Summer School Feedback

Jacob Emery, Indiana University Bloomington

An international airport seems like a very appropriate place for a scholar of comparative literature to contemplate “Literary Classics in Global Transit,” and so I write these words from Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, where I am waiting for a delayed flight. Truth be told, I would much rather be back at the State Tolstoy Museum discussing that theme with the extraordinary group of scholars and teachers who gathered there for Moscow State University’s annual Summer School in the Humanities. Rarely have I participated in a conference boasting so much energy and breadth of conversation. More than my opening address on “The World in Literature” I appreciated the vital and stimulating questions from my audience, and best of all were the wide-ranging and intense conversations at my two seminars, “’Tolstoevsky’ in America” and “Class and the Classics,” which sparked inquiries into topics from pastiche to intersectionality to the place of fan fiction in the classroom. Other offerings went far beyond my expertise: standouts included a dialogue on Ezra Pound, lively roundtables on canonization and the writing of authors into historical fiction, a fascinating series of presentations on teaching nonRussian literature at both the school and university level, a conversation on staging classic texts and theatrical adaptations with renowned director Aleksei Lavinsky, and Mikhail Stroganov’s talk on profanations of the classics—especially the astonishing musical tributes to Pushkin’s Dubrovsky. I would gladly have stayed for longer, since there was a lot more learning and thinking yet to do in that company— but at least here in the airport I have plenty of time to read the books I picked up during my stay in Moscow.