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Edith W. Clowes

Brown-Forman Professor, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures

Office Address

PO Box 400783
269 New Cabell Hall
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4783

On Leave-Spring 2023


Edith W. Clowes (PhD, Slavic, Yale U.) holds the Brown-Forman Chair in the Humanities in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Virginia, where she teaches Russian and Czech literature and culture. Her first research and teaching interests span literature, philosophy, religion, and utopian thought. Author or editor of 15 books, multi-authored volumes, and special journal numbers, Professor Clowes’ most recent book on Russian philosophical culture is Fiction’s Overcoat: Russian Literary Culture and the Question of Philosophy (Cornell). More recently, she has turned to the question of imagined geography and perceptions of space and place in contemporary Russian public discourse. Russia on the Edge: Imagined Geographies and Post-Soviet Identity (Cornell), an interdisciplinary study, appeared in 2011, in Russian translation in 2020 and Korean translation in 2022. In 2016 she and Latin-Americanist Shelly Jarrett Bromberg published Area Studies in the Global Age: Community, Place, Identity (Northern Illinois), which is currently used in area studies courses in the US and Britain. Following a conference she organized on Russia’s regional identities, Professor Clowes published a special number of the journal REGION, titled “Centrifugal Forces? Russia’s Regional Identities and Initiatives” (5:2 (2016)), and a book, Russia’s Regional Identities: The Power of the Provinces (Routledge, 2018), edited with G. Erbslöh and A. Kokobobo. Most recently her research has turned toward digital mapping and graphing of literary works for the website and database, “Mapping Imagined Geographies of Revolutionary Russia (1914-1922),” published in May, 2022, and housed at UVA’s Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities. Her forthcoming book, Shredding the Map: Imagined Geographies of Revolutionary Russia, 1914-1922 (Amherst College), deploys digitally generated maps and graphs to analyze broad patterns of geo-emotional perception of Russia among 90 revolution-era writers.

Also interested in society, the arts, and business in Russia, Professor Clowes has published work on the sociology of literature and the arts in the Russian translation of an editorial collaboration, Kupecheskaia Moskva: Obrazy ushedshei rossiiskoi burzhuazii (Merchant Moscow: Images of Russia’s Vanished Bourgeoisie (Princeton, 1998; Russian, 2007) and Between Tsar and People: Educated Society and the Quest for a Public Identity in Late Imperial Russia (Princeton, 1993).

Professor Clowes is a past director of the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies at the University of Kansas (2008-2012). She serves on the editorial boards of New Area Studies, Losevskie chteniia (a book series devoted to the Russian philosopher, Aleksei Losev), REGION (a journal devoted to research on the regions of the former Soviet Union), and the book series, Heidelberger Beiträge zur Slavistischen Philologie, Winter Verlag, at the University of Heidelberg.

Professor Clowes was a founder of “Music Works,” a fundraising organization to support music education in the Lawrence, KS, schools. Wherever she has worked, she has collaborated with the administration of the university museum to mount joint art exhibits and conferences. She has served on the Oberlin College Board of Trustees (2006-2012). Professor Clowes spends her free time at the movies, attending operas and concerts, and hiking. She also enjoys table tennis, pickleball, and skiing and likes to play charades and board games, especially Scrabble (English, Russian, or German), Boggle, Wingspan, and backgammon.

Selected Publications

2016, special number: “Centrifugal Forces? Russia’s Regional Identities and Initiatives” Region, 5:2 (2016).

2016, edited volume: Area Studies in the Global Age: Community, Place, Identity, DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press.

2015, chapter: “Being Eccentric Like Vasilii Rozanov: How Andrei Siniavskii-Terts and Venedikt Erofeev Resisted Socialist Realism,” ‘A Convenient Territory': Russian Literature and the Edge of Modernity. Edited by J. Kopper and M. Wachtel. Bloomington, IN: Slavica, 2015, 217-230.

2015, chapter: “The Mute Body: Leonid Andreev’s Abject Realism in the Russian Fin de Siecle,” Russian Writers and the Fin de Siecle: The Twilight of Realism. Edited by K. Bowers and A. Kokobobo. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2015, 233-248.

2014, article: “Imagined Geographies: American and Russian Variations” («Воображаемая география и идентичность: американский и русский варианты»), Filologicheskii diskurs: Vestnik Institituta filologii i zhurnalistiki TiumGU (Tiumen’, Russia) 12 (2014), 49-59.

2014, article: «А.Ф. Лосев и польза повествовательной прозы, или: Рождение философии из духа музыки» [A. F. Losev and the uses of narrative, or: the birth of philosophy from the spirit of music], in: A. F. Losev: Tvorchestvo, Traditsii, Interpretatsii, ed. A. Takho-Godi, E. Takho-Godi. Moscow: Vodolei, 2014, 335-349.

2013, article: “Being a Sibiriak in Contemporary Siberia: Imagined Geography and Vocabularies of Identity in Regional Writing Culture,” Region, vol. 2, no. 1, 47-67.

2011, book: Russia on the Edge: Imagined Geographies and Post-Soviet Identity. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

2011, article: “Looking for Miracles: Akhmatova, Pasternak, and the Orthodox Legacy,” Modern Greek Studies (U. Minnesota), volumes 26-27, 1-23.

2010, edited forum: introduction, “Gorky and Godbuilding,” Modern Greek Studies (U. Minnesota), volumes 24-25.

2007, editorial collaboration: Sbornik “Vekhi” v kontekste russkoi kul’tury. Moscow: Nauka.

2007, Russian translation of editorial collaboration: Kupecheskaia Moskva: Obrazy ushedshei rossiiskoi burzhuazii. Moscow: ROSSPEN.

2007, chapter: “Groundlessness: Nietzsche and Russian Concepts of Tragic Philosophy.” Nietzsche and the Rebirth of the Tragic.  Edited M. A. Frese. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 126-137.

2007, chapter: “Traditsiia ‘Vekh’ v pozdnee sovetskoe vremia (Sbornik statei “Iz-pod glyb” A. I. Solzhenitsyna i esse G. S. Pomerantsa,” Sbornik “Vekhi” v kontekste russkoi kul’tury. Moscow: Nauka, 264-271.

2006, chapter: “Entwürfe der Erinnerung an den Holocaust: Evtushenkos und Kuznetsovs ‘Babij Jar’,” Zerstörer des Schweigens. Formen künstlerischer Erinnerung an die nationalsozialistische Rassen- und Vernichtungspolitik in Osteuropa, ed. F. Grüner, U. Heftrich, H-D. Löwe. Köln: Böhlau, 115-127.

2004, book: Fiction’s Overcoat:  Russian Literary Culture and the Question of Philosophy.  Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

1995, edited volume: Doctor Zhivago:  A Critical Companion.  Northwestern/ AATSEEL Critical Companions to Russian Literature, Vol. 1.  Evanston:  Northwestern University Press.

1993, book: Russian Experimental Fiction: Resisting Ideology after Utopia.  Princeton:  Princeton University Press, 1993.  Since 2014, published on demand by PUP.

1991, edited volume: Between Tsar and People:  Educated Society and the Quest for a Public Identity in Late Imperial Russia.  Edited with Samuel C. Kassow and James L. West.  Princeton:  Princeton University Press.

1988, book: The Revolution of Moral Consciousness: Nietzsche in Russian Literature, 1890-1914.  DeKalb:  Northern Illinois University Press,.  276 pp.  Russian translation: Nitsshe v Rossii.  St. Petersburg: Akademicheskii Proekt, 1999. Hard copy. Also available on line at:

Current editorial work

Associate Editor, Russian Review (Lawrence)

Editorial Board, Losevskie chteniia (Moscow)

Editorial Board, Region (Seoul)

Editorial Board, Beiträge zur slavistischen Philologie, Winter Verlag (Heidelberg)

Selected grants

Personal: ACLS, NEH Summer Stipend, NEH Fellowship for University Teachers, NEH Conference Grant, DAAD, IREX, Fulbright-Hays

Institutional: Title VI (NRC and FLAS), US Army Research Office, DAAD, Open World Institute, Institute of Turkish Studies

Current Projects

Multi-authored book on Russia’s regions (Routledge)

Literary cartography: Mapping Russian writing culture during World War I, the Revolution, and the Civil War (1914-1922)


Edith spends her free time at the movies, attending operas and concerts, and on the tennis court. She also enjoys table tennis, hiking, and skiing and likes to play charades and board games, especially Scrabble (English or Russian) and backgammon.

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