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Talking Crime and Punishment

This site has been somewhat dormant of late, but a radio appearance has inspired me to make a brief return (news on other stuff to follow). Today I appeared on BBC Radio 4’s programme In Our Time, and had great fun discussing Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment with old friends Sarah Hudspith from the University of […]

Gulag narratives: a bibliography and metadata project (version 1)

Some years ago, when this blog was a new venture, I started an annotated reading list of Russian and Soviet labour camp narratives. My aim initially was to expand it over time, but as one so often finds, there never is time, and it has lain neglected for several years now, despite fairly regular comments […]

Modern Languages Open

This week has seen the launch of Modern Languages Open, an open access publishing platform for scholarly research in all modern languages and their cultures – one of the most exciting aspects of the project is that it brings a more global perspective to a field that has traditionally defined itself in relation to Europe and its diasporas. As […]

Lenin and the Constructivists in Stockholm

One of the highlights of my recent trip to Stockholm was a visit to the Moderna Museet. In addition to a very fine lunch with a fabulous view in the restaurant, I very much enjoyed the Explosion! exhibition, and learnt a good deal about Swedish pre-WWII art, but the visit was also notable for a […]


I’m very pleased with my new banner (the picture’s taken from Dickinsons’ comprehensive pictures of the Great Exhibition of 1851). If you’re wondering why I’ve got a picture of the Crystal Palace up there rather than St Basil’s or an illustration from a Russian fairy tale, you may wish to catch up by reading a couple of […]

Document: An Appeal to Public Opinion

In my last post, I referred to a political pamphlet from 1916, An Appeal to Public Opinion: Should the Russian Refugees be Deported? It was published by the Committee of Delegates of the Russian Socialist Groups in London in response to the threat to deport Russian immigrants who refused to serve in the British Army, […]

One year old today: where do I go from here?

Today is the first anniversary of my blog, and I’ve been reflecting on what I’ve done so far and what I’m planning to do in the coming months. I’ve made a couple of discoveries over the last year. I’ve realized that cats, the Crystal Palace, and Merthyr Tydfil all attract a more readers than Russian […]

Gratuitous cat picture (2)

I’ve received complaints that my random musings on Russian literature detracted from enjoyment of the last picture of my cat I posted. So here she is, indulging in one of her favourite activities: watching nature programmes.

Why I blog

I’ve been blogging for a few months now (see my archive — I realized I had enough posts to make it worthwhile), and as I finally decided it was time pay some attention to what my site looks like (this is still a work in progress, so there will be further changes in the coming […]

Reading lists

I’ve started compiling reading lists on the two main areas of my current research: Gulag narratives and Dostoevsky. There are a couple of reasons for doing this. They will eventually, I hope, be decent resources for other people, but it’s also about keeping track of things for myself. They’re both very much in the initial […]