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School of Languages, Linguistics and Film

Dr Peter Budrin, PhD


Leverhulme Early Career Fellow

Room Number: ArtsOne 1.08
Twitter: @@peterbudrin


I am interested in the intellectual history of Soviet Russia and its literary institutions. By combining intellectual and institutional history, I locate and reconstruct a seminal moment of state-sponsored liberalization of Soviet literary and art criticism and demonstrate its impact on Soviet cultural institutions during the Great Terror of the 1930s. Starting from the late 1920s, literary and art criticism in the Soviet Union was dominated by ‘vulgar sociology’, a repressive form of Marxist aesthetics which discussed literature and art exclusively in terms of the socioeconomic origin and status of the respective authors. In the early 1930s, a group of intellectuals led by two prominent philosophers, Georg Lukács and Mikhail Lifshitz, was sanctioned by the state to launch a campaign countering this style of criticism. To reveal the contradictory implications of the struggle against ‘vulgar sociology’ for institutionalized intellectual autonomy, I reconstruct the hitherto insufficiently researched history of IFLI, the Institute of Philosophy, Literature, and History in Moscow (1931-1941), which became the central platform for this campaign.

My upcoming monograph, The Secret Order of Shandeans: Laurence Sterne and his Readers in Soviet Russia,  explores the translations and interpretations of the eighteenth-century British writer Laurence Sterne in Soviet Russia during the 1920s-30s. By providing a microhistory of reader responses to Sterne and introducing a range of previously unpublished archival materials (translations, illustrations, interpretations, and personal correspondence), it sheds light on the mechanisms of cultural transfer and on the place of translated literature in the wider Soviet canon. My research has appeared in leading peer-reviewed journals and collections. I have published in such venues as The Slavic and East European JournalNovoe Literaturnoe Obozrenie, and The Shandean. In 2021, I authored a chapter for the essay collection dedicated to Laurence Sterne's A Sentimental Journey. Also, in 2021, I published an unknown 1934 translation of Sterne’s Tristram Shandy by the prominent Russian philosopher Gustav Shpet, with my introduction and notes. I have also co-edited a cluster on ‘Early Soviet Translations of English Literature’ for The Slavic and East European Journal, to appear in 2022.

I obtained my doctorate in Modern Languages from the University of Oxford in 2021.  Prior to joining Queen Mary, I was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University.





The Secret Order of Shandeans: Laurence Sterne and his Readers in Soviet Russia. Under review. 

Edited Volumes/Journal Special Issues 

‘Early Soviet Translation of British Literature’, cluster issue of The Slavic and East European Journal, co-ed. with Emily Finer and Julie Hansen, The Slavic and East European Journal, 66, 1 (2022). 

Book Chapters 

‘“Inferior to Engels”: Publishing Smollett in Stalin’s Russia’, Tobias Smollett after 300 years: life, writing, reputation, ed. by Richard Jones (Clemson: Clemson University Press, 2023), forthcoming. 

Gustav Shpet’s Russian translation of Tristram Shandy (1934): preparation of the manuscript for the first publication, introduction, and notes, in Literary and philological translation of the 1920s and 1930s, ed. by Maria Baskina (St Petersburg: Nestor-Istoriya, 2021), pp. 241–364. 

‘The Shadow of Eliza: Sterne’s Underplot in A Sentimental Journey’, in Laurence Sterne's ‘A Sentimental Journey’: A Legacy to the World, ed. by M.-C. Newbould and W. B. Gerrard (Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press, 2021), pp. 194–212. 

‘“Sentimental'noe puteshestvie” L. Sterna v sovetskikh perevodakh 1930-kh gg’, in Tekstologiya i istoriko-literaturnyi protsess, vol. 4 (Moscow University Press, 2016), pp. 141–58. 


The Soviet Beauties of Sterne?: Censoring Sterne in Soviet Russia, The Shandean: An Annual Volume Devoted to Laurence Sterne and His Works, 33: A Festschrift in Honour of Peter de Voogd (2022), pp. 185­–196. 

The Inner Form of Wit: Gustav Shpet reads Tristram Shandy’, The Slavic and East European JournalThe Slavic and East European Journal, 66, 1 (2022), pp. 43–61. 

‘Introduction: Early Soviet Translation of English Literature’, with Emily Finer and Julie Hansen, The Slavic and East European Journal, 66, 1 (2022), pp. 1–7. 

‘The First Russian Illustrator of Sterne: Nikolai Feofilaktov’s Unpublished Illustrations for A Sentimental Journey (1934)’, The Shandean: An Annual Volume Devoted to Laurence Sterne and His Works, 30 (2019), pp. 15–36. 

‘Jiří Šalamoun’s Tristram Shandy (1985)’, The Shandean, 29 (2018), pp. 145–55. 

‘Tselaia shapka vetra: Lorens Stern v otsenkakh sovetskoi intelligentsii 1930-kh godov: Sergei Bobrov i Evgenii Lann’, Letnyaya shkola po russkoi literature, vol.11, 3 (2016), pp. 275–91. 

‘Nasmeshka Prosveshcheniia nad sobstvennoi ogranichennost'iu: Lorens Stern i filosof-marksist 1930-kh gg’, Russkaia filologiia, vol. 27 (Tartu University Press, 2016), pp. 219-29. 

‘Reabilitatsiia Sterna:Lorens Stern v Moskve i Leningrade 1932–1941 gg. (Iz istorii odnogo izdatel'skogo proekta)’, Russkaia filologiia, vol. 26 (Tartu University Press, 2015), pp. 171–182. 

‘Lorens Stern i “filosofiia prostoty” Ivana Martynova (1711–1833)’, Studia Slavica, XIII (Tallinn University Press, 2015), pp. 11–26. 

‘Pushkin Reads Sterne: Author’s Note in Eugene Onegin’, The Shandean, 24 (2013), pp. 93–103. 

Other Publications 

‘Kak filosof Gustav Shpet perevodil Lorensa Sterna’, Gorky Media, May 26 (2021). 

Review of Ksenia Atarova, Lorens Stern: Zhizn’ i tvorchestvoThe Shandean, 25 (2015), pp. 164–67. 

Review of the Laurence Sterne Tercentenary Conference, Royal Holloway, University of London, Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie, 126, 3 (July 2014), pp. 431–34. 

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