Laura Shannon Prize Winner

Eurasia without Borders

Publisher: Harvard University Press

Publication Year: 2021

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Eurasia without Borders: The Dream of a Leftist Literary Commons, 1919–1943

by Katerina Clark

2024 Silver Medalist in Humanities

Jury Statement

“Deeply researched and expertly written, Katerina Clark’s Eurasia without Borders: The Dream of a Leftist Literary Commons 1919-1943 is a path-breaking study of the Soviet ambition to create an international ‘leftist literary commons.’ Clark invites us to reimagine the territory of Modernist ‘world literature’ as she also raises significant questions about the political aims and consequences of literary forms. Russia’s turn to the East, with its mandate that Moscow remain the ‘center,’ here stands in dramatic contrast to the Paris and Berlin-located models of global republics of letters that have dominated Modernist studies. Clark narrates the ways earlier tenets of socialist realism were replaced by a broader set of aesthetic possibilities as the aim of anti-imperialism gave way to anti-fascism. In doing so, she enriches our sense of how an obligation to the representation of proletarian life famously came into tension with the formal ambitions of the radical avant-garde. Throughout, Clark offers detailed and fully contextualized accounts of individual artists and individual works. To be cosmopolitan in this world meant not so much to take an urbane and high culture viewpoint, but to become familiar with, and represent, the worlds of the working class wherever they were found. With Eurasia without Borders, Katerina Clark truly redraws the map of twentieth-century comparative literature.”

Final Jury

Eliot Borenstein
Professor of Russian & Slavic Studies
New York University

Nicola Gess
Professor of German Literature
University of Basel

Gregory Kucich
Professor of English
University of Notre Dame

Heather Hyde Minor
Professor of 16th–18th century Europe in the Department of Art, Art History, and Design
University of Notre Dame

Susan Stewart
Avalon Foundation University Professor of the Humanities, Emerita
Princeton University