Carl R. Proffer, former U-M professor of Russian literature and co-founder of Ardis Publishers, honored at upcoming symposium


By Rachel Brichta
Sep 04, 2013 Bookmark and Share

The University of Michigan’s Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies (CREES) and Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies (WCED) are pleased to host a symposium, “Ann Arbor and Ardis Publishers in Russian Literature: A Tribute to Carl R. Proffer,” on September 20-21. The symposium will honor U-M Professor Carl R. Proffer (1938-84), an outstanding scholar recognized for his books on Gogol and Nabokov. Ardis co-founder Ellendea Proffer Teasley, Washington Post senior correspondent Robert Kaiser, and renowned specialists on Russia will gather to reflect on the extraordinary role Prof. Proffer played as a scholar and publisher in promoting Russian literature in the West and fostering Russian-American relations.

In his brief 46 years Carl Proffer not only contributed tremendously to the field of Russian literature as an author, translator, editor, and publisher, but also put Ann Arbor on the map of Russian literature in perpetuity. Together with his wife Ellendea, Carl launched Ardis Publishers (1971-2002) and the Russian Literature Triquarterly (1971-91), establishing Ann Arbor as home to the foremost Western publisher of Russian and Soviet literature of its day. Symposium presenters will explore Ardis Publishers’ consequential role as a citadel of Russian literature and U-M’s rich legacy as a center for the study of dissent in the Soviet Union and as a refuge for Soviet writers and artists (including Nobel Laureate Joseph Brodsky, poet-in-residence at U-M from 1972-81).

“At the time of Proffer’s death, Joseph Brodsky remembered him as the man who single-handedly reshaped the literary process in the Soviet Union and irreversibly changed how the English-speaking world perceives Russian literature,” said Olga Maiorova, CREES director and associate professor of Slavic languages and literatures. “As U-M prepares to celebrate the bicentennial of its founding in 1817, it is fitting to honor Carl Proffer and Ardis Publishers and to reflect on how their unique legacy can help us continue to strengthen Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies at U-M and bring the reality of the region to our teaching and research.”

SCHEDULE: (live streaming available at link below)

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2:00 – 5:00 PM
Workshop: Ardis Publishers and the Russian Literary Canon
Koessler Room, Michigan League

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 1:00 – 5:30 PM
Ann Arbor on the Map of Russian Literature: A Tribute to Carl R. Proffer
Rackham Amphitheatre, Rackham Building


SPONSORS: Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies; Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures; Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies; College of Literature, Science, and the Arts; Department of Comparative Literature; Department of English; Department of History; Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies; Institute for the Humanities; International Institute; Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies; Office of the Vice President for Research; University Library’s Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Collection and Special Collections Library; Zell Visiting Writers Series

WEB LINK: www.ii.umich.edu/crees/events/specialevents/proffertribute

The Ronald and Eileen Weiser Center for Europe and Eurasia (WCEE) supports faculty and student research, teaching, collaboration, and public engagement in studying the institutions, cultures, and histories of these regions. WCEE is housed in the University of Michigan International Institute with the Center for European Studies (CES); the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies (CREES); and the Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies (WCED). Named in honor of Ronald and Eileen Weiser and inspired by their time in Slovakia during Ambassador Weiser’s service as U.S. ambassador from 2001-04, WCEE began operations in September 2008. For more information, visit www.ii.umich.edu/wcee.

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