Recap of NYU Event

A sincere thanks to Eliot Borenstein for the invitation and the introduction two weeks ago for my talk at the Jordan Center at NYU. And to Anastassia Kostrioukova for the recap and summary at the above link, which begins like this:

“On April 3, 2015, the NYU Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia welcomed Russell Valentino – professor and chair of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures at Indiana University – to speak about his latest monograph The Woman in the Window, published by Ohio University Press in October 2014. Valentino stated that the image of a woman in the window was ubiquitous in the books and films with which he has been working for many years. When writing about this trope, Valentino added, it is hard not to write about male fantasy.

“With the European financial revolution of late 17th and early 18th centuries – the creation of the Bank of England, public and national debt, and replacement of land interests by money interests – the notion that a man’s virtues were found in property and land began “to give way to a more ambiguous conception of the self.” The establishment of a credit system was greeted by some as a potential improvement of well-being, while others saw it as the onset of corruption. A similar dual response, according to Valentino, can be traced to the onset of our present-day virtual culture….” (More at the link.)

Lovely to see some dear friends in the crowd. I hope at least my jokes were funny.

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In NY later this week (for a man and a woman)

I’ll be participating in The University of Rochester’s Reading the Word series this Thursday for the launch of The Man Between. Man_Between-front_largeThen to NYU’s Jordan Center on Friday afternoon for a presentation drawn from The Woman in the Window.

Here are the details:

Event No. 1: Michael Henry Heim was one of the greatest literary translators, and translation advocates, of the 20th century. His impact – on the study of translation, the funding of translation, the introduction of the phrase “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” into English – is immense, varied, and inspirational. Come hear the editors – Esther Allen, Sean Cotter, and Russell Scott Valentino – of The Man Between: Michael Henry Heim & A Life in Translation talk about this exciting new book, the many contributions within, Mike himself, and the art of literary translation.

Thursday  |  April 2, 2015  |  5:00 p.m.
Welles-Brown Room  |  Rush Rhees Library
University of Rochester
Rochester, NY 14627

And Event No. 2: The Woman in the Window: Commerce, Consensual Fantasy, and the Quest for Masculine Character from Dostoevsky to NabokovThe Woman in the Window

Valentino’s lecture rests upon notions of how the traditional virtue ethic, grounded in property-based conceptions of masculine heroism, was eventually displaced by a new commercial ethic that rested upon consensual fantasy. The new economic world destabilized traditional Russian notions of virtue and posed a central question that Russian authors have struggled to answer since the early nineteenth century: How could a self-interested commercial man be incorporated into the Russian context as a socially valuable masculine character?

With examples drawn from the works of Gogol, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Pasternak, and Nabokov, Valentino argues that Russian authors worked through this question via their depictions of mixed-up men, charting a range of masculine character types thrown off stride by the new commercially inflected world: those who embrace blind confidence, those who are split with doubt or guilt, and those who look for an ideal of steadfastness and purity to keep themselves afloat – a woman in a window.

Start: April 3, 2015 3:00 pm

Venue: NYU Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia

Phone: 212.992.6575

Address: 19 University Place, 2nd FloorNew York, NY10003

Hope to see you there (or there)!

The publisher’s website

I have now received the page proofs from The Woman in the Window — hurray for page proofs! — as well as the link for the publisher’s new website for the book, which is here. I now need to provide some links that are recommended by the author. I have to decide what the author recommends first. I’m thinking of something by the author, and then something by Deirdre McCloskey, and after that I’m not sure. Suggestions welcome!

The cover is also an issue. I’ve been asked for suggestions. We could go with the Vasily Tropinin painting of the Woman at the Window that I use in the first chapter, but the angle is not exactly what I was hoping for, and it’s not a terribly suggestive painting to me. I much prefer the shot of the hero of Cinema Paradiso standing on the empty street at night, staring up at Her window. But putting that on the cover would probably be prohibitively expensive. There are lots of Edward Hopper paintings of women at windows that might work, but again, they don’t make my heart beat much.

I’m sure there is a perfect image for this. Just need to find it. Or maybe make it…