Olga Matich, Professor Emerita, Professor of the Graduate School


Ph.D. UCLA (Slavic Languages and Literatures).

Professor Matich has retired but remains actively involved in teaching and mentoring graduate students. She is currently teaching for the Slavic Department on recall for the 2017-18 academic year.

Teaching: Nineteenth- and twentieth-century Russian literature and culture (Dostoevsky, Modernism, Soviet society and culture, contemporary Russian literature), literature and the visual arts. Recent graduate seminars have included: Russian Modernism; Literature and Other Arts; The City in Literature.

Research interests: Russian Modernism (Andrei Bely); post-Stalin and émigré literature and culture; literature and the visual arts (representation of clouds); gender; decadence and degeneration theory; history of disgust and negative emotions; modern city in literature and culture.

Current projects: A memoir about my émigré family, whose life was defined by the Russian revolution, and about interesting people I have known in Russia, for instance writers, and here. It is a hybrid text that combines life writing and historical scholarship, including archival scholarship related to family members, and consists of fragmentary narratives that explore point of view and personal cultural identity.

Selected publications:


  • Petersburg/Petersburg: Novel and City 1900 – 1921 (editor; author of Part I), Wisconsin University Press, 2010. Related website: Mapping Petersburg. The website maps the material, political, and artistic culture of Petersburg at the beginning of the 20th century. Both book and related website are the product of a collaborative project with a group of current and former Berkeley graduate students in Russian literature and Russian history.
  • Erotic Utopia: The Decadent Imagination in the Russian Fin-de-Siecle. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2004. Russian translation to appear in 2008 (Moscow: Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie).
  • Laboratory of Dreams: Russian Avant-garde and Cultural Experiment (co-edited with John Bowlt), Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1996.
  • The Third Wave: Russian Literature in Emigration, editor. Ann Arbor, Michigan: Ardis, 1984.
  • Paradox in the Religious Poetry of Zinaida Gippius. Munich: Fink Verlag, 1972.


  • “K istorii oblaka: Vasilii Kandinsky, Andrei Bely i drugie,” Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie, 210, 2011.
  • “Nevsky Prospekt, 28: Shveinaia mashina, shveia, povestvovanie,” Teoriia mody: Odezhda, telo, kul’tura, 14, 2009-2010, pp. 71-96.
  • “Poetics of Disgust: To Eat and Die in Andrei Belyi’s Petersburg,” Slavic Review (Sp. topic: “Emotional Turn? Feelings in Russian History and Culture), 68/2, 2009.
  • “Russkaia emigratsiia v Kalifornii,” Na rubezhe dvukh stoletii. Sbornik v chest’ 60-letiia Aleksandra Vasil’evicha Lavrova, eds. Vsevolod Bagno, John Malmstad & Mariia Malikova (Moscow: Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie, 2009)
  • “Cernyševskij’s What Is To Be Done? Transgressive Vision and Narrative Omniscience,” International Journal of Slavic Linguistics and Poetics, 44-5, 2006.
  • “Mobster Gravestones in 1990s Russia,” Global Crime, 7/1, 2006.
  • “Backs, Suddenlys, and Surveillance in Andrej Belyj’s Petersburg,” Russian Literature (Special Issue: Andrej Bely – On the Occasion of His 125th Birthday), LVIII-I/II, 2005.
  • “Eduard Limonovs Poetik der Verärgerung,” Zurück aus der Zukunft: Osteuropäische Kulturen im Zeitalter des Postkommunismus (eds. Boris Groys, Anne von der Heiden & Peter Weibel), Frankfurt: Suhrkamp Verlag, 2005.
  • “The White Emigration Goes Hollywood,” Russian Review, 64/2, 2005.
  • “Three Russian Dancers: Art Nouveau, Decadence, Degeneration,” Experiment (sp. issue on Performing Arts and the Avant-Garde), 10, 2004.
  • “Pokrovy Salomei: Eros, Smert’ i istoriia,” Erotizm bez beregov (ed. M.V. Pavlova), Moscow, Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie, 2004, pp. 90-121.
  • “Russkie v Gollivude/Gollivud o Rossii” [Russians in Hollywood/Hollywood on Russia], Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie, 54, 2002.
  • “What is a Russian Harem?,” In the Realm of Slavic Philology: To Honor the Teaching Scholarship of Dean S. Worth (eds. John Dingley and Leon Ferder). Bloomington: Slavic, 2000.
  • “Gender Trouble in the Amazonian Kingdom: Turn-of-the-Century Representations of Women in Russia,” Amazons of the Avant-Garde (eds. John E. Bowlt and Matthew Drutt), New York: The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, 1999.
  • “Doctor Zhivago: Voyeurism and Shadow Play as Narrative Perspective,” Die Welt der Slaven, 44, 1999.
  • “Uspeshnyi mafiozo – mertvyi mafiozo: kul’tura pogrebal’nogo obriada” [A Successful Mafioso Is a Dead Mafioso: A Cultural Study of Burial Practices], Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie, 33, 1998.
  • “Remaking the Bed: Utopia in Daily Life,” Laboratory of Dreams: The Russian Avant-Garde and Cultural Experiment, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1996.
  • “Diaspora kak ostranenie: Russkaia literatura v emigratsii,” Russian Studies 2.2 (1996).
  • ” ‘Rassechenie trupov’ i ‘sryvanie pokrovov’ kak kul’turnye metafory” [Dissection and Unveiling as Cultural Metaphors], Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie, 6, 1994.
  • “The Symbolist Meaning of Love: Theory and Practice,” Creating Life: The Aesthetic Utopia of Russian Modernism, (eds. Irina Paperno and Joan Grossman), Stanford: Stanford University Press.
  • “Cultural Return: The Personal Myth of Zinaida Gippius.” Cultural Mythologies of Russian Modernism: From the Golden Age to the Silver Age. (eds. B. Gasparov and R. Hughes), University of California Press, 1991.