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1.5: Acknowledgements

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    In 2003, as a postdoctoral fellow at UCLA, I audited a third-year Russian language class taught by Susan Kresin. The textbook used in this course was Olga Kagan and Mara Kashper’s Lidiya Chukovskaya’s Sofia Petrovna. This was my first exposure to teaching language through literature, the first exposure to the methodology developed by my postdoctoral mentor Olga Kagan and her colleagues. Sofia Petrovna and other books by Olga had a profound and long-lasting effect on how I teach content-based courses today. Thus, the format of the exercises presented in this book echoes the assignments appearing in the works of Olga and her coauthors: these exercises are inspired by Cinema for Russian Conversation (e.g., “polyphony” and multi-level assignments), Sofia Petrovna (e.g., paraphrase and vocabulary assignments), Russian without Borders 1 and 2 (e.g., stylistics assignments), and Russian: From Intermediate to Advanced (e.g., “rhetorical frames” assignments). I would like to dedicate this book to Olga Kagan.

    I am also tremendously grateful to Sandra Freels. Not only does this book use some of the techniques I learned from her (e.g., creating visual images from verbal descriptions, as in The Golden Age: Readings in Russian Literature of the Nineteenth Century; isolating similar-sounding grammatical structures and explaining them from an English speaker’s perspective, as in her Russian in Use). Sandra created the Russian Flagship program at Portland State University, which made it possible for materials of this difficulty level to be taught.

    I owe many thanks to my colleague William Comer. His profound expertise both in language pedagogy and literature, his wisdom and advice, were crucial in helping me conceptualize the linguistic goals of a textbook on the 1920s and selecting the stylistic features central to the period. I am grateful to Bill and my colleague Anya Alsufieva for not letting me forget about language accuracy in a literature class, and for showing me, in their own outstanding work, how grammar can be incorporated into literary studies.

    I am indebted to Anna Kudyma for generously sharing her innovative thoughts on language teaching for many years; in particular, one of the exercises in this textbook was based on her idea of a “one-minute speech.”

    Many thanks to Karen Evans-Romaine, Luba Golburt, and Hanna Shipman for reviewing the manuscript and offering insightful suggestions on every aspect of the book, from the content of exercises to the scope of footnotes. Karen and Luba’s appraisal of the exercises from the dual standpoint of literary scholarship and language pedagogy was invaluable. Thanks also to my supportive colleagues Daria Aleeva, Anna Alsufieva, William Comer, Cassio de Oliveira, Martha Hickey, Galina Kogan, and Sergei Sychov for their useful feedback on the exercises, and to Ross, Callum, and Crumpet Weinstein for helping me understand the language of animals so crucial for interpreting Bulgakov’s “Heart of a Dog.

    I am grateful to Cassio de Oliveira, Polina Barskova, and Evgeny Bershtein for help with selecting 1920s texts; to Larisa Naiditch, Olessya Kisselev, Asya Pereltsvaig, and the staff of for referring me to the relevant linguistic concepts and literature; to Carol Appolonio for her “Google image for language teaching” idea; and to the audiences at ASEEES 2018, AATSEEL 2019, and the 2019 Russian Summit for Dual Language Immersion Teachers at Portland State University in summer 2019.

    I am grateful to Vera Zoshchenko for permission to include the text of M. Zoshchenko’s “Bania”; to Vladimir Kozyrev of Media Expert and the heirs of Isaak Babel for permission to include Babel’s stories “Korol’” and “Moi pervyi gus’”; to Sergei Shilovsky for permission to publish the abridged text of Bulgakov’s “Sobach’e serdtse”; to Dmitry Tsvetkov of Agentstvo FTM, Ltd. and the heirs of Andrei Platonov for permission to include Platonov’s “Tretii syn”; to Ilya Krichevsky for permission to include two chapters of Il’f and Petrov’s Dvenadtsat’ stul’ev; to Dov-Ber Kerler for permission to reproduce a photograph from his personal archives, and to Michael Gorham for permission to reproduce an abridged excerpt from an article of his.

    Many thanks to all the students enrolled in the “Russian Literature of the 1920s” class in 2013, 2016, and 2019, whose responses to the exercises were instrumental in shaping this book: Liza Dunn, Todd Long, Alexei Melnik, Ashley Moe, Frankie Smith, Colton Hennick, Elizabeth Johnson, Kristi Lew, Roger Murry, Sebastian Richardson, David Shiryayev, Artur Sibgatullin, Phillip Turoff-Ortmeyer, Hannah Verbruggen, Asya Volkova, Jamie Cardenas, Ryan Donovan, Robert Jaffe, Robert Kao, Kristina Lockhart, Floyd Palmer, and Katie Ryder.

    I would also like to thank the PDXOpen publishing initiative for its support; Karen Bjork for her patience and guidance; Avram Brown and Penelope Burt for editorial assistance with English; and Sarah Beasley and Susan Bristow-Ford for their help with copyright matters.

    I am grateful to Cyrus Wraith Walker and Ilana Henley-Perstein for designing the book cover; to Irina Kuzmina, for spending countless hours on book design and finding just the right images to convey the period; to Sasha Razor, for brainstorming the cover design; and to all my friends who gave feedback on the cover art. The image on the cover – El Lissitsky’s “Announcer” – seems to illustrate the idea that language needs decoding as vividly as do the texts included in this volume.

    Finally, I would like to thank my parents Zhenya and Isaak for their tireless editorial assistance, and my son Joseph, for reminding me that projects have deadlines.

    1.5: Acknowledgements is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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