Yale Literature Professor Wins MLA Award

The Modern Language Association has awarded the fifth Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Slavic Literary Studies to Vladimir E. Alexandrov, professor and chair of the Slavic Languages and Literatures department at Yale, for his book “Limits to Interpretation: The Meanings of Anna Karenina,” published by the University of Wisconsin Press.

The prize is awarded biennially for an outstanding scholarly work on the linguistics or literatures of the Slavic languages, including Belarussian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Polish, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovene and Ukrainian. The prize includes a monetary award of $2,000 and a certificate.

The prize is one of 18 awards that will be presented on December 28 during the MLA’s annual convention, held this year in Washington, DC. The members of the 2005 selection committee were Vitaly Chernetsky (Harvard) and Mikhail Epstein (Emory), chair.

In their citation, the selection committee wrote, “Vladimir E. Alexandrov has written a work that is refreshingly original precisely because it does not insist on its originality… . Alexandrov teaches us how Tolstoy’s novel asks to be read: the literary text itself makes possible and necessary its multiple and even conflicting interpretations.”

The B. E. Bensinger Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures, Alexandrov received his doctorate in comparative literature from Princeton and previously taught at Harvard and Princeton. His publications include “Andrei Bely: The Major Symbolist Fiction” and “Nabokov’s Otherworld.” He also was editor of “The Garland Companion to Vladimir Nabokov” and has authored numerous journal articles and book chapters. He was associate editor of the Russian Review (1982–86) and has served on the editorial board of Nabokov Studies and Yale Russian and East European Publications. He currently serves on the Advisory Council of the Slavic and East European Journal. Alexandrov is the recipient of fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The MLA, the largest and one of the oldest American learned societies in the humanities, was established in 1883 to advance literary and linguistic studies. Its 30,000 members come from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as from Canada, Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa.

The Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Studies in Slavic Languages and

Literatures was presented for the first time in 1995 to Robert Maguire, of Columbia University, and in 1997 to Alexander M. Schenker, of Yale. Subsequent winners were Harriet Murav, UC, Davis; Gabrielle Safran, Stanford; and Irina Sirotkina, the Russian Academy of Sciences.

The Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Endowment Fund was established by Aldo Scaglione in 1987. The fund honors the memory of his wife, Jeanne Daman Scaglione, whose heroic efforts to prevent the deportation of Jews from Belgium during the German occupation are commemorated in the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. Scaglione is the Erich Maria Remarque Professor of Literature at New York University and a widely published author. A native of Turin, Italy, he has taught at the universities of Toulouse, Chicago, California, Berkeley and North Carolina, Chapel Hill. In 1975 he was named Cavaliere dell’Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana.

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Dorie Baker: dorie.baker@yale.edu, 203-432-1345