Interests include Nabokov, Dostoevsky, literary theory, and the ideological repercussions of Russian fiction.

I have taught Russian language and literature at Wellesley since 1994 and Comparative Literature since 1997. The courses I regularly teach are on Dostoevsky, Nabokov, Russian Film, Dystopian Literature, Magical Realism, and Translation. I also enjoy teaching the Russian language. My translation partner, Alex Demyanov, and I have translated works by Katya Kapovich and Dmitry Prigov.

My first book, By Authors Possessed: The Demonic Novel in Russia (Northwestern UP, 1998), was an inquiry into the image of the devil in the novels of Nikolai Gogol, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Andrei Bely, Mikhail Bulgakov, and Vladimir Nabokov.

My second book, How Bad Writing Destroyed the World: Ayn Rand and the Literary Origins of the Financial Crisis (Bloomsbury, 2016), is a polemic against the idea of "rational egoism," which has produced some of the worst written yet also catastrophically influential novels of all time.

I am currently writing two books: one on Vladimir Nabokov's fiction, the other on I.A. Richards' strange work as an education reformer.

In my free time, I enjoy hiking and travelling with my family and like to amuse myself with chess and highschool math, which I am re-learning in order to help my children with their homework.


  • B.A., University of Wisconsin (Madison)
  • M.A., University of Wisconsin (Madison)
  • Ph.D., University of Wisconsin (Madison)