Medzhibovskaya, Inessa

inessa medzhibovskaya

Inessa Medzhibovskaya
PhD, Slavic Languages and Literatures, Princeton University;
Diploma with high distinction, English Literature (Faculty of Germanic Philology/Foreign Languages; University of Moldova at Chişinău);
MA, International Education, NYU
Associate Professor and Co-Chair of Literary Studies


As a scholar and educator, Prof. Medzhibovskaya is interested in how literature transmits human values in their cultural and historical specificity and universality and how literature reveals worlds hidden from plain view. Her focus in the classroom is on teaching students how to read well and express themselves well in order to think creatively about their unique role in the world. She publishes widely on Tolstoy in North America and abroad. Other topics include Pushkin, the Russian-Jewish philosopher Simon Frank, ideology and childhood, and the interplay of philosophy and literary aesthetics.  She is continuing with two new monographs: Tolstoy in the Twentieth Century (for Princeton University Press) and with a study titled Writing and Confinement. She is also editor and author of introduction for these forthcoming volumes: Tolstoy in the Twenty-First Century, and On Life (the annotated critical edition of Tolstoy’s work O zhizni co-translated with Michael Denner). 

Courses Taught:
  • Tolstoy and Drama
  • History and its Stories
  • Directing/Playwriting: Tolstoy's Resurrection (co-taught with Zishan Ugurlu)
  • Bildungsroman (senior seminar)
  • Modernist Identity in the Literature of Central-Eastern Europe before WWII
  • Tolstoy’s War and Peace and its Worlds
  • Modernism of German Speaking Europe
  • European Romanticism in Critical Perspective
  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being: Literature of Central and Eastern Europe after WWII
  • Voices from Prison: Writing In and About Confinement
  • Writing Away From Home: Literary Exiles and Foreign Exposure
  • Saints, Scamps, Rebels, and Superfluous Men: Studying the Russian Literary Hero
  • Anxiety of Possession: Poverty, Enterprise and Excess in Russian Literature
  • Love and its Genres: Reading Russian Literature
Recent Publications:
  •  «Об искренности поступка: символика двери в незаконченных замыслах Толстого». Русскаялитература № 4, 2010: 69-79 [Russkaia literatura, 1958-quarterly], St. Petersburg: Institute of Russian Literature, Academy of Sciences of the Russian Federation. To appear in revised form as “Казнь и двери разбил»: символика обращения и ухода в предсмертном замысле Толстого о иеромонахе-революционере” in the commemorative album, "Я не мог поступить иначе"  (Об уходе и смерти Льва Толстого). Москва. 2011.
  • «Диалоги за чертой оседлости: Толстой и еврейский вопрос». Лев Толстой: Сквозь рубежи и межи. Sapporo: Slavic Research Center of Hokkaido University, 2011 (26-40).
  • “Terror Unsublimated: Militant Monks, Revolution and Tolstoy’s Last Master Plots.” Tolstoy Studies Journal, volume XXII 2010: 17-38
  • “Tolstoy’s Original letter Found: On Benedict Prieth, Ernest Crosby and Aphorisms of Immortality in The Whim.”  Tolstoy Studies Journal, volume XXII 2010: 65-78.
  • «Ответ Толстого на революционный террор и насилие. Часть 1» [Otvet Tolstogo na revoliutsionnyi terror i nasilie.  Яснополянскийсборник 2010. Stat’i. Materialy. Publikatsii. Tula: Izdatel’skii Dom Yasnaya Poliana, 2010 (184-210). This is Part 1 of the essay.
  • «Ответ Толстого на революционный террор и насилие» [Otvet Tolstogo na revoliutsionnyi terror i nasilie-2] Яснополянскийсборник [Yasnopolianskii sbornik] 2012 (Part II).  Forthcoming.
  • “Bakhtin, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy on Art and Immortality” (with Caryl Emerson). Critical Theory in Russia and the West. Alastair Renfrew and Galin Tikhanov, eds. BASEES/Routledge Series on Russian andEastEuropean Studies. London and New York: Routledge. Taylor and Francis Group, 2010: 26-43.
  • “Tolstoy’s Hieromonk” Tolstoy Studies Journal, volume XXI 2009: 55-63.
  • Tolstoy and the Religious Culture of His Time: A Biography of a Long Conversion, 1845-1887 (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, a division of Rowman & Littlefield, 28 April 2008).  xliii + 404pp. Nominee for best book in literary and cultural criticism of the AATSEEL (2009-2010). Released in paperback: June 28, 2009.
  • “Lucid Sorrow and Political Foresight: Simon Frank on Pushkin, and the Challenges of Ontology for Literature.”Pushkin Review volume 10~ 2007 (published 2009): 59-102
  • “Tolstoy’s Response to Terror and Revolutionary Violence.”Kritika. Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History,  volume 9, no.3, (summer 2008): 505-531.
  • “Tolstoy and Religious Maturity” American Contributions to the XIV International Congress of Slavists . Ohrid 2008.  vol. 2: Literature, David M. Bethea,ed.  Bloomington, Indiana: Slavica Publishers, 2008,2:  91-106.
  • “Lev Kassil: Childhood as Religion and Ideology.”Russian Children’s Literature and Culture. Marina Balina and Larissa Rudova, eds. New York/London: Routledge, 2008: 241-62.
  • “Every Man in His Tolstoy Humor: On Lev Osterman, Questions of Method, and More.” Tolstoy Studies Journal, volume XIX, 2007 (108-118).
  • «Толстой в спорах о религиозной совести» [Tolstoy v sporakh o religioznoi sovesti/Tolstoy in Debates on Religious Conscience]. Lev Tolstoy and World Literature. Papers Delivered at IVth International Tolstoy Conference. Yasnaya Poliana 22-25 August 2005. Ed. Galina Alexeeva. Moscow/Tula/Yasnaya Polyana: Yasnaya Polyana Publishing House. 2007 (17-30). 
  • “Simon Frank Confronts Tolstoy’s Ethical Thought (The Later Years).” Tolstoy Studies Journal, volume XVII, 2005: 43-58.
  • “Aporias Of Immortality: Tolstoy Against Time.” Word, Music, History. A Festschrift for Caryl Emerson.Stanford Slavic Studies, volumes 29-30. Lazar Fleishman, Gabriella Safran, Michael Wachtel, eds. Stanford, Ca., 2005 (Part One: 370-384).
  • «Толстой, евхаристия и Тайная вечеря» [Tolstoy, evkharisitiia i Tainaia vecheria/Tolstoy, the Eucharist, and the Last Supper]. Leo Tolstoy and World Literature. Papers Delivered at IIIrd International Tolstoy Conference. Yasnaya Poliana 28-30 August 2003. In Memory of Lidiya Dmitrievna Opulskaya. Ed. Galina Alexeeva. Moscow/Tula/Yasnaya Polyana: Yasnaya Polyana Publishing House 2005 (155-170).
  • “Dogmatism or Moral Logic? Simon Frank Confronts Tolstoy’s Ethical Thought (1902-1909)”  Tolstoy Studies Journal, volume XVI, 2004: 18-32.
  • “On Moral Movement and Moral Vision: The Last Supper in Russian Debates.”Comparative Literature., volume 56, No. 1 (winter 2004): 23-53.
  • “Irony, Theater, and History in Time of War: Reflections on “War and Peace, the Beginning of the Novel”; Director Piotr Fomenko. US premier, Lincoln Center Summer Festival. Alice Tully Hall, 6-7 July 2004 Tolstoy Studies Journal, 2004 (106-111).
  • “Questions About Answers: Tolstoy and the Legend.” Tolstoy Studies Journal (vol XIV 2002. 148-155).
  • «Критика телеологической способности суждения в «Смерти Ивана Ильича»» [Kritika teleologicheskoi sposobnosti suzhdeniia v Smerti Ivana Il’icha/Critique of Teleological Judgment in “The Death of Ivan Il’ich”]. Tolstoy i o Tolstom: Materialy i issledovaniia. 2nd series issue. Moscow: IMLI [Institute of  World Literature, Academy of Sciences of the Russian Federation], 2002: 246-55.
  • “Teleological Striving and Redemption in “The Death of Ivan Il’ich”.”  Tolstoy Studies Journal, volume XII 2000: 35-49. Reprint: Short Story Criticism ed. Jelena Kosovic (SSC-131), 2010, Gale Group/Cengpage Learning Publishers. Forthcoming.
  • “Hamlet’s Jokes: Pushkin on ‘Vulgar Eloquence’.” Slavic and East European Journal, volume 41, 1997, No 4 (winter):.554-79. Reprint:  the Gale Group/Cengpage Learning Publishers Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism, vol. 204 (NCLC-204), 2008-2009: for subscribed libraries hard cover text edition and e-book.

Office Location:
Eugene Lang College, The New School for Liberal Arts
65 West 11th Street, Room 452
New York, NY  10011
Office Hours:
T 1:30-3 and by appointment.
Phone Number/Extension:
212-229-5100 x2255


Research Interests:
Russian and Central East European Literature and Culture. Romanticism. Critical Theory. Intellectual and Cultural History. Literature and Philosophy. Literature and Education. Tolstoy.
Professional Affiliations:
  • Modern Language Association
  • American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies
  • American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages
  • North-American Tolstoy Society
  • President of North-American Pushkin Society
Recent Presentations/Exhibits:
Awards and Honors:
  • American Philosophical Society Franklin Grant (2010)
  • Distinguished University Teaching Award (The New School, 2007)
  • 2002-2003 Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow (Society for the Humanities, Cornell University)
  • Center for Human Values Mellon Graduate Prize Fellow in Residence (Princeton University 1998-1999)
  • Certificate in Advanced Polish and Polish Culture, 1996 (Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland)

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