I have been flippant and irreverent about “about” in the past, but now I’m serious! Welcome to the russellv.com website. You can find my official Indiana University faculty bio at this link. If you have found this site through the “Good Enough for Jesus” link at the Autumn Hill Books website, you might enjoy reading the eponymous story, which also might be considered an essay, at the Buenos Aires Review
Somewhere around here you can find info on my books, music, editing, translation, and publishing activities. Please poke around. I will make a more conventional approach possible, but for anyone who likes following a narrative with links, here goes.
I am currently writing one research-based nonfiction book about Russia and another about the Adriatic, editing a collection of articles on Siberia with two colleagues, translating a book about folklore with two other colleagues, writing some music (as Ba Ren Chi: check out the album Cool 7 at Jamendo), and teaching in Indiana University’s Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures, where I also chair the editorial board of Slavica Publishers.
I spent a lot of my time over the past four and a half years as Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion & International Affairs (these are two separate offices) in Indiana University’s College of Arts and Sciences. Formerly, I served (and currently again serve) as chairperson of The Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures at Indiana University. I also formerly served as President of The American Literary Translators Association and currently as senior editor at Autumn Hill Books.
I recently finished translating a very long, very good book by Miljenko Jergović, which was published by Archipelago Books in June 2021. I’m also trying to be a dad. And a husband. Here’s a picture of me from about 2015 trying to explain it all without moving my mouth.
From 2009-2013, I served Editor-in-chief at The Iowa Review.
This book took me a good ten years to complete, partly because I didn’t have the expertise to do it alone. (I am indebted to the two other people listed on the cover, my friends David J. Depew and Cinzia Sartini Blum, for making it possible to finally manage it.)
Materada, by Fulvio Tomizza, was my first published book-length translation, and Michael Henry Heim was the editor at the Northwestern UP series that published it (Writings from an Unbound Europe, a great series now defunct). That experience taught me how to edit.
I wrote one scholarly monograph based on my PhD dissertation, along with a number of essays published in professional journals in the field of Slavic studies (I would not read this book unless you are a real 19th-century Russian literature nerd). More recently, and again after a long gestation period, this time more like a decade, I wrote a second scholarly monograph, The Woman in the Window. I have also translated books by Igor Štiks (with Tomislav Kuzmanović), Predrag Matvejević (this one and this other one), Sabit Madaliev, and Susanna Tamaro (again with Cinzia Blum).
My favorite cover from these various projects remains the one to the right, which Nicki Flores did such a lovely job on. It’s displaying a little darker here than it looks in one’s hands.
Esther Allen, Sean Cotter, and I edited a book devoted to the life and work of Michael Henry Heim (Open Letter Books), which came out in the fall of 2014. It’s called The Man Between: Michael Henry Heim and a Life in Translation, and here’s the listing at the publisher’s website.
The Woman in the Window was long listed for the Historia Nova Prize for the Best Book on Russian Intellectual and Cultural History (for 2014), alongside a number of other really fantastic books published in the same year. It came out in paperback in 2016.
I’m working on some other things now, all while juggling some of the activities and engagements noted above. In the meantime, lots of little things here and there. Here’s a short list with links:
- Good Enough for Jesus
- The Oxymoron of Empathic Criticism
- Teaching in Translation
- Translation and Proficiency Language Teaching
- Translation and the Teaching of Literature
- A Translator’s Dilemma
- Crossing 2
- Crossing 3
- Lenin’s Empty Place
- Pierre Menard’s Alexander Blok
- Menard’s Khlebnikov
- Translating the Poet
- Me Bastard, You Bastard: Multiculturalism at Home and Abroad