Department of Russian

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Andreas Schönle


Professor of Russian, Fellow of the British Academy

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 8329
Room Number: Arts One 242
Office Hours: Mon 1-2, Tues 12-1


Andreas was born in Geneva, Switzerland. He completed a Licence ès Lettres at the University of Geneva in Russian and German and then received a PhD at Harvard University in 1995. He taught for about 10 years at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, before joining Queen Mary as a Professor of Russian in 2005.





A History of Russian Time

This project consists of three interlinked parts, which in different ways analyse Russia's conceptualization of time from the early modern period to the present. The first section is devoted to calendar reforms. I aim to explore the calendar reforms undertaken by Peter the Great in 1699 (the adoption of the First January New Year and the Common Era), the Bolsheviks in 1918 (the adoption of the Gregorian calendar), in 1929 (the five-day week) and 1931 (the six-day week). I  consider the discussions leading to these reforms, as well as reactions to them. I  also explore what it means for contemporary Russia, in the context of resurgent Orthodox Christianity, to live according to two calendars, a secular and a religious one. The second part is devoted to an analysis of the various meta-historical paradigms that have been deployed to make sense of Russia's discontinuous history. Here I look at the narratives of progress, rupture, or cyclical return that have been invented to explain and inflect the course of history. The third part will be devoted to an attempt to reconstruct the everyday structures of time as experienced at various junctures of history, in their various geographic, social and gender parameters. This project may well end up in three separate books.


The Creation of a Europeanized Elite in Russia: Public Role and Subjective Self

(funded by a Leverhulme research grant)

This study provides a cultural history of the first Russian Europeanized elite from its emergence during the 'Petrine reforms' until 1825, when it engaged into open confrontation with the regime it had been created to serve. We analyse the subjective worldview of this social group, its shifting and fluid identities, multiple loyalties, and eclectic behavioural habits. This approach overcomes the binary oppositions created in the existing historiography. It investigates the mental outlook and subjective self of a Europeanized elite living in a non-European country as a distinct cultural formation and a historical precedent to the current processes of globalization. It will lead to a thick collective volume, now under consideration at an academic press, and a co-authored monograph, in preparation. For further information, see:

Architecture of Oblivion: Ruins and Historical Consciousness in Modern Russia

I'm still working on offshoots from my recent project on ruins, which led to the publication of an monograph in 2011. This monograph analyses the role played by the trope of ruin and the response to actual ruins in Russia's thinking about its discontinuous history and fractured identity. Case studies include: ruins and Enlightenment in Karamzin's early writings; aesthetics and politics in the Romantic fashion for ruins; Tolstoy's response to the 1812 Moscow fire in War and Peace; ruins in the modern city between erasure and nurture; the representation of urban decay in Petrograd; the ruins of the Blockade of Leningrad; ruins as transition to timelessness in the poetry of Joseph Brodsky; paper architects and the vitality of decay.




The Europeanized Elite in Russia, 1762-1825: Public Role and Subjective Self, ed. by Andreas Schönle, Andrei Zorin and Alexei Evstratov (DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, forthcoming 2016).

Villes postsocialistes entre rupture, évolution et nostalgie, ed. by Andreas Schönle. Revue des études slaves, vol 86.1-2 (2015), 4-191.

When the Elephant Broke out of the Zoo: A Festschrift for Donald Rayfield, ed (with Olga Makarova and Jeremy Hicks), Stanford Slavic Publications, vol. 39 (2012). 351pp.

Architecture of Oblivion: Ruins and Historical Consciousness in Modern Russia (DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 2011). Winner of the University of Southern California Book Prize in Literary and Cultural Studies, 2012 and the Alexander Nove Book Prize, 2013.

Ruins of Modernity, edited with Julia Hell (Durham: Duke University Press, 2010).

The Ruler in the Garden: Politics and Landscape Design in Imperial Russia. (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2007).

Lotman and Cultural Studies: Encounters and Extensions, ed. by Andreas Schonle (Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 2006).

Authenticity and Fiction in the Russian Literary Journey, 1790-1840 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2000). Revised Russian translation: Podlinnost' i vymysel v avtorskom samosoznanii russkoi literatury puteshestvii, 1790-1840 (St. Petersburg: Akademicheskii proekt, 2004).



"Between the Value of Words and the Value of Land: Alexander Bakunin's Poetry on Agricultural Improvement," A Century Mad and Wise: Russia in the Age of the Enlightenment, ed. by Emmanuel Waegemans at al. (Gronigen: Nederland-Rusland Centrum, 2016). 163-179.

"Les défis de la condition post-postsocialiste: Architecture et histoire en Europe centrale et orientale," in Villes postsocialistes entre rupture, évolution et nostalgie, ed. by Andreas Schönle. Revue des études slaves, vol 86.1-2 (2015), 9–14.

"Julies Garten in der 'Nouvelle Héloïse': Rousseau und die Ideologie der 'Verbesserung' in Russland um 1800," Die Gartenkunst, 1/2013. 113-122.

Tolstoy’s Critique of Modernity in War and Peace: Intersections with Foucault, Tolstoy Studies Journal, vol. 25 (2013), 42-51.

'Introduction' and 'Broken History and Crumbling Stones: The Romantic Conception of Architectural Preservation and Its Legacy,' Slavic Review, vol.  71.4 (2012). 737-765.

''Posporit' s Omirom o nagrade': perevod kak priobshchenie k vozvyshennomu i preodolenie istorii.' ['To fight with Homer for the prize': translation as a way to partake of the sublime and overcome history], Istoriia literatury. Poetika. Kino. Sbornik v chest' Marietty Omarovny Chudakovoi. Moscow: Novoe izdatel'stvo, 2012. 569-582.

'La critique de la modernité dans le Tolstoï de Guerre et paix :  intersections avec Foucault,' Un autre Tolstoï, ed. by Catherine Depretto (Paris: Institut d'études slaves, 2012). 53-67.

'Horticultural Modernity and Politics in Russia: The Big Picture,' When the Elephant Broke out of the Zoo: A Festschrift for Donald Rayfield, ed by Andreas Schönle, Olga Makarova and Jeremy Hicks, Stanford Slavic Publications, vol. 39 (2012): 331-337.

'Between the Iconic and the Symbolic: The Ruin Photographs of Boris Smirnov and the Aesthetics of Trauma,' Germanic Review, vol. 86.4 (2011). 277-293.

Gogol', de Stal' i estetika ruin. Obrazy Italii. Conference proceedings. Tomsk State University.

Private Walks and Public Gazes: Enlightenment and the Use of Gardens in Eighteenth-Century Russia, Private Lives of the Enlightenment, Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century, ed. Andrew Kahn, Oxford: Voltaire Foundation, 2010. 167-185.

Sublime Vision and Self Derision: The Aesthetics of Death in Tolstoy. Anniversary Essays on Tolstoy. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010. 33-51.

"Introduction" and 'Modernity as a 'Destroyed Anthill': Tolstoi on History and the Aesthetics of Ruins.' Ruins of Modernity. Edited by Julia Hell and Andreas Schönle. Durham: Duke University Press, 2010. 1-14, 89-103.

"Apologiia ruiny v filosofii istorii: providentsializm i ego raspad," Novoe Literaturnoe Obozrenie . Vol. 95 (2009). 24-38.

"The Russian translation of Voltaire's Poème sur le désastre de Lisbonne : I.F. Bogdanovich and the incipient cult of sensibility." Revue Voltaire. No. 9 (2009). 221-238.

" Fragment 'Vezuvii zev otkryl' i pushkinskii podtekst gorodskikh katastrof ." I vremia i mesto: Istoriko-filologicheskii sbornik k shestidesiatiletiiu Aleksandra L'vovicha Ospovata   [Festschrift in honour of A.L. Ospovat]. Moscow: Novoe izdatel'stvo, 2008. 187-198.

'Parcs et jardins russes,' Sites de la mémoire russe, ed. by Georges Nivat and Alexandre Arkhanguelski (Paris: Editions Fayard, 2007). 403-415.

'Neskoutchnyi sad,' Sites de la mémoire russe, ed. by Georges Nivat and Alexandre Arkhanguelski (Paris: Editions Fayard, 2007). 416-423.

'Ruins and History: Observations on Russian Approaches to Destruction and Decay,' Slavic Review. Vol. 65.4 (2006). 649-669.

"Introduction," (with Jeremy Shine), in Lotman and Cultural Studies: Encounters and Extensions (Madison: The University of Wisconsin UP, 2006). 3-35.

The Self, its Bubbles, and Illusions: Cultivating Autonomy in Greenblatt and Lotman,' in Lotman and Cultural Studies: Encounters and Extensions (Madison: The University of Wisconsin UP, 2006). 183-207.

'Sovremennost' v vospriiatii prirody: kategoriia zhivopisnogo i otkaz ot metanarrativov,' Etkindovskie chteniia, vol. 2-3 (2006). 5-20.

'Prostranstvo melankholii u Zhukovskogo,' Etkindovskie chteniia, vol. 1 (2003), 173-185.

"A. T. Bolotov's Horticultural Theodicy: The Aesthetics of 'Disinterested' Wonder," Russian Studies in Literature, ed. by Rachel May, vol. 39.2 (2003), 24-50.

"Mezdhu 'drevnei' i 'novoi' Rossiei: ruiny u rannego Karamzina kak mesto 'modernity'," Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie, vol. 59.1 (2003), 125-141.

'Lotman and Cultural Studies: The Case for Cross-fertilization,' Sign System Studies, vol. 30.2 (2003), 429-440.

"A.B. Kurakin and the Local Politics of Estate Design," Russian Literature, vol. 52.1-3 (2002), 283-298.

'Prostranstvennaia poetika Tsarskogo Sela v ekaterininskoi prezentatsii imperii,' Tynianovskii sbornik, vol. 11 (2002), 51-66.

"Social Power and Individual Agency: The Self in Greenblatt and Lotman," SEEJ, vol. 45.1 (2001), 61-79.

"Gender Trial and Gothic Thrill: Nadezhda Durova's Subversive Self-Exploration," in Gender and Sexuality in Russian Civilisation (London: Routledge Harwood Academic Publishers, 2001), 55-70.

"Garden of the Empire: Catherine's Appropriation of the Crimea," Slavic Review 60.1 (spring, 2001), 1-23.

"Gogol, the Picturesque, and the Desire for the People: A Reading of 'Rome'," The Russian Review 59 (October, 2000), 597-613.

"The Scare of the Self: Sentimentalism, Privacy, and Private Life in Russian Culture, 1780-1820," Slavic Review, vol. 57.4 (1998), 723-746.

"Of Sublimity, Shrinkage, and Selfhood in the Works of Bruno Schulz," Slavic and East-European Journal, vol. 42.3 (1998), 467-482.

"Krasnaia zvezda A. Bogdanova: zhanr i vospriiatie," Tynianovskii sbornik, vol. 10 (1998). 158-166.

"Teoriia fiktsional'nosti: kriticheskii obzor," Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie, vol. 27 (1997). 41-53.

"O tom, kak Sikstinskaia Madonna pokrovitel'stvovala russkomu romantizmu." Sed'mye tynianovskie chteniia: materialy dlia obsuzhdeniia (1995-96), 135-150.

"Sklepy cynamonowe Brunona Schulza: Apologia tandety," trans. by J. Szpyra, Bruno Schulz 1892-1942. In memoriam, Lublin, 1992, 59-77.

"Cinnamon Shops by Bruno Schulz: The Apology of tandeta," The Polish Review, vol. 36.2 (1991), 127-144.


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