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“Russia in My Life.” Anthony Cross in conversation with Ksenia Afonina (CamRuSS).

Tuesday 30 January, 18:30 - 20:00

| £5 – £8

St Petersburg, 2010. The Second International Congress of Petrine Cities, organised by the Institute of Peter the Great.

This is a special opportunity to meet and hear Anthony Cross, who was Professor of Slavonic Studies at the University of Cambridge from 1985 to 2004, reminisce about the role Russia and the Russian language have played in his life and career.  His unexpected ‘immersion’ in Russian during his National Service in 1955-7 was the beginning of his journey into Russian Studies and his emergence as one of the most influential figures in British and international Slavic Studies as both scholar and organiser/initiator over the next half-century.  

This is a continuation of our series of talks by distinguished members of our community initiated by Sir Tony Brenton at the last AGM of the Cambridge Russian-Speaking Society in January 2023. Tony has kindly agreed to share his personal history of relations with Russia and of meetings with scholars and literary figures such as Anna Akhmatova,and Dmitrii Likhachev, and to answer questions about people, places and adventures.

 After student years at Cambridge and Harvard, Tony began his teaching career at the newly established University of East Anglia in 1964 and remained until 1981, when he became Roberts Professor of Russian at Leeds, before his election four years later to the Cambridge chair.  He was the third professor in the Department of Slavonic Studies until his retirement in 2004.  (Professor Emma Widdis is only the fifth in the Department’s 75-year history.)

 From the very beginning of his career Tony was very involved in the organisational and representative aspects of Russian studies. He served on the editorial board of many journals and the organising committees of national and international conferences and seminars. He was the founder of the Study Group on Eighteenth-Century Russia in 1967 and editor of its annual Newsletter for nearly twenty years. What he considers to be his final publication was ‘The SGECR: The First Fifty years’, published last November. In the 1970s he was a member of the British Council Interview Committee for postgraduate studentships in the Soviet Union. He was also Chairman of the British Academic Committee for Liaison with Soviet Archives, which performed an important service for British researchers in a very difficult period.

 Since his first visit to Moscow and Leningrad as a Cambridge undergraduate in 1959, Tony has visited the Soviet Union and Russia some fifty times, including a year as a post-graduate scholar in Moscow University during the Cuban Crisis. He has a particular affinity with St Petersburg, where he became the first (and only one of two) foreigner to be awarded an Honorary Doctorate by The Institute of Russian Literature odf the Russian Academy of Sciences (Pushkin House).

‘Mementos from A. Cross’s visits to the Soviet Union’

 Tony was the first Professor of Russian elected to the British Academy in 1989 and has received several prizes for his published work. He has written and edited some twenty-five books, including exhibition catalogues, and has published over four hundred articles, notes and reviews; delivered some 200 invited lectures, consulted and curated exhibitions and historic publications. He has been a Patron of The Cambridge Russian-Speaking Society since 2020. 


Among Anthony Cross’s principal publications are: 

 N.M. Karamzin: A Study of His Literary Career 1783-1801 (1971); 

By the Banks of the Thames: Russians in Eighteenth-Century Britain (1980) (Russian translation 2006); 

The Russian Theme in English Literature from the Sixteenth Century to 1980(1985); 

Anglo-Russica: Aspects of Anglo-Russian Relations in the Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries (1993); 

By the Banks of the Neva: Chapters from the Lives and Careers of the British in Eighteenth-Century Russia (1996) (Russian translation 2005); 

Peter the Great through British Eyes (2000) (Russian translation 2013). 

 (By the Banks of the Neva was awarded the 1998 Antsiferov Prize for the best work on St Petersburg published by a foreign author in 1996-1997. 

 His most recent books are A People Passing Rude: British Responses to Russian Culture (2013) (www.openbookpublishers.com/product/160) and In the Lands of the Romanovs: An Annotated Bibliography of English-language First-hand Accounts of Russia, 1613-1917, (www.openbookpublishers.com/product/268), both published by Open Book Publishers of Cambridge.

WHEN: Tuesday, 30 January, 18:30 – 20:00(GMT). Followed by a wine reception.
WHERE: Gordon Cameron Lecture Theatre, Fitzwilliam College and online via Zoom.
LANGUAGE: The talk will be in English.
TICKETS: book via allevents . Offline – £8/£5( members and concessions), online – £5/free( members and concessions). If participating online after booking your ticket, please register for zoom.


Tuesday 30 January
18:30 - 20:00
£5 – £8
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Gordon Cameron Lecture Theatre, Fitzwilliam College
Storey's Way
Cambridge, CB3 0DG United Kingdom
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