Davis Center: Russian Jews in Italy: 1905-1922


Wednesday, March 14, 2018, 4:15pm to 6:00pm


CGIS South, S020, 1730 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA
Seminar on Russian and Eurasian Jewry

This talk focuses on the presence and the role of Jewish émigrés from Russia in Italy in 1905-1922. During this period many Jewish-Russian intellectuals and revolutionaries found both a shelter and a fertile ground for their activities in Italy—above all in Rome, Naples, Florence, Milan and on the Ligurian coast. Several Jewish representatives of the socialist movement (for instance, Mark Slonim) as well as Zionism (Vl. Zhabotinsky first and foremost) were able to live and work in Italy. Among Russian exiles there were many Jewish students registered at Italian universities, and a number of painters and writers. One of them, Osip Blinderman (Félyne), became a well-known Italian novelist and playwright. Following the 1917 Revolution many Russian Jews collaborated with the Italian Socialist Party, sometimes working directly with the first Soviet mission in Italy. There were also connections between Russian Jewish expatriates and members of the rising Fascist movement. Russian Jews made a fascinating contribution to the political life of Italy, to its culture, literature and the arts during what was a turbulent period of the country’s history. 

Stefano Garzonio is Professor of Slavic Studies (Russian language and literature) at Pisa University. In 1999-2009 he was the President of the Italian Association of Slavists (AIS). He presently serves as Vice President of the Executive Committee of the International Council for Central and East European Studies. Garzonio is author of many books, articles and other publications about the theory and history of Russian verse, Russian literature of the 18th century, poetry of the Silver Age and the history of Russian emigration in the 20th century. He is the editor of the comprehensive anthology Poesia Russa (2004) and the author of a forthcoming collection of his own verse originally written in Russian. Stefano Garzonio translated and annotated works by Lermontov, Turgenev, Dostoevsky, Mayakovsky, Georgy Ivanov and other Russian authors.

Stanley Rabinowitz is Henry Steele Commager Professor at Amherst College, where he founded the Amherst Center for Russian Culture. A long-time Associate of the Davis Center, an expert on twentieth-century Russian literature and culture and a literary translator, Rabinowitz is the author of numerous publications, including the books Sologub's Literary Children: From Symbol to MythThe Noise of Change: Russian Literature and the Critics, 1891-1917Epic and the Russian Novel From Gogol to Pasternak (with Frederick T. Griffiths). Rabinowitz collected, edited and translated a volume of Akim Volynsky’s selected writings on dance, Ballet's Magic Kingdom.


Stefano Garzonio, Professor of Slavic Studies, Pisa University
Respondent: Stanley Rabinowitz, Henry Steele Commager Professor, Amherst College
Moderator: Maxim D. Shrayer, Professor of Russian, English, and Jewish Studies, Boston College; Director, Project on Russian and Eurasian Jewry; Center Associate, Davis Center

Cosponsored by the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies and the Center for Jewish Studies at Harvard University. The Project on Russian and Eurasian Jewry has been made possible with the generous support of Genesis Philanthropy Group. Additional support for this event provided by the Yanoff-Taylor Lecture and Publication Fund .

For more information, please call 617-495-4037.