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Languages, Cultures and Visual Studies

Photo of Professor Katharine Hodgson

Professor Katharine Hodgson

Professor in Russian


01392 724309


My main research area is poetry written in Russian during the twentieth century, a time which was marked by significant upheavals including revolution, civil war, emigration, Soviet censorship and state terror. I was Principal Investigator on an AHRC-funded project exploring changing attitudes towards the cultural legacy of the USSR since 1991. which led to two major publications: a  2020 book written with my colleague at Edinburgh Dr Alexandra Smith on poetic canons, cultural memory, and Russian national identity, and an edited volume,Twentieth-Century Russian Poetry: Reinventing the Canon (2017). I am currently looking at how Russophone poets of the twentieth century signalled their affinities with other poets in their poetic texts through features such as dedications, quotation, lyric apostrophe. I have also explored topics including poetry and translation; forthcoming publications include chapters on Evgenii Evtushenko, and on Joseph Brodsky.

I offer undergraduate modules in Russian studies with a focus on literary topics such as the representation of animals in Russian writing, though my first-year module Russia: Empire and Identity is more focused on the history of Russia's development as an empire. I also teach Russian language at all levels, including for the MA in Translation.

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Current Research:

Twentieth-century Russian Poetry: how poets position themselves in relation to canon & tradition in their own poetic texts

While my initial focus of research was on Russian poetry of the Soviet period, particularly poetry of the Stalin era, I have also explored the ways in which the 20th-century poetry canon has been changing in Russia between 1991 and the early years of the 21st century, in connection with attempts to define and express post-Soviet Russian national identity. I am now exploring the ways in which 20th-century Russophone poets have mapped out their own networks of affinity with other poets (contemporaries, predecessors, poets inside or outside Russia) e.g. by dedicating poems to them or alluding to their poetry. This will contribute to my work on reassessing the perception of 20th-century poetry written in Russian as a tradition fractured by revolution and the state's attempts to control culture. By looking for poets' own indications of where they belong in a poetic tradition, I aim to discover how far they understand themselves as part of an autonomous community of poets which extends beyond the borders of a particular time, place, or political system, what this community looks like to poets writing at different times and in different circumstances, who they felt connected to, and what kind of a connection this was.

The Twentieth-century Russian Poetic Canon

A collection of essays on the evolving canon, Twentieth-Century Russian Poetry: Reinventing the Canon, appeared in 2017, and a book written together with Alexandra Smith on the changing canon and Russian national identity, was published in 2020. These were developed through a collaborative project funded by the AHRC, 'Reconfiguring the Canon of Twentieth-Century Russian Poetry, 1991-2008', which I led between 2010 and 2013. A chapter on what Evgenii Evtushenko and his poetry means to readers - and critics - of different generations in recent years will appear in a forthcoming edited volume Imagining Collective Selves in Turn-of-the-Millennium Russia: Literary Consumption, Memory and Identity (1980–2020).

Ol′ga Berggol′ts (1910-75)

My second book focused on a poet best known for her poetry on the wartime Siege of Leningrad, and therefore widely thought of as an ‘official' Soviet poet. In the first extended English-language study of the poet I explore Berggol′ts's artistic response to the complexities of her situation, which puts in question the categories of ‘official' and ‘dissident' writer often used in discussions of Soviet-era literature. More recent publications on Berggol'ts include a chapter on Berggol'ts's speech at the 1954 Congress of the Soviet Writers' Union, a landmark in Thaw-era culture, and a chapter on perceptions of time and space in her writing on the Siege, which appeared in a volume about Siege narratives.

Russian War Poetry

The work on Berggol'ts grew from my doctoral dissertation, which focussed on the poetry that was written in Russian in the USSR during the war years 1941-45, and on the ways it both adhered to and challenged the norms of socialist realism. I contributed a chapter on Russian poetry of World War One to a Cambridge University Press volume of essays about the poetry that emerged from the 1914-18 conflict, and a chapter on Joseph Brodsky as a war poet will appear later in 2024.

Comparative Literature

I have researched the translation and reception of poetry by Rudyard Kipling in pre-war Soviet Russia, and by Heinrich Heine in the mid-nineteenth century, and have explored later translations of Heine by Iurii Tynianov. My most recent piece of research in this area examines Soviet poet Boris Slutskii's translations into Russian of poetry and songs by Bertolt Brecht. 

Research collaborations

The AHRC-funded project 'Reconfiguring the Canon of Twentieth-Century Russian Poetry, 1991-2008' enabled me to collaborate with a number of colleagues. Dr Alexandra Smith of the University of Edinburgh was Co-investigator on the project; together we are completng a book on the Russian poetry canon and national identity. Dr Joanne Shelton was the project Associate Research Fellow, based at Exeter, who, among other things, developed the project database and undertook research trips to Moscow and St Petersburg. Dr Smith, Dr Shelton and I edited a collection of essays developed by a team of scholars in a series of workshops supported by the project, including colleagues in the UK, the USA, and Russia. A book on the changing canon and Russian national identity, co-authored with Dr Smith, was published in 2020.

In 2018 I took part in a workshop at University College London, led by Professor Maria Rubins, at which an international group of scholars discussed Russian literature of the diaspora; this led to the publication of an edited volume of essays in 2021. Other international collaborations in which I have taken part include a workshop on Russian culture in the age of globalisation at the University of Leeds, and a conference on narratives of the Leningrad Siege, at Ludwig Maximilians University, Munich. I contributed to edited volumes arising from these two events, and to a volume on the 1954 Second Congress of Soviet writers, edited by Dr Valerii Viugin of the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Russian Literature.

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I welcome research proposals in any area related to my research specialism, and would be particularly interested in proposed projects in the field of twentieth-century Russophone poetry, Russian literary canon formation, the culture of the Soviet period, Russian literature/culture and war.

I am currently supervising two doctoral research projects; one on Russian translation thinking in the Soviet Union during and after the post-Stalin Thaw, and another on the poetry and memoirs of Ida Nappelbaum, whose career spanned the years between the Silver Age of the early twentieth century, and the late-Soviet period of glasnost' and perestroika under Mikhail Gorbachev.

Research students

Postgraduate research students

Current: Suzanne Eade Roberts, Ph.D (supervised jointly with colleagues at Bristol) on Soviet translation theory.

Dave Weller, Ph.D, 'The Poetry of Ida Nappelbaum), co-supervised with Dr Emily Lygo.

Elena Goodwin, Ph.D, 2017, 'The literary representation of Englishness in translated children's literature in Russia: a case study of classics of English children's fiction' (AHRC funded studentship); co-supervised with Dr Emily Lygo.

Natalia Karakulina, Ph.D, 2016, 'The position in the post-Soviet canon of the poet Vladimir Maiakovskii' (AHRC funded as part of the project 'Reconfiguring the Canon of Twentieth-Century Russian Poetry, 1991-2008); first supervisor.

Adam Coker, Ph.D, 2015, 'The historical origins of permanent cultural transfer from France to Russia'; second supervisor.

Rebecca Knight, Ph.D, 2013,  'A comparative study of representations of childhood in the USSR and GDR portrayed in Russian and German fiction and autobiography published since 1990/1', (Exeter University Studentship); first supervisor.

Ursula Stohler, Ph.D, 2003, 'Russian women writers of the 1800-1820s and the response to sentimentalist literary conventions of nature, the feminine and writing: Mariia Pospelova, Mariia Bolotnikova and Anna Naumova (Exeter University Graduate Teaching Assistantship & ORS funding); co-supervisor.

Douglas Martin, Ph.D, 2003, 'Boris Pilnyak: the Development and Stifling of Russian Modernism'.

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Copyright Notice: Any articles made available for download are for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the copyright holder.

| 2022 | 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2009 | 2006 | 2005 | 2003 | 2002 | 2000 | 1998 | 1996 | 1994 | 1993 |


  • Hodgson K. (2022) Joseph Brodsky and Collaborative Self-Translation by Natasha Rulyova (review), Modern Language Review, volume 117, no. 3, pages 527-528, DOI:10.1353/mlr.2022.0112.
  • Hodgson K. (2022) Joseph Brodsky and Collaborative Self-Translation, MODERN LANGUAGE REVIEW, volume 117, pages 527-528. [PDF]
  • Hodgson K. (2022) Russia, A History of World War One Poetry, Cambridge University Press, 200-210.



  • Hodgson K. (2020) Acts of Logos in Pushkin and Gogol: Petersburg Texts and Subtexts, MODERN LANGUAGE REVIEW, volume 115, pages 217-218, DOI:10.5699/modelangrevi.115.1.0217. [PDF]
  • Hodgson K. (2020) The canon of war poetry and commemoration, 1995-2010, Poetic Canons, Cultural Memory and Russian National Identity after 1991, 103-155.
  • Hodgson K. (2020) The appeal of empire and the attempt to propose a new nationalist canon, Poetic Canons, Cultural Memory and Russian National Identity after 1991, 51-102.
  • Smith A, Hodgson K. (2020) Conclusion: Russian national identity between triumphant and traumatic memory, Poetic Canons, Cultural Memory and Russian National Identity after 1991, 457-466.
  • Smith A, Hodgson K. (2020) Introduction: The post-soviet poetic canon/s, cultural memory and Russian identity.
  • Hodgson K. (2020) Village poetry: Reinventing a lost world, Poetic Canons, Cultural Memory and Russian National Identity after 1991, 157-226.





  • Hodgson K. (2016) Breaking through the Barriers of Time in a Space under Siege: Olga Bergholz, NOVOE LITERATURNOE OBOZRENIE, no. 137, pages 182-193. [PDF]
  • Hodgson K. (2016) Breaking through the barriers of time and space during the Siege: Olga Bergholz (translated from English Yuliya Kostyuk ed Kirill Korchagin...), Novoe Literaturnoe Obozrenie/ New Literary Observer, volume 137, no. 1.


  • Hodgson KM. (2015) Alexandra Berlina, Brodsky Translating Brodsky: Poetry in Self-Translation (New York: Bloomsbury, 2014), Slavic Review: American quarterly of Russian, Eurasian and East European studies, volume 74, no. 3, pages 674-675.
  • Hodgson KM. (2015) Comparing Representations of War in the Poetry of Stalin’s Russia and Hitler’s Germany in 1930-1945 [published in Chinese translation], Russkaia literatura i iskusstvo, no. 2015, no. 1, pages 34-41.


  • Hodgson K. (2014) Chapaev and His Comrades: War and the Russian Literary Hero Across the Twentieth Century, SLAVONIC AND EAST EUROPEAN REVIEW, volume 92, no. 2, pages 323-325. [PDF]
  • Hodgson K. (2014) I SAW IT Ilya Selvinsky and the legacy of bearing witness to the Shoah, TLS-THE TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT, no. 5794, pages 25-25. [PDF]
  • Hodgson K. (2014) Mandelstam, Blok, and the Boundaries of Mythopoetic Symbolism, SLAVONIC AND EAST EUROPEAN REVIEW, volume 92, no. 3, pages 522-523, DOI:10.5699/slaveasteurorev2.92.3.0522. [PDF]
  • Hodgson KM. (2014) Stuart Goldberg, Mandelstam, Blok, and the Boundaries of Mythopoetic Symbolism (The Ohio State University Press, Columbus, 2011), Slavonic and East European Review, volume 92, no. no. 3, pages 522-523.
  • Hodgson KM. (2014) Angela Brintlinger, Chapaev and His Comrades: War and the Russian Literary Hero across the Twentieth Century (Boston: Academic Studies Press, 2012), Slavonic and East European Review, no. April 2014, pages 323-325.
  • Hodgson KM. (2014) Maxim D. Shrayer, I saw it: Ilya Selvinsky and the Legacy of Bearing Witness to the Shoah (Boston: Academic Studies Press, 2013), Times Literary Supplement, no. 18 April 2014, pages 25-25.
  • Hodgson KM. (2014) 'Ravnye vozmozhnosti v nauke? [contribution to roundtable on equal opportunities and academic career development], Antropologicheskii forum, no. no. 22, 2014, pages 66-68.


  • Hodgson KM. (2013) Evgeny Dobrenko and Galin Tihanov (eds), A History of Russian Literary Theory and Criticism: The Soviet Age and Beyond (Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press. 2011), The Journal of European Studies, no. no. 1, 2013, pages 22-23.
  • Hodgson KM. (2013) Marat Grinberg, ‘I am to be read not from left to right, but in Jewish: from right to left’: the Poetics of Boris Slutsky (Academic Studies Press, 2011), Journal of Modern Jewish Studies, no. September 2013.
  • Hodgson KM. (2013) Telling tales: genre and narrative in post-Soviet poetry, Slavonica, volume 19, no. 1, pages 36-56, DOI:10.1179/1361742713Z.00000000014.
  • Hodgson KM. (2013) Heine and genre: Iurii Tynianov's translations of Heine's poetry, The Art of Accommodation: Literary Translation in Russia, Peter Lang, 117-140.



  • Hodgson KM. (2011) Kirill Postoutenko, Soviet Culture: Codes and Messages, Die Welt der Slaven, 41 (München – Berlin: Verlag Otto Sagner, 2010), Canadian Slavonic Papers: an interdisciplinary journal devoted to Central and Eastern Europe, volume 54, no. nos 2,3,4 (2011), pages 624-624.
  • Hodgson KM. (2011) Anna Krylova, Soviet Women in Combat: a History of Violence on the Eastern Front (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), Slavonica, volume 17, no. no. 2, 2011.
  • Hodgson KM. (2011) Pamiat' v tvorchestve Ol'gi Berggol'ts, 'Tak khochetsia mir obniat': O. F. Berggol'ts. Izdaniia i publikatsii. K 100-letiiu so dnia rozhdeniia, Pushkinskii dom.
  • Hodgson KM. (2011) A Journey in Five Postcards: Russian Poetry from the Twentieth Century, Rossica, International Review of Russian Culture, no. 20.


  • Hodgson KM. (2009) War Writing in the USSR, The Cambridge Companion to the Literature of the Second World War, Cambridge University Press, 111-122.


  • Hodgson K. (2006) ‘Russia is reading us once more’: The rehabilitation of poetry, 1953–64, The Dilemmas of De-Stalinization: Negotiating Cultural and Social Change in the Khrushchev Era, 231-249, DOI:10.4324/9780203536957-24.
  • Hodgson KM. (2006) 'Russia is reading us once more': the rehabilitation of poetry, 1953-64, The Dilemmas of De-Stalinisation: Negotiating Cultural and Social Change, Routledge, 231-249.


  • Hodgson K. (2005) Heine's Russian doppelganger: Nineteenth-century translations of his poetry, MOD LANG REV, volume 100, pages 1054-1072.
  • Hodgson KM. (2005) Ol´ga Berggol´ts after the War: a Pre-Emptive Response to Zhdanov, Slavonic and East European Review, volume 83, no. 4, pages 617-637.


  • Hodgson KM. (2003) Voicing the Soviet Experience: the Poetry of Ol´ga Berggol´ts, British Academy.


  • Hodgson KM. (2002) Women and Gender in Post-Symbolist Poetry and the Stalin Era, A History of Russian Women's Writing, Cambridge University Press, 207-224.
  • Hodgson KM. (2002) Russian women's poetry of the 1930s, Enemies of the People: the Destruction of the Arts in the Soviet Union, Northwestern University Press, 5-30.
  • Hodgson KM. (2002) To reveal our hearts: Jewish women writers in tsarist Russia, SLAVONIC AND EAST EUROPEAN REVIEW, volume 80, no. 3, pages 509-510. [PDF]


  • Hodgson KM. (2000) Exile in 'Danish-Siberia': the Soviet Union in the Svendborg Poems, Brecht's Poetry of Political Exile, Cambridge University Press, 66-85.


  • Hodgson KM. (1998) Under an Unwomanly Star: War in the Writing of Ol'ga Berggol'ts, Women and Russian Culture: Projections and Self-Perceptions, Berghahn, 134-147.
  • Hodgson KM. (1998) The poetry of Rudyard Kipling in Soviet Russia, Modern Language Review, volume 93, no. 4, pages 1058-1071.


  • Hodgson KM. (1996) Written with the Bayonet: Soviet Russian Poetry of World War Two, Liverpool University Press.
  • Hodgson KM. (1996) Kitezh and the Commune: Recurrent Themes in the Work of Ol'ga Berggol'ts, The Slavonic and East European Review, volume 74, no. 1, pages 1-18.


  • Hodgson KM. (1994) Myth-making in Russian war poetry, The Violent Muse: Violence and the Artistic Imagination in Europe, 1910-1939, Manchester University Press, 65-76.


  • Hodgson KM. (1993) The other veterans: Soviet women's poetry of World War 2, World War Two and the Soviet People, Macmillan, 77-97.

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External impact and engagement

Contribution to discipline

I am currently President of the British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies (BASEES), the UK national learned society for the study of Russia, Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, which brings together specialist researchers in the social sciences, the arts, and the humanities.

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Developing students' interest in the culture, history, and language of Russia is at the centre of my approach to teaching. Teaching the language not only gives me the opportunity to help students prepare for their encounters with contemporary Russia, but to prepare them to encounter Russian literary texts, where the language is pushed to its limits, and which reflect and shape the preoccuptions of the Russian mental universe.

Research has informed, and continues to inform my teaching of Russian studies modules. A first-year historical module on the development of Russian national identity and the role of imperial expansion in creating such an identity grew out of current research on ways in which post-Soviet concerns over Russian identity have been expressed in approaches to twentieth-century poetry, especially poetry which can be identified as playing a significant role in supporting national identity. Other modules I teach focus on literary subjects, e.g. Pushkin's novel in verse, Evgenii Onegin; a module on animals in Russian writing looks at how animals have been represented in a variety of texts, including traditional folktales, stories by classic authors, and poetry.

Modules taught

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