Liza Knapp has taught at the University of California at Berkeley for the past ten years. The courses she always enjoys the most are "Dostoevsky, Tolstoy and the English Novel" and "Russian, French and American Novels of Adultery," both of which showcase Anna Karenina. She has taught this novel to hundreds of students and finds something new in it every time.
Together with Amy Mandelker, Liza Knapp co-edited the Modern Language Association's Approaches to Teaching Anna Karenina. She has written a book on Dostoevsky and edited a critical companion to Dostoevsky's The Idiot. She is currently at work on two books, Tolstoy's Quest for Meaning in Anna Karenina and Dostoevsky and the Novel of the Accidental Family.
Liza started learning Russian as teenager, after she fell in love with the Russian literature that she read in translation. Early in her studies of Russian, Liza had the privilege of meeting Tolstoy's youngest daughter, Alexandra, who was then approaching ninety. Liza was studying Russian in a program that was held on the Tolstoy Foundation's farm in Valley Cottage, New York. The encounter was on a path outside the barn, where Alexandra Tolstoy had been talking to one of the farm workers, a refugee aided by her foundation. This encounter gave Liza first-hand evidence that Alexandra Tolstoy was very much her father's daughter. Liza's later visit to Tolstoy's Iasnaia Poliana in Russia made the world of Anna Karenina and of Leo Tolstoy really come alive for her.
This summer, Liza, her husband and their sons will move to New York City. Liza will begin teaching at Columbia University in September.
Tolstoy expert, actor and Russia enthusiast (and fluent speaker), Dr. Andy Kaufman has been bringing alive the Russian classics to Americans for over 10 years. Andy first discovered Tolstoy at Amherst College, where he majored in Russian Literature. He developed fluency in Russian, moved to the country, and enrolled at Moscow State University to study and research Tolstoy with Russian scholars. He made a point of living in many of the places featured in Tolstoy's novels.
Through his deep, real-life immersion in Russian culture, Andy realized that the depth and richness of the Russian soul as reflected in the classics provides a positive example of meaningful living in the face of adversity and despair. He shared his insights on a nation-wide talk show in Russia and in an article he published in one of Russia's largest national magazines.
When he returned to the U.S., Andy completed his Ph.D. in Russian Literature at Stanford and wrote his doctoral dissertation about Tolstoy's novels. He has published scholarly articles about Tolstoy, he has taught college students and adults, and he has been a frequent featured guest on Talk America Radio.
Andy trained and worked as a professional actor for five years. He draws on his acting skills to create captivating and enlightening talks and inspirational readings from the Russian classics. Currently residing in Los Angeles, Andy is writing a book about Tolstoy's relevance for positive, everyday living. To learn more about Andrew, visit his website at www.professorandy.com. Amy Mandelker
Amy Mandelker is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She lives with her son in Princeton, New Jersey. She regularly teaches courses in Russian and Victorian literature that include works by Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, and has been instrumental in helping to place Tolstoy in the correct literary tradition in light of feminist scholarship.
Author of books on Russian Literature and the editor of several anthologies, her scholarship on Anna Karenina includes Approaches to Teaching Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, Framing Anna Karenina, the introduction and notes for the 2003 Barnes and Noble edition of Anna Karenina and her work as editor of the "Tolstoy Studies Journal." Anne Hruska
Anne is a teaching fellow in the humanities at Stanford University and has focused a great deal of her scholarship, including her dissertation work, on why Anna Karenina fits into and helps to define the canon of the "family novel."
Anne received her Ph.D. in Slavic Languages and Literature from the University of California at Berkeley. She has taught courses in Russian language, Russian literature and comparative literature at Berkeley and the University of Missouri. She also worked for a year at the Pedagogical Institute in Saratov, Russia, where she taught English language and literature. She has published several articles on 19th-century Russian literature, and is currently at work on an article on contemporary Russian culture. She is also working on a book, "Infected Families: Leo Tolstoy's Polemics on the Nature of Love." Dr. Hruska is particularly interested in the way historical events were interpreted and argued about in Russian fiction, and in the interrelationships between Western and Russian literature. Judith Armstrong
A contributor to Mandelker and Knapp's Approaches to Teaching Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, Judith Armstrong has been instrumental in Tolstoy scholarship, especially our understanding of the novel of infidelity in Russian literature and the psychological or subconscious choices made by Tolstoy's characters. Judith's full-length work on the novel is titled The Unsaid Anna Karenina.