September 23, 2002

Sarah Ray



Posted: September 23, 2002

N. Epstein, author of 15 books on Russian cultural theory and a new fictional
work "Cries in the New Wilderness: From the Files of the Moscow Institute
of Atheism," will speak at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 1, on the Middlebury
College campus. Epstein's talk, "The Varieties of Post-Atheist Experience:
Minimal Religion and Sectarian Consciousness in Late Soviet Russia,"
will include readings from his new book. The event will take place in
the conference room in the Robert A. Jones House on Hillcrest Road off
College Street (Route 125), and is free and open to the public.

Epstein is a leading figure
in Russian-American literary and cultural criticism. He is the author
of 15 books and hundreds of articles on Russian literature, religion and
philosophy. Born in Moscow in 1950, he immigrated to the United States
in 1990 and is presently the Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Cultural
Theory and Russian Literature at Emory University. His recent works include
"After the Future: Paradoxes of Postmodernism and Contemporary Russian
Culture," and "Transcultural Experiments: Russian and American
Models of Creative Communication," co-written with Ellen Berry. Epstein
is the recipient of several prizes, including the Liberty Prize, which
is awarded to a prominent Russian cultural figure who has made an outstanding
contribution to American society.

Epstein's new book, "Cries
in the New Wilderness," has recently been published in English by
Paul Dry Books in a translation by Eve Adler, professor of classics at
Middlebury College. A unique "comedy of ideas," it is based
on Epstein's experience of the new religious movements that sprang up
in the latter days of the theoretically atheist Soviet regime. According
to Adler, it illuminates the spiritual condition of the Soviet Union and
also suggests unsuspected affinities between Russian and American culture.
In the mirror of Soviet society, Americans recognize their own enthusiasm
for alternative spiritual experience, their worship of technology, and
their own domestic doomsday cults.

The talk is cosponsored
by two College organizations-the Center for International Affairs and
Atwater Commons. For more information, contact Charlotte Tate at the Middlebury
College Center for International Affairs at tate@middlebury.edu
or 802-443-5795.