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Introducing the "Pushkinalia".

On 20-21 April 2018 Princeton University hosted the first annual "Pushkinalia," under the broad title "Pushkin Unlimited." The purpose of the event was to bring together scholars of different generations working on Pushkin's legacy. The format was closer to a brainstorming session than to a conference. The poster, an attempt to set a playful tone for the event itself, depicted Pushkin and Arina Rodionovna riding on an elephant. Outside of the keynote address, a lecture by Alexander Dolinin, Professor Emeritus of the University of Wisconsin at Madison ("What Can We Do with the Books in Pushkin's Library? The Case of 'Puteshestvie v Arzrum'"), the participants were encouraged not to read prepared texts, but to speak freely on any aspect of Pushkin's work that they considered significant for the development of Pushkin studies, from his poetry to his correspondence to his historical and political thinking to the work of his contemporaries. Each presentation, based on brief excerpts distributed before the meeting, lasted approximately fifteen minutes and was followed by twenty minutes of discussion. The event culminated in a one-hour concert of song settings of Pushkin's poetry, presented by performance faculty of Princeton's Music Department, followed by a festive dinner that included a fierce yet friendly competition of Pushkin trivia. In addition to Alexander Dolinin, the following scholars participated: Alexey Balakin (Pushkinskii Dom), Edyta Bojanowska (Yale University), Angela Brintlinger (Ohio State), Ivan Eubanks (University College of the Cayman Islands), Alyssa Gillespie (Bowdoin College), Luba Golburt (University of California at Berkeley), Joe Peschio (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), Oleg Proskurin (Emory University), Ilya Vinitsky (Princeton University), and Michael Wachtel (Princeton University). An account of the meeting, authored by Princeton graduate student Laura Christians, appeared in the most recent Vremennik Pushkinskoi kommissii.

Building on the success of that initial event, the second annual "Pushkinalia" moved to the Cayman Islands on 11-12 January 2019. It was hosted by the University College of the Cayman Islands and, in particular, by Ivan Eubanks, a faculty member and former editor of The Pushkin Review. Titled "Pushkin Offshore: [phrase omitted]" it followed the same format and included many of the same participants. Oleg Proskurin gave the keynote presentation: "Pushkin's Fake Passports: 'From Pindemonte' and Its Political Background." Other participants were Edyta Bojanowska (Yale University), Caryl Emerson (Princeton University), Ivan Eubanks (University College of the Cayman Islands), Alyssa Gillespie (Bowdoin College), Luba Golburt (University of California at Berkeley), Olga Hasty (Princeton University), Svetlana Korshunova (Princeton University), Kirill Ospovat (University of Wisconsin at Madison), Ilya Vinitsky (Princeton University), Michael Wachtel (Princeton University), and Emily Wang (Notre Dame). Enrichment took the form of a twilight cruise ("[phrase omitted]" or "[phrase omitted]"). The poster for the event--reproduced in this issue of The Pushkin Review--featured the famous shot of Pushkin in formal dress gazing at the ocean, surfboard in hand.

Since the "Pushkinalia" was conceived as an experimental forum where participants could share unfinished work and request input from their peers, not every presentation was expected to result in a publication, and the publications that did emerge often had only a tangential relationship to the initial presentation. Whether ultimately published or not, the papers and discussion were deemed highly productive by participants, as reflected in a high rate of return for "Pushkinalia II." Many of the earlier participants will be coming to the third "Pushkinalia," which will take place again at Princeton University in January of 2020, with Igor Pilshchikov scheduled to give the keynote address.

In this issue of The Pushkin Review, we are delighted to publish a selection of papers inspired by our first meeting. It is our hope that future issues will likewise feature work initially presented at the "Pushkinalia" events.
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Author:Vinitsky, Ilya; Wachtel, Michael
Publication:Pushkin Review
Date:Jan 1, 2019
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