St John's College Oxford

Professor Julie Curtis

Professor of Russian Literature

Biography

My published research has largely been focused on subversive writers of the early Stalin Period (1920s and 1930s). I have spent a great deal of time working in archives in Russia and abroad, and this has enabled me to publish a range of analytical and biographical studies of the life and works of the satirical novelist/playwright Mikhail Bulgakov (1891-1940). More recently I have turned my attention to Evgeny Zamiatin (1884-1937), an anti-utopian writer much admired by George Orwell. Recently I completed work on the first full biography of Zamiatin to appear in any language and have also co-edited (with a St Petersburg colleague) a scholarly edition in Russian of his most famous novel, based on a unique typescript she discovered in an American archive.


I have developed a particular interest in Russian drama, and runs a specialist option for students which involves the study of plays from the 1820s right up to the present day. Over the last few years I have been involved in helping with productions of Russian plays in several British theatres (the RSC at Stratford, the Barbican and National Theatres in London, the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry) by providing cast workshops, writing programme features, working on translations, and advising directors and design staff. Future research plans include a study of the 21st-century theatre scene in Russia, parts of which have been notably bold in their challenges to the political establishment.