Russian literature professor awarded essay prize

Jane Costlow, associate professor of Russian at Bates College, has won the 1997 Heldt Prize for best essay in Slavic women’s studies. The award is given annually by the Association of Women in Slavic Studies. Costlow’s essay, The Gallop, the Wolf, the Caress: Eros and Nature in ‘The Tragic Menagerie’, explores Lydia Zinovieava-Annibal’s 1907 autobiographical novel, an account of childhood in Russia just before the revolution. The author was a turn-of-the-century writer married to the famous poet Ivanov.

According to Costlow, the book, just republished in Russia, is one of the great forgotten works of pre-revolutionary Russia, the story of a young girl between the ages of eight and 14 as she “comes to an awareness of herself and the world around her,” Costlow said.

Costlow also has translated the novel into English, to be published in 1998 by Northwestern University Press. She decided to translate the work after using a few chapters in a Russian literature class at Bates, where themes of girlhood and environmental issues resonated with students. A member of the Bates faculty since 1986, Costlow graduated from Duke University and received master’s and doctoral degrees from Yale University. She lives with her family in Auburn.

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