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Gasperetti, David 1952–

Gasperetti, David 1952–

PERSONAL: Born December 4, 1952, in Milwaukee, WI; son of Emil J. and Connie Gasperetti. Education: Lawrence University, B.A. (magna cum laude), 1976; University of California, Los Angeles, M.A., 1978, Ph.D., 1985.

ADDRESSES: Office—Department of German and Russian, 318 O'Shaughnessy Hall, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: University of Tulsa, Tulsa, OK, assistant professor, 1985–89; University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN, assistant professor, 1989–96, associate professor of Russian, 1996–.

MEMBER: Modern Language Association of America, American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies, American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages, Phi Beta Kappa.

AWARDS, HONORS: Outstanding academic book citation, Choice, 1998, for The Rise of the Russian Novel: Carnival, Stylization, and Mockery of the West; fellow, Social Science Research Council; Kaneb Center Teaching Award, University of Notre Dame.

WRITINGS:

The Rise of the Russian Novel: Carnival, Stylization, and Mockery of the West, Northern Illinois University Press (DeKalb, IL), 1998.

Reference Grammar for V puti, Prentice Hall (Upper Saddle River, NJ), 2006.

Contributor to reference books. Contributor to periodicals, including Russian Literature, Slavic and East European Journal, and Russian Review.

SIDELIGHTS: David Gasperetti is an associate professor of Russian at the University of Notre Dame, where his courses include "Surveys of Nineteenth and Twentieth-Century Russian Literature," "Pushkin and His Time," "Tolstoy," "The Brothers Karamazov," and "Revolution in the Russian Novel." Gasperetti is also the author of The Rise of the Russian Novel: Carnival, Stylization, and Mockery of the West. Prior to 1775, there were only twelve original Russian novels. The government's monopoly on printing ended in 1783, but this did not result in a groundswell of creativity, and fiction continued to be mistrusted. In his book Gasperetti shows how reader interest increased because of the work of three important writers who set the trend in literature during the era of Catherine the Great and led to the development of Russian prose fiction during the 1840s.

These three authors include Matvei Komarov, who wrote Milord George, a romance adventure in which hero and heroine travel over high seas to Turkey, Sardinia, Copenhagen, and Venice, where they meet at a carnival. Hidden by her disguise, the heroine tests the hero's fidelity. In Komarov's Vanka Kain, a bandit is sentenced to hard labor. Andrew Kahn wrote in the Times Literary Supplement that "the hero's winning villainy reflects the Russian love of underdogs, and is in the spirit of the folkloric and literary texts that celebrate figures like the bandit Stepan Razin and the rebel Pugachev."

The second author is Mikhail Chulkov, an actor at the court theatre in St. Petersburg, a civil servant in the Department of Commerce, and a writer who was not a part of the literary establishment. His The Mocker is a collection of stories and legends through which "he simultaneously parodied serious prose and pursued utopian fantasy," wrote Kahn. Kahn said Chulkov created "a hybrid and open genre that looks forward to Dostoevsky's Diary of a Writer." Kahn called Chulkov's Comely Cook "a cross between Moll Flanders and Molly Bloom." It is a rags-to-riches story of a seductress, and although the monologue has been praised by scholars, Gasperetti writes that it is merely a prop to undermine the conventions of serious literature. Kahn said the works of Komarov and Chulkov "revel in comic reversals and wantonness, champion the poor over the privileged, the serf over the master, and even the reader over the author." These popular works were circulated through a type of wood-block book, called a lubok, which had been in use since the seventeenth century.

Gasperetti's third subject is Fedor Emin, and Kahn compared him to Komarov and Chulkov. "By contrast, the novels of Fedor Emin roll didacticism, adventure, and the sentimental into one," wrote Kahn. Emin was a Turk who lived a colorful life. In his The Adventures of Themistocles, the first Russian philosophical novel, the hero comments on the nature of the ideal state. Abduction and rescue figure in the plot of The Marquis de Toledo, which takes place in the Orient. Gasperetti describes Emin's works as examples of early realism. Kahn concluded that Gasperetti "makes an excellent case for the artistic value of a pioneering set of novels whose significance outweighs their small number."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Choice, October, 1998, review of The Rise of the Russian Novel: Carnival, Stylization, and Mockery of the West, pp. 323-324.

Russian Review, January, 1999, review of The Rise of the Russian Novel, pp. 133-134.

Slavic and East European Journal, spring, 1999, review of The Rise of the Russian Novel, pp. 204-206.

Slavic Review, winter 1998, review of The Rise of the Russian Novel, pp. 937-938.

Times Literary Supplement, August 7, 1998, Andrew Kahn, review of The Rise of the Russian Novel, p. 13.

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