University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: Summer Research Laboratory


"Prostranstvo knigi":

The Space of the Book in the Imperial Russian Social Imagination

Sponsored by UIUC's Summer Research Lab Discussion Group on Reading Culture in Nineteenth-Century Russia

2006 Program: Friday June 16

This year's seminar springs from our annual discussion group on nineteenth-century reading culture.
For details, see the 2004 and 2005 programs.


Seminar Goals • Steering Committee • Call for Papers

Seminar Goals: The seminar will focus on the late eighteenth century and nineteenth century--a period of Russian history that was a time of momentous political, social, and economic changes. Through various sessions, seminar participants will present on and discuss aspects of the "reading (and publishing) revolution" that moved through different levels of society in eighteenth-century and nineteenth-century Russia. As for the 2006 Fisher Forum (see below), members of the steering committee include:

Steering Committee:
Mikhail Afanas’ev (Director, Historical Library, Moscow)
David J. Birnbaum (Professor & Chair, Dept. of Slavic Langs. & Lits., U. Pittsburgh)
Melissa Frazier (Associate Professor, Russian, Sarah Lawrence College)
John Randolph (Assistant Professor, History, UIUC)
Miranda Remnek (Head, Slavic & East European Library, UIUC) [Chair]
Juergen Warmbrunn (Director, Herder Inst. Library, Marburg)
Janet Zmroczek (Director of European Collections, British Library, London)

Call for Papers: Seminar papers for 2006 have been invited on the following or related themes:
(1) reading communities: estates (nobility, townspeople, merchants); spheres (bureaucracy, professions), religious communities (Old Believers, clergy, etc); circles;
(2) publishing issues: print technologies; larger editions; lower prices;
(3) access to print culture, media control: personal and circulating libraries, clubs, coffee-houses, masonic lodges; the marketplace, commercialism; censorship;
(4) geographic issues: transportation, distribution, the capitals versus the provinces, etc.

The full Seminar program is now available, but it may still be possible to add a couple of papers. If interested, send paper title, brief abstract (100 words), and short CV to the steering committee c/o Miranda Remnek, Slavic Library (



LOCATION: Illini Union, Room 406
1401 W. Green Street
(location on campus map)


Chair: Kevin Kain (Texas A&M Univ.-Texarkana)

1. Colum Leckey (Bridgewater College)

"Eighteenth-century Russian Writers Imagine Their Audience"

2. Lina Bernstein (Franklin & Marshall College)

"Popular Enlightenment Literature for Eighteenth-century Russian Merchants"

3. Leonid Sitnikov (Novosibirsk)

"Hand-written and Printed Crossed Sets: Books and Manuscripts in the Process of Development of the East Boundaries of the Russian Empire (Late Eighteenth-Early Nineteenth Centuries)"






Chair: George Gutsche (Univ. of Arizona)

1. Igor Pil'shchikov (Moscow State Univ.) (Invited speaker)

"The Structure of Audience and Circle Poetics in Baratynsky"

2. Melissa Frazier (Sarah Lawrence College)

"Libraries for Reading, the Literary Marketplace and The Library for Reading"

3. Diana Greene (NYU)

"The Menagerie or the Visitor’s Pass?: Aleksandra Zrazhevskaia and Praskov’ia Bakunina on Women Writers and the Press"

12.15-1.45 LUNCH ON YOUR OWN



Chair: Stephen Lovell (King's College, London)

1. Sabina Aneva (Bulgarian Academy of Sciences Library)

"Late Nineteenth-century Russian Publications in Libraries of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences"

2. Harry Leich (Library of Congress)

"'The Czar's Library:' Books from Russian Imperial Palaces at the Library of Congress"

Discussant: Mollie Cavender (Ohio State Univ.)






Chair: Anne Lounsbery (NYU)

1. Leonid Borodkin (Faculty of History, MGU) (Invited speaker)

"Reading Culture of Russian Industrial Workers in the Late Nineteenth Century Based on Public Library Records" (tentative title).

2. Ben Eklof (Indiana Univ.)

"The Creation and Spread of Zemstvo and Church School Libraries in Late Imperial Russia"

3. Mikhail Afanas'ev (Historical Library, Moscow) (Invited speaker)

"'Neblagodarnye' chitateli i 'plokhie' bibliotekari: Konflikty mezhdu chitaiushchei publikoi i bibliotekoi v dorevoliutsionnuiu epokhu"
("'Ungrateful' readers and 'bad' librarians: Conflicts between the reading public and libraries in the Imperial epoch").




Levis Faculty Center
919 W. Illinois Street
3 blocks east of Illini Union
(location on campus map)



Welcome and Introduction:

Paula Kaufman (University Librarian, UIUC)

Marianna Tax Choldin (Mortenson Distinguished Professor Emerita, UIUC)

"Closing and Opening and Closing and Opening: Reflections on the Russian Media"


Candlelight Buffet Supper (Levis, Second Floor)

Turkish and Central Asian music provided by Ulugbek Nurmukhamedov from the Balkanalia Ensemble (Director: Donna Buchanan)



The seminar will take place in conjunction with a larger international conference on:

Book Arts, Culture and Media in Russia, Eastern Europe and Eurasia:

From Print to Digital

2006 Fisher Forum

June 17-18, 2006

For details, see

BY design we apply the expression prostranstvo knigi, or the "space of the book," in our seminar title to point up the expansive nature of book production and reception in imperial Russia. In A History of Russia, Nicholas V. Riasanovsky notes that while 600 books were published during the reign of Peter the Great (1689 to 1725), thousands more were produced in the decades following his demise, particularly in the period of Catherine II's rule (1762-1801)--and, of course, under her successors...