Here I am

This is just a test post that I’ll probably delete later. I want to see if Medium is a viable blogging, er, medium for my purposes. What I’d like to do is write about my research and teaching on an ongoing basis, both for my own benefit (as a form of accountability, and to clarify what I’m doing in my own mind by explaining it for an imaginary lay audience) and as — potentially — a way to present what I’m working on to the outside world.

Right now I’m “working on” (but mostly only thinking longingly about working on) a book about magic in Soviet fiction. Magic as theme, as trope perhaps?, as a mechanism that might even be working right there in the pages of the narrative. But most of all, magic as a kind of philosophical category, one that is always only-just “on the wrong side of the tracks,” peeking across its shared boundaries with rhetoric, with science, with religion, with politics, with art.

I’m also writing a couple of articles about Odessa and the Odessan Russian-Jewish writer Isaac Babel, following up on my book, Isaac Babel and the Self-Invention of Odessan Modernism.

And the rest of the time, I’m teaching Literature Humanities, the flagship course in the Core Curriculum at Columbia University. I have a separate blog for teaching that I update before each class. Right now we’re reading Sappho.

That should suffice for an introduction, I think.