domain. For instance, four versions of Pushkin’s “The Prophet,” or Nekrasov’s “When I the horrors hear of war” or “A Moral Man.”

Words new to me. Some of these are obscure, others you probably know already if you’re here.

Posts about literary criticism, like sideshadowing (Gary Saul Morson), abstinence only (Ronald D. LeBlanc), Konstantin Levin, White Negro (Julie W. de Sherbinin), why did Gogol write in Russian? (Iurii Barabash), Batiushkov and the myths of Alexander I (Monika Greenleaf), or “inoculating love, like smallpox” (Jacob Emery).

And there are even posts about actual literature I’ve read, from Dostoevskii and Tolstoi, to Leskov and Pisemskii, to Vsevolod Krestovskii and Lev Mei, to Ol’ga N. or Petr Gorskii.

XIX век was started in January 2010 by me, Erik McDonald. Posts and comments by xixvek and 19thcenturyrussianpoetry are mine. I’ve been studying Russian since 1991 and have taught first-, second-, and third-year Russian at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, St. Olaf College, and the University of Minnesota. Elsewhere you can find me writing more formally about PushkinNekrasov, and Kuzmin.

Here is my old “about this blog” page. Here are two old projects I discontinued because they are now done better elsewhere on the internet: author pages and journal links.

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