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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


Dr Anna A. Berman

University Lecturer in Nineteenth-Century Russian Literature and Culture
Slavonic Studies
Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages & Linguistics
Contact details: 

Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics
Raised Faculty Building
University of Cambridge
Sidgwick Avenue
United Kingdom



Anna Berman’s primary area of interest is the nineteenth-century Russian and English novel.  Her research has largely focused on questions about family, kinship structures, love, and marriage, with secondary interests in the relationship between science and literature (esp. the response to Charles Darwin and Ilya Mechnikov in Russian literature), and adaptations of Russian literary classics to the operatic stage.  Her current focus is on Russia’s nineteenth-century women novelists (esp. Nadezhda Khvoshchinskaya and Evgenia Tur).

Dr Berman completed her B.A. at Brown University, her M.Phil. at Cambridge University, and her Ph.D. at Princeton University.  She was an Associate Professor in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, Russian Section at McGill University (Montréal, Canada) before joining faculty at Cambridge.

Dr Berman welcomes inquiries from potential MPhil and PhD students interested in topics relevant to her research.

Research interests: 

Nineteenth-century novel, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, kinship, family history, siblings, incest, the family novel, science and literature, operatic adaptations of literary classics, nineteenth-century Russian women prose writers (esp. Khvoshchinskaya sisters, Tur).


Recent research projects: 

Dr Berman is currently working on restoring the legacy of Nadezhda Khvoshchinskaya (1821-1889), one of Russia's greatest forgotten novelists.  She is also studying other prominent women prose writers of the nineteenth century who have largely dropped from Russian literary history.


Published works: 



  • Editor. Tolstoy in Context. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2022.
  • The Family Novel in Russia and England, 1800-1880. Oxford University Press, 2022.
  • Siblings in Tolstoy and Dostoevsky: The Path to Universal Brotherhood. Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 2015.


  • “The Problem with Brothers in the Nineteenth-Century English Novel.” Victorian Review 46:1 (2020): 49-66.
  • “The Family Novel (and Its Curious Disappearance).” Comparative Literature 72:1 (2020): 1-18.
  • “Incest and the Limits of Family in the Nineteenth-Century Russian Novel.” Russian Review 78:1 (2019): 82-101.
  • “Mother of the Novel: Volkonskaya’s Russian Pamela and War and Peace.” Tolstoy Studies Journal 30 (2019, forthcoming).
  • “Lateral Plots: Brothers and the Nineteenth-Century Russian Novel.” SEEJ 61:1 (2017): 2-28.
  • “Darwin in the Novels: Tolstoy’s Evolving Literary Response.” Russian Review 72:2 (2017): 331-351.
  • “Of Phagocytes and Men: Tolstoy’s Response to Mechnikov and the Religious Purpose of Science.” Comparative Literature 68:3 (2016): 296-311.
  • “Competing Visions of Love and Brotherhood: Rewriting War and Peace for the Soviet Opera Stage.” Cambridge Opera Journal 26:3 (2014): 215-238.
  • “Scripting Katyusha: On the Way to an Operatic Adaptation of Resurrection.” SEEJ 55:3 (2011): 396-417.
  • “Siblings in The Brothers Karamazov.” The Russian Review 68 (2009): 263-82.
  • “The Idiot’s Romantic Struggle.” Dostoevsky Studies 12 (2008):  81-103.
  • “The Sibling Bond: A Model for Romance and Motherhood in War and Peace.” Tolstoy Studies Journal 18 (2006): 1-15.

Chapters in Edited Volumes

  • “Dostoevsky and the (Missing) Marriage Plot” in Dostoevsky at 200: The Novel in Modernity, edited by Kate Holland and Katia Bowers, 41-60. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2021.
  • “‘Viper will eat viper’: Dostoevsky, Darwin, and the possibility of brotherhood” in Dostoevsky Beyond Dostoevsky: Science, Religion, Philosophy, edited by Vladimir Golstein and Svetlana Evdokimova, 83-95. Boston: Academic Studies Press, 2016.
  • «Фагоциты Мечникова и толстовский синтез религии и науки» in Лев Толстой и мировая литература: Материалы IX Международной научной конференции, 197-205. Тула: Музей усадьба Л. Н. Толстого «Ясная Поляна», 2016.
  • “Pierre and Familyhood” in Critical Insights: War and Peace, edited by Leighton B. Cooke, 166-180. Amenia, NY: Grey House Publishing, 2014.