19th century Russian literature and culture. The Russian, European, and American novel; narrative theory and theory of the novel (Georg Lukács and Mikhail Bakhtin); intersections between philosophy and literature; Russian realism and Symbolism; serialization and adaptation; literary character; translation studies; science fiction.
Mimetic Lives: Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Character in the Novel (Northwestern University Press, Sept. 2021). Available at https://directory.doabooks.org/handle/20.500.12854/81502 (Knowledge Unlatched, 2021 Collection).
What makes some characters seem so real? Mimetic Lives: Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Character in the Novel explores this question through readings of major works by Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoevsky. Working at the height of the Russian realist tradition, Tolstoy and Dostoevsky each discovered unprecedented techniques for intensifying the aesthetic illusion that Kitzinger calls mimetic life—the reader’s sense of a character’s autonomous, embodied existence. At the same time, both authors tested the practical limits of that illusion by extending it toward the novel’s formal and generic bounds: philosophy, history, journalism, theology, myth.
Through new readings of War and Peace, Anna Karenina, The Brothers Karamazov, and other novels, Kitzinger traces a productive tension between mimetic characterization and the author’s ambition to transform the reader. She shows how Tolstoy and Dostoevsky create lifelike characters, and why the dream of carrying the illusion of “life” beyond the novel consistently fails. Mimetic Lives challenges the contemporary truism that novels educate us by providing enduring models for the perspectives of others, with whom we can then better empathize. Seen close, the realist novel’s power to create a world of compelling fictional persons underscores its resources as a form for thought, and its limits as a direct source of spiritual, social, or political change.
Edited Volumes and Clusters
[Seers of Flesh and Spirit: Russian Symbolist Writings on Dostoevsky and Tolstoy. Edited by Lindsay Ceballos, Brian Kim, and Chloë Kitzinger, translated by Ceballos, Kim, and Kitzinger et al. (Amherst College Press, under advance contract. Anticipated publication 2024).]
“ ‘House Rules’: Reading With Authorial Instructions.” Edited by Tatyana Gershkovich and Chloë Kitzinger. Article cluster, Narrative 31:2 (May 2023): 111–197.
“Disrupted Lines: Illegitimately Born Narrators in Dostoevsky and Hurston.” Narrative 31:2 (May 2023): 138–158.
“The Edges of Fiction: Dostoevsky, Merezhkovsky, and the Birth of Novel Theory.” NOVEL: A Forum on Fiction 56.1 (May 2023): 39–61.
“Dinner at the English Club: Character on the Margins in Tolstoy’s War and Peace,” Slavic and East European Journal 61.2 (Summer 2017): 311–330.
“‘A Variety of Forms’: Reading Bodies in Nabokov,” Nabokov Studies 14 (2016): 1–30.
“‘This Ancient, Fragile Vessel’: Degeneration in Bely’s Petersburg,” Slavic and East European Journal 57:3 (Fall 2013): 403–424.
Chapters in Edited Volumes
"Narrative Realism and Television" (co-authored with Lisa Jacobson), The Oxford Handbook of Global Realisms, ed. Katherine Bowers and Margarita Vaysman (Oxford University Press, forthcoming).
“Tolstoy’s Oeuvre,” Tolstoy in Context, ed. Anna Berman (Cambridge University Press, 2022), pp. 129–35.
“Mapping the Networks of Crime and Punishment,” Approaches to Teaching Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, ed. Michael Katz and Alexander Burry (MLA “Approaches to Teaching World Literature” series, 2021), pp. 158–63.
“Illegitimacies of the Novel: Characterization in Dostoevsky’s The Adolescent,” Dostoevsky at 200, ed. Kate Holland and Katherine Bowers (U. of Toronto Press, 2021), pp. 177–95. URI: https://hdl.handle.net/1807/106644.
Review of Thomas Docherty, The Politics of Realism, The Russian Review 82.1 (January 2023): 144–45.
Review of Russkii realizm XIX veka: Obschestvo, znanie, povestvovanie [Russian Realism of the Nineteenth Century: Society, Knowledge, Narrative], ed. Margarita Vaysman, Alexei Vdovin, Ilya Kliger, and Kirill Ospovat, Slavic Review 81.3 (Fall 2022): 67–68.
Annotations and interpretive commentary to V.V. Nabokov, Lectures on Literature (“Tolstoy”), The Nabokovian (website of the International Vladimir Nabokov Society). Published Fall 2018, accessible to Nabokov Society members at http://thenabokovian.org/annotations.
“Istoriia vsekh”: Epilog i sistema personazhei v romane Tolstogo ‘Voina i mir’ [“The history of all”: The epilogue and the character-system of Tolstoy’s War and Peace]. In Lev Tolstoi i mirovaia literatura: Materialy IX Mezhdunarodnoi nauchnoi konferentsii, edited by Galina Alekseeva (2016).
2023 - Honorable Mention for Mimetic Lives: Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Character in the Novel, First Monograph Prize (Center for Cultural Analysis, Rutgers University)
2021 - University Research Council Subvention Award for Mimetic Lives: Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Character in the Novel (Northwestern University Press, 2021)
2021 - Humanities Plus Pedagogical Initiative Grant, Rutgers University
2020 - School of Arts and Sciences Award for Distinguished Contributions to Undergraduate Education (Assistant Professor level), Rutgers University
Fellow at the International Doctoral Program ‘Mimesis,’ Ludwig Maximilians Universität, Munich (Summer 2017)
Princeton Society of Fellows (2016-2017)
Dissertation Completion Grant, Mabelle McLeod Lewis Memorial Fund
Townsend Dissertation Fellowship, UC Berkeley
Berkeley Language Center Fellowship, UC Berkeley
Mellon Discovery Fellowship, Townsend Center for the Humanities, UC Berkeley
Courses Taught at Rutgers:
Introduction to 19th Century Russian Literature (01:860:259)
Tolstoy's War and Peace (01:860:289)
Dostoevsky (01:860:330; cross-listed with Comparative Literature)
Nabokov (01:860:340; cross-listed with Comparative Literature and English)
Serial Storytelling Across Media (01:860:345, co-taught with Lauren Goodlad; cross-listed with Comparative Literature and English)
Russian and East European Science Fiction (01:860:326; cross-listed with Comparative Literature)
Dostoevsky and The Brothers Karamazov (01:860:488)
Gender and Sexuality in Russian Literature (01:860:435)
What Is Happiness?: Fictional Explorations (Interdisciplinary Honors Seminar)
Novel Theories, Tutor Texts (16:195:601:01)