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2018 News


Presentation by Former Ambassador to Georgia and Georgian Ambassador

June 7, 2018

On May 14th, Northwestern's Ambassador in Residence, former U.S. Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly, and Georgian Ambassador to the U.S., David Bakradze, dicussed Russian interference in Georgia and neighboring countries.  U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) shared her perspective via video.  Jordan Gans-Morse, Assistant Professor in Political Science, moderated the panel.  This event was cosponsored by Political Science (2018 Barry Farrell Lecture), and Slavic Languages and Literatures.

A recording of the panel can be viewed here.


Congratulations to Clare Cavanagh and Saul Morson on Recent Awards

April 30, 2018

In March 2018, Professor Clare Cavanagh received the prestigious Arts and Letters Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, which honors established and emerging writers of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.  Cavanagh was one of eight authors selected this year.  As noted on the Northwestern University website, Cavanagh has translated, or co-translated, 17 volumes of poetry and prose by Nobel Laureate Wisława Szymborska, Adam Zagajewski, Ryszard Krynicki and other poets.  She is now working on an authorized biography of another Nobel Prize winner, poet Czesław Miłosz.  Read the whole story on the Northwestern website!

Professor Saul Morson recently won the Kohl Education Prize jointly with NU President Morty Schapiro.  Also he won the Sidney Award for Best Long-Form Essays of 2017 for his article, "Solzhenitsyn's Cathedrals."

In the NY Times (12.25.17), David Brooks writes:  Gary Saul Morson’s essay “Solzhenitsyn’s Cathedrals” in The New Criterion takes us back to one of the greatest minds of the 20th century. Morson shows how spiritually ambitious Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was. “Once you give up survival at any price, ‘then imprisonment begins to transform your former character in astonishing ways,’” Morson writes, quoting Solzhenitsyn. It teaches friendship. You learn the most valuable thing is “the development of the soul.” And so Solzhenitsyn concluded, “Bless you, prison, for having been in my life.”

Russian and Polish Language Tables

April 13, 2018

Christopher Pike, graduate student working on his dissertation, led a Russian Language Table for students of all levels, on alternate Thursdays at 5 PM, in the foyer just outside Kresge 3305.  Stay tuned for dates for the Russian Table during fall quarter.  All students welcome!  Come and enjoy food and conversation!  Contact Professor Elisabeth Elliott for more information.

Professor Kinga Kosmala hosted a Polish Language Table on alternate Tuesdays at 4pm, also in the foyer outside Kresge 3305.  Contact Pani Kinga for information about  Polish tables in fall quarter.

Dead Souls Club Meets on Tuesday Evenings

April 5, 2018
Fans of Russian Literature: The "Dead Souls Society" meets on Tuesdays at 6pm in the foyer just outside Kresge Hall 3305 (Slavic Department). The club is open to all students interested in meeting with Professor Saul Morson to discuss short works of Russian Literature. For more information, contact:


Congratulations to Clare Cavanagh on New Translations

March 1, 2018

Slavic Department Chair Clare Cavanagh received praise for her translation of Slight Exaggeration by Adam Zagajewski.  The book was reviewed  in The New York Times on July 19, 2017.  Zagajewski's book was first published in Polish in 2011.

In the review, Daisy Fried quotes Zagajewski: “A good definition of poetry … a slight exaggeration, until we make ourselves at home in it. Then it becomes the truth. But when we leave it again — since permanent residence is impossible  — it becomes once more a slight exaggeration.”  Fried notes that readers of the poems will recognize Zagajewski's preoccupation with Lvov, "a city lost to his parents and their friends after Poland ceded it to the Soviet Ukraine after WWII."  Slight Exaggeration was also featured in the Briefly Noted section of the June 5 and 12 issues of The New Yorker.

Professor Cavanagh's other new book of translated Polish poems is Magnetic Point: Selected Poems, 1968-2014. Poetry by Ryszard Krynicki.  Born in 1943 in a Nazi labor camp in Austria, Krynicki is one of the greatest poets of postwar Poland.


Thank you, Irwin Weil!

January 10, 2018

We thank Professor Emeritus Irwin Weil for his recent generous gift to the Irwin Weil Fund for Russian and Slavic Studies, which he established in 2000.  The new name of the Fund will be The Irwin and Vivian M. Weil Fund, which supports a wide range of activities designed to enhance undergraduate and graduate education in Slavic at Northwestern. 

We are pleased to announce a new grant, the Irwin and Vivian M. Weil Travel and Language Study Grant for undergraduate and graduate studies.  To apply for this grant, students should complete and submit this application to the department, along with a budget and proof of acceptance into a language study program (or presentation at a conference).  Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

Professor Weil is a founder of the American Council of Teachers of Russian.  He earned his PhD at Harvard, where he taught before coming to teach at Northwestern University in 1966.  By then, he had already been travelling and working in the USSR for six years, laying a foundation for his future work in USA-USSR/Russia relations. He participated in many Soviet, later Russian, projects to bring public attention to Russian culture and its relations with American culture, including a TV competition in knowledge of world literature, between Soviet and American high school students.  In 2004, with his Russian counterpart, Professor Marina Kaul, Weil established an American Studies Center at the Russian State University for the Humanities, which he continues to visit, meeting with colleagues and students.  Professor Weil also studied Russian music in the context of Russian culture, and for many years taught a unique course in the Slavic Department—Folklore, Music, Poetry—with Dr. Natalia Lyashenko of the Northwestern University Music School. 

Weil's book, From the Cincinnati Reds to the Moscow Reds: The Memoirs of Irwin Weil, earned a positive review in Russian via the Independent Newspaper, written by Vladimir Kataev.  The book was published in English in May 2015.

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