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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


Dr Rachel Polonsky

Affiliated Lecturer, Department of Slavonic Studies
Director of Studies (Russian), Emmanuel College
Official Fellow, Murray Edwards College
Slavonic Studies
Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages & Linguistics
Contact details: 
Telephone number: 
+ 44 (0)1223 762 271

Murray Edwards College
Huntingdon Rd
United Kingdom


Rachel Polonsky’s scholarly interests include nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first century poetry, fiction, and memoir, often with a comparative emphasis, and the place of Russian literature in the overlapping contexts of cultural, intellectual, and political history. She has published numerous essays, articles, and reviews on a wide variety of subjects in scholarly journals and anthologies, and is a contributor to the The New York Review of Books, The Times Literary Supplement among other periodicals.

Teaching interests: 

I supervise on Russian cultural history, and nineteenth and twentieth century literature.

Research interests: 

My current research interests include the various aspects of the ‘Eastern Question’ in nineteenth century Russian iterature. I have recently published several essays on contemporary Russian fiction writers in The New York Review of Books.

Published works: 


  • 2010 – Molotov’s Magic Lantern: A Journey in Russian History (Faber & Faber)
  • 1998 – English Literature and the Russian Aesthetic Renaissance (Cambridge University Press)

Selected Articles:

  • 2014 – Introduction, The Queen of Spades and Other Stories by Alexander Pushkin, The Folio Society
  • 2012 – ‘Chekhov and the Buried Life of Katherine Mansfield’ in A People Passing Rude: British Responses to Russian Culture ed., Anthony Cross (Open Book), 201-214
  • 2008 – ‘The Reception of Shelley in Russia’ in The Reception of P.B. Shelley in Europe eds., Susanne Schmid and Michael Rossington (Thoemems Continuum), 229-247
  • 2005 – ‘Hajji Baba in St Petersburg: James Morier, Osip Senkovskii and Pushkin’s Literary Diplomacy between East and West’, Journal of European Studies, vol.35 no.3, 253-270
  • 2004 – ‘Among the Ossetians: How Pushkin’s Travels Eastwards Altered his Self-Image as a European Poet’ (Commentary) The Times Literary Supplement 24&31 December
  • 2002 – ‘Poe’s Aesthetic Theory’ in The Cambridge Companion to Edgar Allan Poe ed., Kevin J. Hayes (Cambridge University Press), 42-57
  • 2000 – ‘The Classics in Paraphrase: Pound, Kuzmin and the Uses of Antiquity’, Forum for Modern Language Studies vol. XXXVI, no.4, 253-270
  • 1997 – ‘Translating Whitman, Mistranslating Bal’mont’, The Slavonic and East European Review vol.75, no.3, 401-421
  • 1996 – ‘Dante and Russian Poetry’, The Cambridge Review, vol. 117, no.2328, 27-35