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BlackwellStephen Blackwell


Phone: (865) 974-4536

Stephen Blackwell completed his PhD at Indiana University in 1995, under the direction of Vadim Liapunov. Since then, he has been at UT-Knoxville, many of those years serving as chair of the Russian program. His research has mostly focused on the art and thought of Russian-American novelist Vladimir Nabokov, one of the most important writers, in two languages, of the twentieth century. Dr. Blackwell has been president and Treasurer of the International Vladimir Nabokov Society and was one of the original creators of the Society's web site,; his scholarship has won three international awards in the past decade (2012-2022).  In addition to reading most anything and listening to music, Dr. Blackwell enjoys hiking and fine-art photography. He is currently working on a translation of essays by the critic Yuli Aikhenvald, and a book on trees in Nabokov's works. He will soon turn to new projects on Pushkin, Dostoevsky, and Tolstoy.

Stephen Blackwell, condensed research and recognitions
Awards and Honors for Scholarship

2019: Barabtarlo Prize for Best Scholarly Article on Nabokov in 2018, awarded for “Calendar Anomalies, Pushkin, and Aesthetic Love in Nabokov.” Slavonic and East European Review (London). Vol. 96, No 2 (July 2018), 401-431. (International Vladimir Nabokov Society)

2019: Brian Boyd Prize for Best Second (or later) Book on Nabokov (2016-2018), with Kurt Johnson, for Fine Lines: Vladimir Nabokov’s Scientific Art (Yale UP, 2016). (International Vladimir Nabokov Society)

2016Top 20 books of 2016, Nature’s Culture and Arts blog, “The View from the Bridge,”  Fine Lines: Vladimir Nabokov’s Scientific Art

2014: Best Scholarly Contribution in the Area of Nabokov Studies award of 2013 (for book, The Quill and the Scalpel: Nabokov’s Art and the Worlds of Science, Ohio State UP.), for books published 2006-2011; awarded by Nabokov Online Journal (Awarded April 23, 2014), by vote of subscribers.



The Quill and the Scalpel: Nabokov’s Art and the Worlds of Science. ~100,000 words. Columbus: The Ohio State University Press, 2009. 

Zina’s Paradox: The Figured Reader in Nabokov’s Gift. 

Middlebury Studies in Russian Language and Literature vol. 23. New York: Peter Lang, 2000.

Co-Edited Books:

Fine Lines: Vladimir Nabokov’s Scientific Art, Co-Edited (Lead Editor, project initiator) with Kurt Johnson. Nabokov’s scientific drawings and essays by scholars. Yale University Press, March, 2016. 318 pages. 

In Other Words: Studies In Honor of Vadim Liapunov. Edited, with Michael C. Finke, Nina Perlina, and Ekaterina Vernikova. Indiana Slavic Studies No. 11. Bloomington: Slavica, 2000 [2003].

Peer-reviewed Articles/Chapters/Essays/Introductions:

“Derev’ia i vdokhnovienie v avtobiografiiakh Nabokova” (in Russian; “Trees and Inspriation in Nabokov’s Autobiogrpahies.” In Nabokov i ego sovremenniki, ed. Tatiana Ponomareva. Pushkin House. Spring 2022.

“A Flurry of Words about One Small Dot in The Gift.” 

The Nabokovian 78 (Fall 2019), 2,680 words (on-line at

“Nabokov’s Cryptic Triptych: Grief and Joy in ‘Sounds,’ ‘The Circle,’ and ‘Lantern Slides.’” In Irena Księżopolska and Mikołaj Wiśniewski, eds, Vladimir Nabokov and the Fictions of Memory. Forthcoming, Spring 2019, SWPS University, Warsaw. (8,900 words).

“Calendar Anomalies, Pushkin, and Aesthetic Love in Nabokov.” Slavonic and East European Review (London). Vol. 96, No 2 (July 2018), 401-431; (13,500 words).

“Science.” In David M. Bethea and Siggy Frank, eds. Vladimir Nabokov in Context. Series: Authors in Context. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, pp. 193-200. [Invited contribution]. (April 2018; 3,400 words).

“Nabokov's ‘The Gift,’ Dostoevskii, and the Tradition of Narratorial Ambiguity.” Slavic Review 76.1 (Spring 2017). 1-22 (9,000 words). 

“Reflections on (and of) Trees in Nabokov.” In Brian Boyd and Marijeta Bozovic, eds. Nabokov Upside Down. Northwestern University Press, February, 2017. 21-36 (7,000 words).

“Nabokov’s Morphology: An Experiment in Appropriated Terminology.” In Blackwell and Johnson, Fine Lines (See “Co-Edited Books,” above), 2016. 260-268 (5,000 words).

“Introduction.” Co-authored with Kurt Johnson. In Blackwell and Johnson, Fine Lines (see “co-edited books,” above, 2016. 1-28 (15,000 words)

“Dostoevskian Problems in Nabokov’s Poetics.” In John Bartle, Michael Finke, and Vadim Liapunov, eds. From Petersburg to Bloomington: Studies Presented in Honor of Nina Perlina. Bloomington, IN: Slavica, 2012. 137-154.

“Lolita’s Ape: Caged at Last.” The Nabokovian 67 (Fall 2011): 14-20. 

“Notes On a Famous First Line (‘Light of My Life’).” The Nabokovian 64 (Spring, 2010): 39-44.

“Nabokov’s Fugitive Sense.” In Duncan White and Will Norman, eds.  Transitional Nabokov. London: Peter Lang, 2009. 15-30.

“A New or Little-Known Subtext in Lolita.” The Nabokovian 60 (Spring, 2008): 51-55.

“Nabokov’s Wiener-schnitzel Dreams: Anti-Freudian Poetics in Despair.” Nabokov Studies 7, 2002/2003: 129-150.

“The Poetics of Science in, and around, Nabokov’s The Gift.” Russian Review 62.2 (April, 2003): 243-61.

“Anna Karenina in The Gift.” The Nabokovian. Fall 2002: 26-34.

 “Toward a Theory of Negative Pattern in Nabokov.” In Nabokov at Cornell. Gavriel Shapiro, ed. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 2002. 231-240.

“Nabokov, Mach, and Monism.”  Nabokov at the Crossroads. Grayson, Jane, Arnold McMillin, and Priscilla Meyer, eds. Houndmills Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2002. v.1. 121-131.

"Boundaries of Art: Reading as Transcendence in Nabokov’s The Gift." Slavic Review 58.3 (Fall 1999): 600-625.

"Three Notes on The Gift: An Intertext, a Revision, and a Puzzle Solved."  The Nabokovian, Spring 1998: 36-39.

"Fated Freedoms: Textual Form and Metaphysical Texture in Nabokov."  Nabokov Studies  No. 4 (1997): 60-90.

"Colloquy on Browning's Door.” Contributor and compiler.  The Nabokovian. No. 34, Spring 1995: 16-25. 

"Reading and Rupture in Nabokov's Invitation to a Beheading."  Slavic and East European Journal, Spring 1995: 38-53.


Subtitle editor/translator, "My Nabokov" (Moi Nabokov), Documentary Film in Russian, by Marina Trush and Vladimir Samorodov. Film released March 2021, entered into various international film competitions.

“Superman Returns,” by Andrei Babikov. Introduction to newly published Vladimir Nabokov poem, “The Man of To-morrow’s Lament,” The Times Literary Supplement, March 5, 2021, p.15. 2,400 words online, 750-word extract in print.

"Conversations with Bakhtin," by Sergei Bocharov. Translation edited by Vadim Liapunov.   PMLA, October 1994: 1009-1024. Translation of "Odin razgovor i vokrug nego." by S.G. Bocharov, Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie  No. 2 (1993), 170-188.

Other Publications: seven non-peer-reviewed articles

Review Article

“On A. Dolinin’s Commentary to V. Nabokov’s Novel The Gift.” Invited essay. Nabokov Online Journal XIII (2019), 2,000 words.

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