Molly Thomasy Blasing

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  • Assistant Professor of Russian Studies
  • International Film Studies
  • Modern & Classical Languages Literatures & Cultures
  • Russian Studies
  • Social Theory
  • International Studies
1053 Patterson Office Tower
(859) 218-5337
Research Interests:

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

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


Professor 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 current book project 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.

Project Synopsis: Snapshots of the Soul: Photo-Poetic Encounters in Modern Russian Culture (forthcoming from Cornell University Press)

This book considers how photography’s pervasiveness in 20th-c. culture has intervened in and shaped modern poetic thinking and writing. While much has been written on the impact of photography on realist fiction and autobiography, this project’s explicit focus on poetry illuminates a form of cultural production that speaks to both long-standing and present-day anxieties about the threat visual culture poses to verbal culture. I offer case studies of five major 20th-c. Russian poets to argue that poets who engage photography in their writing are drawn to certain affinities and tensions that exist between the lyric and the snapshot. The advent of photography gave poetry a new lexicon, new ways of conceiving vision, memory and loss, and opportunities to construct metaphors around photochemical processes. Yet at the core of each poet’s approach to “writing the photograph” is an urge to ultimately demonstrate the superior ability of poetic language to capture and convey human experience.


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. In press (exp. May 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 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. 

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