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Luke Parker


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20s Soviet literature
Fin de siècle
Russian formalism
transnational studies
comparative studies
First World War
Interwar Europe

Luke Parker

Ph.D. Candidate in Slavic Literatures and Languages

Humanities + Design Research Fellow



Une Saison en Europe: Metropolis and Parody in the Russian First Wave Emigration

In my dissertation, entitled “Une Saison en Europe: Metropolis and Parody in the First Wave Russian Emigration (1920-1940),” I argue for the importance of the metropolis, as historical imaginary and street-level experience, to the parodic representation of the Russian émigré experience in the works of Nabokov and some of his contemporaries. I approach their émigré fiction and poetry as the product of a confrontation between the westernized Russian culture of a liberal upper-class upbringing and the intellectual, mass cultural, and urban context of Paris and Berlin – two metropolises profoundly marked, no less than the émigrés themselves, by the First World War.

Using the contemporary theories of Iurii Tynianov and Viktor Shklovskii on parody and literary evolution, I demonstrate the paradox that the affirmative potential of Nabokov's works, as perceived by the émigré readership, was a function of their ironic and highly allusive character. Throughout the dissertation, I engage with Nabokov's philosophical affinities with German-language Kulturkritik, chiefly in the work of Walter Benjamin, Siegfried Kracauer, and Sigmund Freud. In an experimental final chapter, I employ the tools of digital humanities, developed during my tenure as “Humanities + Design” Research Fellow, to trace the shift of Nabokov’s literary output from Berlin to Paris during the 1930s, mapping his integration over time into the literary center of the Russian emigration. 

Conference papers:

“Paris, From Afar: Mapping the Network of Vladimir Nabokov’s Turn to Literary Paris, 1930 – 40”
ACLA (American Comparative Literature Association) Annual Meeting 
New York University, March 20 - 23, 2014

"Nabokov in Weimar: Culture Criticism and Nabokov's Early Russian Novels"
AATSEEL (American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages) Annual Conference
Chicago, January 9-12 2014

"Emigration, Backwardness, and the Search for a New Present: Russian and American Writers in Interwar Europe"
ACLA (American Comparative Literature Association) Annual Meeting 
Brown University, March 29 - April 1 2012

"At the Front: War and Avant-Garde in British and Russian Post-WWI Poetry"
Stanford Graduate Conference in Comparative Literature
Agency and its Limits: Action, Paralysis, Lethargy, Arrest
Stanford University, April 15-16 2011

"The Unconscious Text: Pale Fire via Freud, pace Nabokov,
2010 Stanford Graduate Program in Humanities Symposium
Order, Disruption, and Representation of Legitimacy
Stanford University, May 14 2010

"An Analysis of Pale Fire as Verse Text"
2010 California Slavic Colloquium
New Takes on Old Texts
University of Southern California, April 17 2010


Guest Lecturer, SLAVIC 156, Nabokov in the Transnational Context, Fall 2013-14

Teaching Assistant, SLAVGEN 148, Dissent and Disenchantment: Russian Literature and Culture Since the Death of Stalin, Spring 2011-12

Teaching Assistant, SLAVGEN 190, Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina and the Social Thought of Its Time, Winter 2011-12

Instructor, SLAVLANG 1/2/3, First Year Russian, Fall/Winter/Spring 2010-11


Russian (Fluent)
French (Fluent)
German (Reading, Intermediate Speaking)
Polish (Reading)


Stanford University (Sept 2008 – Expected June 2014)
PhD. Slavic Languages and Literatures.

University of Oxford, Christ Church College (Sept 2004 - June 2008)
B.A. Modern Languages (French & Russian).

State Academy of Theater Arts, Saint-Petersburg, Russia (Sept 2006 - June 2007)
Completed first year of professional Russian-language acting program.