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Andrew Kahn

University of Oxford
Light in Russia: Studies in Enlightenment Thought
01 September 2018 - 30 June 2019

Andrew Kahn is Professor of Russian Literature at the University of Oxford and Fellow and Tutor, St Edmund Hall, Oxford. He is, most recently, co-author of A History of Russian Literature (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018) and translator and co-editor with Kelsey Rubin-Detlev of Catherine the Great, Selected Letters (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018). His book Pushkin’s Lyric Intelligence (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008) was awarded honorable mention by the MLA. He has held a Leverhulme Senior Research Fellowship.

Research interests

The Russian Enlightenment in its comparative European context; the work of Alexander Pushkin; Russian poetry; travel literature (of the eighteenth century); the short story as a genre; literary history; theory and history of translation

Light in Russia: Studies in Enlightenment Thought

The project is a book setting out the case for the existence of a Russian Enlightenment as a national movement. Over the course of the eighteenth century, Russia became a great European power, underwent modernization, saw a decisive shift from ecclesiastical domination to secular discourse, adopted neoclassical aesthetic rules and for the first time engaged thoroughly with classical antiquity, and appropriated modern genres of painting. Sixteenth and seventeenth-century Europeans saw Russia as a shadowy hyperborean region, impossible to map or imagine, while in the eighteenth century, as Larry Wolff has shown, placing Russia and Eastern Europe on the map became an integral part of the process of European self-definition. Yet with considerable conviction and in substantial numbers, educated Russians saw themselves as Western in a country on the European side of the boundary. Did they identify as Enlightened? This essay will advocate a new approach to the adoption in eighteenth-century Russia of ideas broadly associated with the Enlightenment.

I shall take a “scenes from the Russian Enlightenment” approach somewhat akin to T.J. Reed’s method in Light in Germany (University of Chicago, 2015). This essay will explain why Westernization in the long eighteenth century in Russia has a specific Enlightenment intellectual, social and literary content of considerable depth and importance, sustained as its own project and discourse from the 1730s to the end of the long eighteenth century around 1810. The book will be interdisciplinary (employing literature, history, cultural studies, history of ideas, visual arts), and will be arranged by theme.

19 Jul 2019 10:30 -
19 Jul 2019 10:30,
Andrew Kahn elected Fellow of the British Academy
Colloquium organized by M. Jonik, 2018-2019 Paris IAS fellow
22 May 2019 10:00 -
22 May 2019 18:00,
Paris :
Risk, Violence, and Collective Agency
03 Apr 2019 18:00 -
03 Apr 2019 20:00,
Paris :
Nikolai Karamzin, le patriarche du sentimentalisme russe, rencontre Jean-Jacques
Andrew Kahn presents his research project within the framework of the weekly internal seminar
29 Jan 2019 10:00 -
29 Jan 2019 13:00,
Paris :
Light in Russia: Studies in Enlightenment Thought
Conference organized by I. Podoroga (Lettres Sorbonne Université / Eur’ORBEM / CERCEC (EHESS / CNRS) / Paris IAS 2016-2017) and L. Jurgenson (Lettres Sorbonne Université / Eur’ORBEM / CERCEC (EHESS / CNRS)), with the support of the Paris IAS
15 Nov 2018 09:15 -
15 Nov 2018 18:00,
Paris :
Les concepts en déplacement : la littérature russe face à la philosophie et aux sciences sociales
Research project: "The Russian Enlightenment. An Essay"
Modern period (1492-1789)