Dr. Elizabeth McGuire will talk about Isaac Babel's life and death. Babel lived through some of the most dramatic, creative, and destructive moments in modern history, including the Russian Civil War, the avant-garde internationalist Soviet 1920s, and Stalin's 1930s. This talk will offer historic context for Babel's fiction, and for the documentary Finding Babel.
Finding Babel (2015), director: David Novack
The subversive masterpieces of Russian-Ukrainian writer Isaac Babel challenged the reality of life under rising totalitarianism, and led to his arrest and execution in 1940. In Finding Babel, Andrei Malaev-Babel confronts complex traces of a turbulent history that echo in his grandfather's writing and in the conflicts of today's Ukraine and Russia. Babel's fiction is woven into Andrei's search with ethereal animation that puts the viewer, like Babel's readers, between fantasy and reality.
Elizabeth McGuire is a historian of global communism who teaches courses in modern Europe, modern Russia, and modern China. Her first book, The Sino-Soviet Romance: How Chinese Communists Fell in Love with the Russian Revolution, is forthcoming with Oxford University Press. She holds an AB honors from Harvard, an MA from Johns Hopkins, and a PhD from UC Berkeley. 2010-2012, Professor McGuire was an Academy Scholar at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies. She loves literature and speaks Russian, French, and Chinese.