Gregory Freidin on Isaac Babel

About Guest:

Gregory Freidin is Professor of Slavic at Stanford University. He was educated first in the USSR and then went on to receive his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California – Berkeley in 1979 with a thesis on Osip Mandelstam. He has been at Stanford since 1978. He was chair of the Slavic Department from 1994-1997 and from 1998-2001, directed the Center for Russion, East-European, and Eurasion Studies from 2003-2004, and is now the acting head of the DLCL. At Stanford he has taught many courses, including Oedipus in Russia, Tolstoy's War and Peace, The Modernist Paradigm, and Russian Symbolism among others. After a long detour into Russian contemporary culture, politics and society, Professor Freidin, has returned to his old flame, the Isaac Babel project, a critical biography – as much of Isaac Babel as of the magnetic and elusive voice animating his compact and fragmented oeuvre. He hopes to finish the manuscript, A Jew on Horseback, in a few months. As a follow-up, he is planning, along with Gabriella Safran and Stephen Zipperstein (History and Jewish Studies), an international conference on Babel for the fall of 2003. Together with the Berkeley sociologist, Victoria E. Bonnell, he has begun research on a book-lingth study, tentatively entitled Conjuring up a New Russia: Symbols, Rituals, and Mythologies of national Identit, 1991-2002. Professor Freidin's publications include: A Coat of Many Colors: Osip Mandelstam and His Mythologies of Self-Presentation (Berkeley, 1987), Russia at the Barricades: Eyewitness Accounts of the Moscow Coup (ed. with V. Bonnel and A. Cooper) (M.E. Sharpe, 1994), and Russia at the End of the Twentieth Century: Culture and Its Horizons in Politics and Society (editor) (Stanford, 2000).

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