Svetlana Boym 1959-2015
Svetlana Boym, Professor of Slavic Literature and Languages and of Comparative Literature at Harvard, will not be known to many students of our discipline. Hopefully in the years to come that will change. Her works on nostalgia and freedom are indispensable guides to understanding the longings and belongings which characterise the human condition in the modern age. Her examination of these through the twists and turns of aesthetics, politics, history, art and philosophy defy conventional academic boundaries and mix personal narrative and incisive analysis with an unrivalled poetic flair.
Svetlana was, by some distance, the most brilliant original and witty thinker I have ever encountered. She was also one of the warmest. We became friends following an unlikely though fortuitous chain of events. Her untimely passing at the age of 56 following a struggle with cancer leaves the world a poorer, less vibrant and colourful place. The academic world will miss her daring originality. For those who knew her personally and whose lives she enriched it is an incalculable loss.
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