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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


Professor Simon Franklin

Simon Franklin
Professor of Slavonic Studies
Slavonic Studies
Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages & Linguistics
Contact details: 
Telephone number: 
+44 (0)1223 333 263

Clare College
University of Cambridge
Trinity Lane
United Kingdom


Simon Franklin came to Cambridge after an Oxford D.Phil. and a postdoctoral fellowship in Washington, D.C.. Most of his research has been concerned with the history and culture of early Rus and of Russia in the Early Modern period, though he has also published occasional studies of nineteenth- and twentieth-century Russian literature. In particular, he has focussed on aspects of the cultural significances of the written word across a broad spectrum of genres and forms and technologies: handwritten and printed, graffiti, inscribed objects, ephemera. Most recently he has been developing a holistic approach to the study of the ‘graphosphere’, the spaces of visible words.

Apart from teaching and research, he has served in numerous university and college roles, including periods as Head of the School of Arts and Humanities and as Senior Tutor of Clare College. He is currently a Trustee of the European University in St Petersburg, and of the Pushkin House Trust in London. In 2007 he was awarded the Lomonosov Gold Medal of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and he is a Fellow of the British Academy.

Professor Franklin welcomes inquiries from potential MPhil and PhD students with research interests relevant to his interests.

Teaching interests: 
  • Early Rus
  • 19th-century literature
  • translation
Research interests: 
  • early Rus culture
  • printed ephemera
  • material texts
  • history of Russian literature
Recent research projects: 

Current projects include:

  • (co-edited, with Rebecca Reich and Emma Widdis) a new Cambridge History of Russian Literature
  • (with Iuliia Shustova (Moscow): a union catalogue of Russian printed blank forms, 1645-1762
  • Russian inscription cycles for west European  engravings (late 17th-18th c.)
Published works: 

Principal publications


  • The Russian Graphosphere, 1450-1850 (Cambridge University Press, 2019)
  • (ed., with Katherine Bowers) Information and Empire: Mechanisms of Communication in Russia, 1600-1850 (Cambridge: Open Book Publishers, 2017); free downloads at
  • (ed., with Emma Widdis) National Identity in Russian Culture. An Introduction (Cambridge University Press, 2004)
  • Byzantium – Rus – Russia: Studies in the Translation of Christian Culture (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2002)
  • Writing, Society and Culture in Early Rus, 950-1300 (Cambridge University Press, 2002)
  • (with Jonathan Shepard) The Emergence of Rus, 750-1200 (London: Longman, 1996)
  • Sermons and Rhetoric of Kievan Rus’ (Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press, 1991)

Selected Articles (since 2010):

  • ‘Information in  Plain Sight: the Formation of the Public Graphosphere’. In Franklin and Bowers, Information and Empire, 341-367
  • ‘Three Types of Asymmetry in the Muscovite Engagement with Print’, Canadian-American Slavic Studies 51.2-3 (2017), 351-375
  • ‘K voprosu o malykh zhanrakh kirillicheskoi pechati’, in: 450 let Apostolu Ivana Fedorova. Istoriia rannego knigopechataniia v Rossii, ed. D. N. Ramazanova (Moscow: Pashkov dom, 2016), 228-239
  • ‘A Polyphony of Rules and Categories: the Case of Early Rus’, in Legalism: Rules and Categories, ed. Paul Dresch and Judith Scheele (Oxford University Press, 2015), 177-203
  • ‘Printing and Social Control in Russia, 3: Blank Forms’, Russian History 42.1 (2015), 114-135
  • ‘Tekhnologiia vlasti v XVIII veke: o zarozhdenii i tipologii “svetskikh” pechatnykh blankov’, Trudy Gosudarstvennogo Ermitazha LXXI (St Petersburg, 2014), 372-383
  • ‘Printing and Social Control in Russia, 2: Decrees’, Russian History 38.4 (2011), 467-492
  • ‘Mapping the Graphosphere: Cultures of Writing in Early 19th-Century Russia (and Before)’, Kritika 12.1 (2011), 531-560
  • ‘Printing and Social Control in Russia, 1: Passports’, Russian History 37.3 (2010), 208-237
  • ‘Printing Moscow: Significances of the Frontispiece to the 1663 Bible’, Slavonic and East European Review 88 (2010), 73-95