PhD in Comparative Literature (Harvard University, 1990)
MA in Comparative Literature (Harvard University, 1986)
BA in Comparative Literature (Yale University, 1982)
My main research interests are in Russian poetry (from the eighteenth century to the present), poetics, and Russo-German literary relations. Broadly speaking, I study the ways that Russian poets borrow and creatively adapt the work of their predecessors and contemporaries (both Russian and Western European). My undergraduate courses are usually on Russian poetry (for students who know Russian) and sometimes on Russian prose (with readings in English). My graduate courses — which are also open to advanced undergraduates — include Pushkin, Russian Symbolism, and a seminar on the evolution of Russian poetic form. I am also affiliated with the Department of Comparative Literature.
Undergraduate courses taught:
- Survey of Russian literature in translation
- Topics in Russian Literature:
- Russian Twentieth-Century Poetry
- Russian Nineteenth-Century Poetry
- Russian and Emigre Poetry
- Survey of Russian Poetry
- Pushkin and his Time
- Freshman seminar - The Language of Totalitarianism
- Writing seminar - Totalitarian Literature and Culture
Graduate courses taught:
- Evolution of Russian Poetic Form
- Russian Literature of the Eighteenth Century
- Russian Symbolism
- The "Poema"
- 19th century poetry
- Golden Age/Silver Age
- Contemporary Russian poetry
University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, 2012.
The Cambridge Introduction to Russian Poetry
Cambridge University Press, 2004.
The Development of Russian Verse: Meter and its Meanings
This first full-length account of the Russian verse tradition shows how certain formal features are associated with certain genres and specific themes. Keeping technical terms to a minimum and providing English translations of all quotations, Michael Wachtel offers close readings of poems by more than fifty poets from Pushkin to Brodsky, and demonstrates the practical interpretive value of paying attention to poetic form. Ultimately, his book is an inquiry into the nature of literary tradition in a country that has always taken much of its identity from its written legacy.
Cambridge University Press, 1998.
Russian Symbolism and Literary Tradition: Goethe, Novalis, and the Poetics of Vyacheslav Ivanov
University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, 1994.
Selected Edited Volumes:
“Translation, Imitation, Adaptation, or Mutilation? Robert Lowell’s Versions of Boris Pasternak’s Poetry” and “Addendum: Boris Pasternak’s ‘The Wedding’ and Robert Lowell’s ‘The Landlord’” In: Novoe o Pasternakakh, ed. Lazar Fleishman, Moscow: Leksrus, 2016, pp. 591–662.
"Поэтическая переписка Блока с Ахматовой: взгляд на первую публикацию".
in Stikh, iazyk, poeziia: Pamiati M.L. Gasparova. Ed. L. Shumilova. Moscow: 2006. 154-163.
"Joseph Brodsky читает Иосифа Бродского: 'Часть речи' и поэтика перевода".
in Sub Rosa. In honorem Lenae Szilard. Ed. Denise Atanaszov-Szokolova. Budapest: 2005. 594–603.
"К проблеме перевода размером подлинника у Вячеслава Иванова".
in Studia Slavica Academiae Scientarum Hungaricae. Budapest: 1996. 45–53.