Please tell us about your research project.
I am a third-year Ph.D. student in Russian literature at the National Institute of Oriental languages and civilizations of Paris. My research is dedicated to the reception of the literary works of Alexander Pushkin and Mikhail Lermontov with a focus on illustrations and translations. The increase in production of Russian illustrated books at the beginning of the 20th century overlaps with the production of the famous Russian ballets by Serge Diaghilev and many Russian artists were theatre decorators and illustrators at the same time. This is the reason why my research also deals with theatre performances and the way that some texts of Russian literature were staged.
Could you please tell us a bit more about your scholarship/exchange program?
I was very lucky to obtain a one-month scholarship that let me delve into a specific part of my research. My stay in Oxford concerns in particular the adaptations of literary texts on stage and Serge Diaghilev’s enterprise called Russian Seasons. As the Russian ballet became well-known and especially appreciated in France and in Great Britain in 1920th, I could find some precious documents that show the reception of these performances by the public. One of such documents was provided by a British dance historian and editor Cyril Beaumont who’s works, and especially Impressions of the Russian ballet, give descriptions by text and by images of how these performances were coming about. As the documents and recordings of the very first performances are rather limited, such booklets give me a possibility to visualize and to better understand the way that the literary works were adapted on stage.
First impressions of Oxford/the University?
I am extremely pleased to be part of Oxford’s life even for a short period of time. I am grateful to be able to pursue my research in such a special place as Oxford, work in the beautiful buildings of the Bodleian Library, and communicate with the team of MFO. I am happy to be here with the other residents and colleagues, with whom we share our everyday life, tea and coffee breaks, our concerns, and doubts about our research, as well as very pleasant moments of visiting Oxford.