Molly T. Blasing

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  • Associate Professor of Russian Studies
  • University Senate (A&S Humanities Representative, 2020-2023)
  • International Film Studies
  • Modern & Classical Languages Literatures & Cultures
  • Russian Studies
  • Social Theory
  • International Studies
1053 Patterson Office Tower
Research Interests:

On sabbatical Spring semester 2022


A.B. cum laude, Russian Literature and Culture, Harvard University, 2002

M.A. Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2006

Ph.D Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2014


Molly T. Blasing specializes in modern and contemporary Russian poetry and the intersection of literature and the visual arts.  Her other areas of scholarly interest include Russian cinema, contemporary theater and political performance, and foreign language pedagogy.  Her recently published first book examines the influence of photography on Russian poetic writing in the 20th century.  Dr. Blasing's research on this topic has been supported by grants from the Fulbright Program and the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Snapshots of the Soul: Photo-Poetic Encounters in Modern Russian Culture 

Published in Summer 2021 by Cornell University Press

Snapshots of the Soul considers how photography has shaped poetry in Russian from the early twentieth century to the present day. Drawing on theories of the lyric and the elegy, the social history of technology, and little-known archival materials, Molly T. Blasing offers close readings of poems by Boris Pasternak, Marina Tsvetaeva, Joseph Brodsky, and Bella Akhmadulina, as well as the late- and post-Soviet poets Andrei Sen-Sen'kov, Arkadii Dragomoshchenko, and Kirill Medvedev, to understand their fascination with the visual language, representational power, and metaphorical possibilities offered by the camera and the photographic image.

Within the context of long-standing anxieties about the threat that visual media pose to literary culture, Blasing finds that these poets were attracted to the affinities and tensions that exist between the lyric or elegy and the snapshot. Snapshots of the Soul reveals that at the core of each poet's approach to "writing the photograph" is the urge to demonstrate the superior ability of poetic language to capture and convey human experience.

book cover.jpeg

Recent Courses

RUS 410G Russian for STEM

RUS 420G Madness in Russian Literature and Culture

RUS 275 Russian Film

RUS 372 Experiments in Life and Art: Russian Culture 1900-present

RUS 201 & 202 Intermediate Russian Language

Selected Publications: 

Blasing, Molly T. “Не сквернословь, отец мой: Anna Iablonskaya’s The Pagans and the Search for a Language of Authenticity” in New Drama in Russian: Performance, Politics and Protest, Ed. J.A.E. Curtis (Oxford University), Bloomsbury Academic, June 2020.

Блэсинг, М.Т. «Фотография как приём: О воображенном портрете Цветаевой в стихотворении «Клянусь» Б. Ахмадулиной» (Photograph as Device: On the Imagined Portrait of Tsvetaeva in B. Akhmadulina’s poem “I Swear”) in a forthcoming volume emerging from the 20th International Scholarly Conference on Marina Tsvetaeva, Moscow, Oct 7-10, 2017. In press (exp June 2020).

Blasing, Molly T., “Cvetaeva and the Visual Arts” in A Companion to Marina Cvetaeva, Ed. Sibelan Forrester. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2016. 

Блэсинг, М.Т. “Сквозь объектив утраты. Фото-интертекст цикла М.И. Цветаевой «Надгробие»” «Если душа родилась крылатой...» Материалы Седьмых Международных Цветаевских чтений. Под общей редакцией А.А.Деготькова. Елабуга: ЕлТИК, 2015. [Blasing, M. T. “Through the Lens of Loss: Photo-Intertext in M. I. Tsvetaeva’s Cycle ‘Tombstone’”) in “If the Soul Were Born with Wings”: Proceedings of the 7th International Tsvetaeva Conference, Publishing House ElTIK, Elabuga, Tatarstan, 2015.]

Blasing, Molly T., “Through the Lens of Loss: Marina Tsvetaeva’s Elegiac Photo-Poetics,” Slavic Review 73.1 (Spring 2014): 1-35.

Blasing, Molly T., Translation of Evgenii Grishkovets, How I Ate A Dog (excerpts) in Late and Post Soviet Literature: A Reader Vol. 1. Eds. Mark Lipovetsky and Lisa Ryoko Wakamiya, Academic Studies Press, 2014.

Blasing, Molly T., Translation of and critical essay on Andrei Sen-Sen'kov, Slomannye fotografii Dzhona Glessi (John Glassie’s Broken Photographs) in ULBANDUS XV: Seeing Texts, Columbia University, 2013.

Blasing, Molly T., “Second Language in Second Life: Exploring Interaction, Identity and Pedagogical Practice in a Virtual World.” Slavic and East European Journal 54.1 (Spring 2010): 96-117. 



“Polyphonic Transpositions: Pavel Arseniev’s Reported Speech,” invited book review for Reading in Translation, June 21, 2019. <>

“Akhmatova for a New Generation at Moscow’s Gogol Center,” review of “Akhmatova. Poema bez geroiia” by Kirill Serebrennikov and Alla Dimedova for Spotlight on Russia series, The Theatre Times, January 9, 2018. <

Review of Kat Hill Reischl, “Objective Authorship: Photography and Writing in Russia, 1905-1975”, (PhD dissertation, University of Chicago, 2013), Dissertation Reviews, November 17, 2014. <>

Review of Manon van de Water, Moscow Theatres for Young People: A Cultural History of Ideological Coercion and Artistic Innovation, 1917-2000, in the Slavic and East European Journal 51.4  (Winter 2007): 783-785.