I grew up in the Swiss town of Schaffhausen near the Rhine Falls. After graduating from the local high school with an emphasis on Classics, I studied French and Russian Philology in Zurich, Paris, Leningrad, and at Columbia University, where I obtained a Ph.D. in Russian literature with a thesis on the Russian reception of Charles Baudelaire. I have been teaching at Penn State since 1996. My main appointment is in the Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures, where I served as head from 2000 to 2008 and am currently the director of the Russian Program. My original research interests included symbolism, literary relations between Russia and Western Europe, the prose poem, and utopian studies. More recently, I have focused on the literature written by contemporary Russian-Jewish émigré authors in French, German, English, and Hebrew, and on the topic of self-translation. I am also an active translator of poetry. In addition to four scholarly monographs I have published six bilingual editions of Russian, Romanian, and Ukrainian poetry in my German verse translation. My latest book, The Bilingual Muse: Self-Translation among Russian Poets (Northwestern University Press, 2020) is available in open access.
AREAS OF SPECIALIZATION
- Russian Literature
- Translingual Diaspora Fiction