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All Future Plunges to the Past: James Joyce in Russian Literature

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The ARRN is pleased to announce a talk ‘All Future Plunges to the Past: James Joyce in Russian Literature’ by José Vergara

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While James Joyce’s place in the modernist pantheon is firmly entrenched, its resonances continue to be uncovered. In the Russian context, the Irish writer has occupied many roles since his work was first translated in the mid-1920s. This talk will trace the development not of a monolithic Joyce, but rather of multiple Russian Joyces — the versions of the author imagined by his Russian readers. Join us for a tour of the Joycean strains in the work of several writers who drew from their predecessor’s texts, particularly Ulysses and Finnegans Wake, to address the volatile questions of lineages in their respective Soviet, émigré, and post-Soviet contexts. As a coda, selections from interviews with contemporary authors will show how the debates regarding Joyce’s legacy are no less settled a century after Ulysses.

José Vergara specializes in prose of the long twentieth century, with an emphasis on experimental works. His first book, All Future Plunges to the Past: James Joyce in Russian Literature, examines Russian writers’ reception of Joyce’s fiction. It illuminates how they have used Joyce’s ideas as a critical lens to shape, prod, and constantly redefine their own place in literary history. He has published on authors including Vladimir Nabokov, Mikhail Shishkin, and Sasha Sokolov, among others, in a variety of journals, and his writing and interviews can also be found in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Asymptote, Words without Borders, and Music & Literature. He is now at work on new projects including studies of contemporary Russian prison literature and transnational representations of Chernobyl, as well as an annotated bilingual digital edition of Sokolov’s Between Dog and Wolf.

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