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About Me

I began studying Russian at school, and got hooked on Russian literature after an early encounter with Gogol’s Nose. A degree in Russian and French at Trinity College, Cambridge, including a year studying in Moscow and Minsk, was followed by a brief period translating books on chess theory from Russian. After studying for my Masters at the University of Manchester, I was supervised for my PhD by Malcolm Jones at the University of Nottingham, resulting in a thesis on the role of character in the structuring of the narrative of Dostoevsky’s The Idiot.

I subsequently held a Leverhulme Special (Early-Career) Research Fellowship at the University of Nottingham (2001-3), and also taught at the University of Leeds. From 2005-7, I taught nineteenth- and twentieth-century Russian literature and social thought at the University of Toronto, before joining the Russian department at SSEES in September 2007. I currently teach MA courses on the 19th century Russian novel and 20th century Russian and East European modernist literature, and undergraduate courses on 19th century Russian thought, Dostoevsky, Russian Literature in Revolution (1917-53), the Making of Modern Russian Culture, and Tales of the Unexpected: the supernatural and fantastic in literature, 1800-1930. I have served on the BASEES national committee as secretary, and am British representative of the International Dostoevsky Society. I am the Russian and East European section editor for Modern Languages Open, also a member of the editorial board of The Slavonic and East European Review.

Research Interests
My main areas of research are nineteenth- and twentieth-century Russian literature, thought and culture. I am specifically interested in questions of ethics and subjectivity in the development of narrative, including narratives of trauma and imprisonment; the tradition of Russian literature and the arts as the locus of political debate and dissent; the role of religion and spiritual ideas in Russian literature; the significance of silence, gaps and what is not said in literary texts; and questions of time and space in Russian literature. The latter in particular has developed into a new interest in ways of visualizing literary texts which is bringing me (slowly!) into the field of Digital Humanities and explorations of forms of reading digital texts.

My published work so far has focused on Dostoevsky, in my monograph, Dostoevsky’s ‘The Idiot’ and the Ethical Foundations of Narrative, and a co-edited book of essays, Dostoevsky on the Threshold of Other Worlds. I have also published essays on Varlam Shalamov, Vasilii Grossman, and 19th-century Russian prison and exile writing. I am currently working on a book-length study of the tradition of Russian labour camp and prison writing, and on further articles about Shalamov, Dostoevsky, and questions related to narratives of imprisonment and exile.

Creative Commons License
All the work on this site is by Sarah J. Young and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License, unless otherwise stated.