Sewanee welcomes guest speaker from Saint Petersburg

16388365_10154092732921851_2695111717852648777_nPhoto by Vera Fulmer

By Alena Churikova

Executive Staff

On the afternoon of February 2, Dr. Aleksandr Karpov, Head of the Department of the History of Russian Literature at St. Petersburg State University, and member of the Russian Academy of Sciences lectured on Pushkin’s The Bronze Horseman: A Petersburg Tale.


Dr. Karpov spoke in Russian, with Associate Professor of Russian and Department Chair Mark Preslar translating. This bilinguality fostered interest for both advanced level Russian students and English speaking audience members.  Karpov united historical and philological perspectives in his analysis of Pushkin’s final poem, The Bronze Horseman.


He began his lecture with relevant historical information of Saint Petersburg, providing a foundation for those less familiar with Russian culture. Afterward, he presented a thorough analysis of the poem’s symbolism, discussing Pushkin’s Biblical references. Biblical references are a common source of symbolism in Russian literature contemporary to The Bronze Horseman.


Katya Waters (C’18) felt inspired by the lecture, saying “I enjoyed the lecture because I really liked learning more about the history of St. Petersburg.  I have never been to St. Petersburg but after listening to Dr. Karpov speak, I now definitely want to go someday.  I also liked how I was able to practice my Russian comprehension skills by listening to what he had to say about Pushkin’s piece.”


“It was a really great lecture. Professor Karpov’s discussion of the Bronze Horseman made me want to read a lot more Pushkin and I especially enjoyed the insights he had about Russian society during the creation of the poem. Professor Preslar did a wonderful job translating,” shared Summer Menefee (C’18).


The lecture was followed by catered reception when students could ask Dr Karpov questions about the poem. The lecture was sponsored by the Departments of Russian, English, International and Global Studies, Humanities, and History.