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Proffer Tribute

Ann Arbor in Russian Literature: Revisiting the Carl R. Proffer and Ardis Legacies

A Symposium at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

September 20-21, 2013

The University of Michigan’s Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies (CREES) and Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies (WCED) are pleased to host a symposium, “Ann Arbor in Russian Literature: Revisiting the Carl R. Proffer and Ardis Legacies.

”The symposium will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the birth of U-M Professor Carl R. Proffer (1938-84), an outstanding scholar renowned for his books on Gogol and Nabokov. In his brief 46 years Carl Proffer contributed to the field of Russian literature as an author, translator, editor, and publisher, and put Ann Arbor on the map of Russian literature in perpetuity. In 1971 with his wife Ellendea, also a scholar, author, and translator, he founded Ardis which became the foremost Western publisher of Russian and Soviet literature, including reprints and translations of classics as well as works banned by the Soviet authorities. Symposium presenters will explore Ardis Publishers’ consequential role as a citadel of Russian literature and U-M’s rich legacy as a center for the study of dissent in the Soviet Union and as a refuge for Soviet writers and artists (including Joseph Brodsky, poet-in-residence at U-M, 1972-81).


Ardis: Carl Proffer's Story A video by Monica Harmsen (Russian B.A. '14)


FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2:00 ‒ 5:00 PM
Workshop: Ardis Publishers and the Russian Literary Canon
Koessler Room, Michigan League

Presenters: Alexander Dolinin, professor of Slavic languages and literature, University of Wisconsin; Denis Kozlov, professor of Russian history, Dalhousie University; Mark Lipovetsky, professor of Russian studies, University of Colorado Boulder; and Andrew Reynolds, associate professor of Slavic languages and literature, University of Wisconsin

Moderator: Michael Makin, professor of Slavic languages and literatures, University of Michigan

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 1:00 – 5:30 PM
Ann Arbor on the Map of Russian Literature: A Tribute to Carl R. Proffer
Rackham Amphitheatre, Rackham Building

Presenters: Barbara Heldt, professor emerita of Russian and women’s studies, University of British Columbia; Robert G. Kaiser, associate editor and former Moscow bureau chief, The Washington Post; Irina Prokhorova, literary critic, cultural historian, and head of the New Literary Observer magazine and publishing house; Gerald Smith, professor emeritus of Russian, University of Oxford; Ellendea Proffer Teasley, co-founder of Ardis Publishers and MacArthur Fellow; and Alexei Tsvetkov, poet and essayist

This session will also include a roundtable with friends and former Ardis editors and translators Nancy Beardsley, Rachel Izrina, William Kalvin, Ronald Meyer, Fred Moody, Tatiana Nikolskaya, Christine Rydel, and Mary Ann Szporluk.

Ardis: Safe House on Russia's Literary Underground Railway
An exhibit of items from the University Library’s Ardis Archive
Clarke Library, Hatcher Graduate Library

 For more information, see the symposium schedule.

This program is part of an ongoing CREES/WCED Pluralism in Politics and Culture initiative focusing on contemporary cultural, legal, political, and economic manifestations of political pluralism, past and present.

University of Michigan sponsors: Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies; Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies; Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures; College of Literature, Science, and the Arts; Department of Comparative Literature; Department of English; Department of History; Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies; Institute for the Humanities; International Institute; Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies; Office of the Vice President for Research; Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Collection, University Library; Special Collections Library, University Library; and Zell Visiting Writers Series.