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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages


Dr Alyson Tapp

Dr Alyson Tapp
University Lecturer in Russian Literature
Slavonic Studies
Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages
Contact details: 
Telephone number: 
+44 (0)1223 3 33217

Clare College

Queens Road

Cambridge CB3 9AJ


I study Russian literature of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. My work in this period has extended across poetry and prose, across Romanticism and Realism, and is unified by questions of genre, narrative and subjectivity. I have particular interests in the history and theory of the novel and the history of literary scholarship in Russia.

I am completing a project on elegy in the work of Pushkin and his precursors, while other recent publications have been on Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Lydia Ginzburg, and the modernist culture of St Petersburg.

My new project explores gardens, natural history, historical landscape, and nature writing. In connection with this one site of special interest is the Solovetsky Islands in the White Sea.

I received my PhD in Slavic Languages and Literatures from the University of California, Berkeley, and prior to coming to Cambridge taught at Reed College, Oregon.

Published works: 
  • “Embarrassment in The Idiot”, Slavic and East European Journal 60, No. 3, Fall 2016.
  • “Earwitness: Sound and Sense-Making in Tolstoy’s Sevastopol Stories.” Hearing Crimea: Sound and the Unmaking of Sense in Nineteenth-Century Wartime, ed. Gavin Williams (under review at OUP).
  • ‘Ginzburg’s Rational Impressionism: A Translator’s Note’ and translations: ‘The Return Home’ and ‘At One with the Legal Order’ by Lydia Ginzburg, in Lydia Ginzburg’s Alternative Literary Identity, eds. Emily van Buskirk and Andrei Zorin (Oxford and Bern: Peter Lang, 2012).
  • ‘”The Streetcar Prattle of Life:” Reading and Riding St Petersburg’s Trams.’ Petersburg/Petersburg: Novel and City 1900-1921, ed. Olga Matich (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2010).
  •  ‘Moving Stories: Emotion and Narrative in Anna Karenina.’ Russian Literature 61:3 (April 2007).