Irina Paperno, Professor


Affiliated with Department of History

M.A. (Russian language and literature) Tartu University.
M.A. (Psychology) Stanford University.
Ph.D. (Slavic languages and literatures) Stanford University.

Teaching: Nineteenth- and twentieth-century Russian literature. Russian and European intellectual and cultural history. The European Novel. Literary/cultural theories. Discourse analysis and analysis of text.

Research interests: Narrative and consciousness; personal documents (memoirs, diaries, letters); dreams; psychoanalysis and literature; conceptions of the self and subjectivity; history of experience; the novel.

Other interests: Psychology and psychoanalysis.

Current projects: A study of subjectivity and narrative; biography of Leo Tolstoy.

Selected publications:


  • “Who, What am I?” Tolstoy Struggles to Narrate the Self. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2014.
  • Stories of the Soviet Experience: Memoirs, Diaries, Dreams. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2009.
  • Intimacy and History: The Herzen Family Drama Reconsidered, Russian Literature 61: 1-2 (Special Issue), ed. Irina Paperno, (Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2007).
  • Suicide as a Cultural Institution in Dostoevsky’s Russia. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1997. Russian translation: Samoubiistvo kak kul’turnyi institut. Moscow: Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie, 1999; Chinese translation: Jilin: Jilin People’s Publishing House, 2003.
  • Chernyshevsky and the Age of Realism: A Study in the Semiotics of Behavior. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1988. Russian translation: Semiotika povedeniia: Nikolai Chernyshevsky -chelovek epokhi realizma. Moscow: Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie, 1996.
  • Creating Life: The Aesthetic Utopia of Russian Modernism, co-edited with Joan Delaney Grossman. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1994
  • Christianity and the Eastern Slavs: Russian Culture in Modern Times. Co-edited with Irina Paperno. University of California Press, 1994.


  • “Leo Tolstoy’s Correspondence with Nikolai Strakhov: The Dialogue on Faith,” in Anniversary Essays on Tolstoy, ed. Donna Tussing Orwin (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming in 2010).
  • “Dreams of Terror: Dreams from Stalinist Russia as a Historical Source,” Kritika: Exploration in Russian and Eurasian History, vol. 7, no. 4 (Fall 2006), pp. 793-824.
  • “What Can Be Done with Diaries?” The Russian Review 63: 4 (October 2004).
  • “Personal Accounts of the Soviet Experience,” Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History, vol. 3, no. 4 (Fall 2002).
  • “Exhuming the Bodies of Soviet Terror,” Representations 75 (Summer 2001).
  • “Tolstoy’s Diaries: The Inaccessible Self,” in Laura Engelstein and Stephanie Sandler, Self and Story in Russian History (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2000). Translated into German: Individualitaetskonzepte in der russischen Kultur, ed. Christa Ebert (Berlin: Berlin Verlag Arno Spitz, 2002). Translated into Russian: Novoe literturnoe obozrenie, 61 (2003).
  • “On the Nature of the Word: Theological Sources of Mandelshtam’s Dialogue with the Symbolists.” In Christianity and the Eastern Slavs. Volume 2, edited by Robert P. Hughes and Irina Paperno (Berkeley: The University of California Press, 1994).
  • “Pushkin v zhizni cheloveka Serebrianogo veka.” In Cultural Mythologies of Russian Modernism: From the Golden Age to the Silver Age, ed. by Boris Gasparov, Robert P. Hughes and Irina Paperno. Berkeley: The University of California Press, 1992. Reprinted in: Sovremennoe amerikanskoe pushkinovedenie. Sbornik statei. St. Petersburg, 1999.
  • “How Nabokov’s Gift Is Made.” In Festschrift in Honor of Joseph Frank. Ed. by Edward J. Brown, Lazar Fleishman, Gregory Freidin and Richard Schupbach. (Stanford: Stanford Slavic Studies, 1992). Translated into Russian: Vladimir Nabokov: Pro et contra, ed. B. Averin, M. Malikova. St. Petersburg: Izdatel’stvo RHGI, 1997.