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Morson Awarded for Outstanding Scholarship

January 26, 2009 | by Wendy Leopold
EVANSTON, Ill. --- Gary Saul Morson, professor and chair of Slavic languages and literatures at Northwestern University, has received the 2008 Award for Outstanding Contribution to Scholarship from the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and Eastern European Languages (AATSEEL).

In selecting Morson for the lifetime achievement award the association noted that it has been 30 years since the publication of "The Reader as Voyeur," Morson's first essay on Tolstoy. "Since its publication, no one has read Tolstoy's Sevastopol Stories in quite the same way."

Morson, who also is Frances Hooper Professor of Arts and Humanities, joined the Northwestern faculty in 1985. He is known as a flamboyant and dramatic lecturer who performs texts with a passion that often elicits standing ovations from his students.

Morson's research interests include literary theory, the history of Russian and European ideas, the philosophy of time, literary genres including satire, utopia and the novel, and his favorite writers -- Chekhov, Gogol, and, above all, Dostoevsky and Tolstoy.

Morson's latest book, "Anna Karenina in Our Time" was selected as a Favorite Book of 2007 by "Books and Culture" and received rave reviews on publication by Yale University Press. He has won "best book of the year" awards from both the American Comparative Literature Association and AATSEEL.

For decades, Morson's lecture courses on Tolstoy and Dostoevsky "have been the envy of every Slavic department that wonders where (its) majors have gone," wrote AATSEEL representatives in giving Morson the lifetime achievement award. They noted that Morson's Tolstoy and Dostoevsky class drew close to 600 students in the 2008 fall quarter.

Morson was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1995.
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