Michael Katz

C.V. Starr Professor Emeritus of Russian and East Eur. Studies

 work(802) 443-5122
  by appointment
 Davis Family Library 358


I graduated from Horace Mann School (New York), and attended Williams College where I was the very first Russian major. Following graduation, I studied at Oxford University and the University of Leningrad, after which I received my D.Phil. (or Ph.D.) in Russian Literature from Oxford. First I taught Russian at Williams; I was Chair of the Department of Slavic Language at the University of Texas at Austin and Director of the Title VI Center for Russian and East European Studies; I became Dean of Language Schools and Schools Abroad at Middlebury in 1998. After my term as Dean ended in 2004, I taught full-time in the Russian Department. I retired from full-time teaching in December 2010.



Course List: 

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

ENGL 7751 - WarPeace & Bros Karamazov      

World Literature

Summer 2014 - BLSE, Summer 2017 - BLSE

More Information »

ENGL 7753 - 19thC Realist Novel Old & New      

World Literature

Summer 2015 - BLSE

More Information »

ENGL 7765 - Modern European Drama      

World Literature

Summer 2018 - BLSE

More Information »

ENGL 7996 - Art of Literary Translation      

World Literature

Summer 2016 - BLSE, BLSE Oxford Term

More Information »

CMLT 1002 - Literature and Liberation      

Literature and Liberation
When Abraham Lincoln finally met Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of the best-selling novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852), he is reported to have said: “So, this is the little lady that started the Civil War.” Published only one decade later, but a whole world away, Nikolai Chernyshevsky’s controversial novel What is to be Done? (1863) has been described as the single work that “supplied the emotional dynamic that eventually went to make the Russian Revolution.” In this course we will focus on these two novels that exerted an immense impact on society, had a powerful effect on human lives, and demonstrate the power to make history. LIT WTR

Winter 2016

More Information »

INTD 1156 - Jewish Humor: No Joke      

Jewish Humor: No Joke!
What makes jokes funny? How do jokes connect with the absurd? How do jokes ameliorate hardship? Is “Jewish humor” distinct from other forms? How? In this course we will investigate Jewish humor, ranging from the Bible to Yiddish writers, its function in the face of persecution (even the Holocaust), and its role in contemporary America and Israel. In addition to studying and enjoying Jewish jokes in literature, film, websites, and other sources, we will consider theories of humor, including Sigmund Freud’s famous essay on jokes, Henri Bergson’s Laughter, and Ted Cohen’s Philosophical Thoughts on Joking Matters. The course will emphasize oral presentation. CMP WTR

Winter 2015

More Information »

INTD 1181 - Dostoevsky: Brothers Karamazov      

Dostoevsky: The Brothers Karamazov
Long recognized as a pinnacle of literary art and a canonical work of Western culture, Dostoevsky’s masterpiece, The Brothers Karamazov (1880) was the Russian author’s final towering achievement that sums up his life and work. The plot involves the mysterious murder of a depraved landowner, the subsequent investigation, sensational trial, and the involvement of his three very different sons in his murder. In a close reading, we will examine the genesis, background, and notebooks of this novel, its philosophical, religious, and psychological themes, and its narrative technique. Readings include Notes from Underground (1864) and Dostoevsky’s famous speech celebrating Pushkin. (1881). (Not open to students who have taken RUSS 0351) EUR LIT WTR

Winter 2017

More Information »

INTD 1198 - Tolstoy's Anna Karenina      

Tolstoy's /Anna Karenina/
Acclaimed by many as the world’s greatest novel, Anna Karenina provides a vast panorama of Russian life in the 19th-century and of humanity in general. In it Tolstoy uses his intense imaginative insight to create some of the most memorable characters in literature. They play out dramatic contrasts between city and country life and numerous variations on love and family happiness. We will supplement the reading of the novel with selections from Tolstoy’s early and late fiction as well as his letters and diary. Students will write two short papers and take a required final examination. EUR LIT WTR

Winter 2018

More Information »

LITS 0705 / ENAM 0705 - Senior Colloquium      

Senior Colloquium in Literary Studies
Although it is required of all Literary Studies senior majors, this course is intended for students working in any discipline who seek a close encounter with some of the greatest achievements of the literary imagination. In addition to being understood as distinctive artistic and philosophical accomplishments, the six major works which constitute the reading list will also be seen as engaged in a vital, overarching cultural conversation across temporal and geographical boundaries that might otherwise seem insurmountable. The texts for this semester are: Homer, The Odyssey; Gogol, Dead Souls; Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishmen/t; Kafka, /The Trial; Pirandello, Six Characters in Search of an Author and Henry IV/; Borges, Ficciones. (Open to non-majors with the approval of the instructor.) 3 hrs., seminar.

Fall 2018

More Information »


I have written two books, one on the literary ballad in early 19th c. Russian poetry and the other on dreams and the unconscious in 19th c. Russian prose. I have translated more than a dozen Russian novels into English, including works by Herzen, Chernyshevsky, Dostoevsky, Turgenev, Tolstoy, Mikhail Artsybashev, Vladimir Jabotinsky, Ivan Shcheglov, Vasily Slepstov, and S. An-sky. I am currently working on an annotated translation of Dostoevsky's novel "Crime and Punishment."

Program in International and Global Studies

Robert A. Jones '59 House
148 Hillcrest Road
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753