In an ongoing trek eastward, I was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, grew up in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, went to college in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and am currently making my way in Moscow, Russia.
My path to Russia began in middle school, when I found my father's dusty, abridged copy of The Brothers Karamazov, and fell in love with Russian literature, having no idea of the magnitude of Dostoevsky's original. In the spirit of the knight-errant Don Qixote (one of Dostoevsky's most beloved literary figures), I also studied Spanish language and literature throughout high school and college.
Following my sophomore year, and already confusing the words "si" and "da," "ya" and uzhe," I traveled to Salamanca, Spain where I lived for the summer. A second summer in Madrid in 2001 further peaked my interest in the Iberian peninsula.
Fascinated by the unlikely combination of Spanish and Russian, upon returning I declared a major in Comparative Literature. This decision, in turn, led me to take a yearlong leave of absence from Swarthmore to study in Voronezh, Russia on the Middlebury program. I spent 2002-2003 well-fed and content, living with a wonderful host family, and taking classes on the Filfak at Voronezh State University. Harvest days at the dacha, the colorful seaman's slang of my host father, and the feel of -22 degrees Celsius under wet snow and a strong wind were just a few of the memorable aspects of my first year in Russia.
During my final year at Swarthmore, I wrote a thesis on the practice of realism in the nineteenth century urban novel of Fyodor Dostoevsky a nd the Spanish author Benito Perez Galdos. I gradated with high honors in June 2004.
For my Fulbright funded year of research in Moscow, I have chosen to pursue another period of Russian literature, a time that was essential to the development of a different form of realism (namely, soviet socialist realism). While at MSU and RSUH, I will be investigating the role of the Spanish Civil War in Russian literary processes of the 1930s.