Geoff Cebula

Curriculum Vitae

I am a PhD. candidate in Slavic Languages and Literatures at Princeton University. My primary area of research is Russian literature and culture, although I have also studied twentieth-century Polish literature and film to a lesser extent. Areas of scholarly interest include narratology, historical poetics, theatrical performance, political uses of sympathy, and the innovative potential of artistic 'failures.' Although I am interested in topics from the eighteenth century to the present, my research has focused on the early Soviet period, especially the demise and afterlives of the Russian avant-garde.

One of the first Russian poets to catch my attention was the brilliant 'nonsense' poet Alexander Vvedensky, whose major works have only recently become available to Anglophone audience. Vvedensky belongs to an eccentric cohort of poets normally referred to by the acronym "OBERIU," widely considered among the most important (and baffling) achievements of the Russian avant-garde. These poets provide the subject of my dissertation, titled "'Left Flank' of the Avant-garde: The Evolution of OBERIU poetics," which provides a historically contextualized reevaluation of the literary and theatrical texts of this group. In this dissertation, I argue that the composition of these works was determined by the immediate contexts in which they were performed and/or circulated, as well as the institutional and personal affiliations of these authors (which determined their audience).