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Ainsley Morse is a scholar, teacher and translator of Russian and former Yugoslav literatures, with a particular interest in the aesthetic and social peculiarities of Soviet-era unofficial literature, as well as contemporary Russian prose and poetry. Her book Word Play: Experimental Poetry and Soviet Children’s Literature will be published by Northwestern UP. Recent translation publications include the 1931 farcical “Soviet pastoral” Beyond Tula, by Andrei Egunov-Nikolev (ASP 2019) and Kholin 66: Diaries and Poems by Igor Kholin (UDP 2017, with Bela Shayevich) and Vsevolod Nekrasov’s I Live I See (UDP 2013, also with Shayevich). A collection of theoretical essays from the 1920s by the Formalist critic Yuri Tynianov, translated with Phil Redko, is forthcoming in September 2019.
Exploring the many peculiar, beautiful, and dreadful corners of Russia / the former Soviet Union and its languages, literatures and arts, and sharing my discoveries with students, friends and family, has been my main occupation for many years now. I am excited to bring some of these stories to Dartmouth and to keep exploring with students here.
I studied Russian and Serbo-Croatian/BCS literature at Harvard University (PhD 2016) and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (MA 2008), as well as (and perhaps more significantly) less formally over years of staying in Russia and Serbia/Croatia and learning from people there. As a teacher, I try to recreate this learning experience by making an immersive learning environment even in the Dartmouth classroom, and encouraging students to seek out the topic that will really grab and inspire them to make independent discoveries. I also teach a fair amount of historical and political context--without it, Russian literature (and film, and culture overall) can seem even more bizarre than intended. And, as a lover of poetry, I teach slow close reading--the depths a single line can yield are always astonishing.
We welcome Ainsley to the Russian Department!