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Donna McCracken

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This Year



UIS professor publishes book on Symbolist writer

February 1, 2005

SPRINGFIELD - Rosina Neginsky, a faculty member at the University of Illinois at Springfield, will sign copies of her new book, Zinaida Vengerova: In Search of Beauty. A Literary Ambassador between East and West, at 5:15 p.m. Thursday, February 17, at the Springfield Art Association, 700 N. Fourth St., Springfield.

A reception will follow; both the signing and reception are free and open to the public.

Though little-known today, Zinaida Vengerova (1867-1941) was in her lifetime an important Symbolist writer and literary critic. Neginsky describes her book as “a biography, but also a cultural history and literary criticism that discusses issues related to the turn of the century in Europe.”

She explained, “In this book, Vengerova, a once famous literary critic, whose importance for the turn of the century European intellectual world is no longer appreciated, receives her first full length systematic study. Her intellectual exploration at the turn of the 19th century brought her into contact with Symbolist ideas from several European countries, and she used her profound understanding of these different currents of Symbolism to fashion for herself and ambassadorial role between Western Europe and Russia. Her critical studies introduced Russian intellectuals to a wide spectrum of Western European literature, art, and thought and, as a regular contributor to publications in Paris and London, she acquainted a Western audience with Chekhov and other fin-de-siècle Russian writers.

"This book examines her life and work, and the intellectual milieu in which she lived. It also serves as a window on Western European and Russian cultural history from the end of the 19th century through the pre-war period and into the age of the Russian émigrés in the 1920s and 1930s.”

Neginsky first became intrigued with Vengerova when, as a freshman at the University of Paris, she met Nikolai Ivanovich Gogolev, a scholar and teacher who had been born at the turn of the 20th century into a family of Russian intellectuals.  “He had a special love, taste, and understanding of turn-of the-century culture,” said Neginsky. “When he was a child, Vengerova’s articles and books, as well as her translations, were on the shelves of most educated Russian families.” His enthusiasm inspired her, and she decided to learn more.

In Search of Beauty is published by Peter Lang (University of Heidelberg series), Germany.

Currently associate professor of Liberal Studies and Individual Option at UIS, Neginsky is also an affiliated member of the English faculty. Her primary teaching and research interests include European literature and cinema, women writers, and the symbolist movement in Europe. She is the author of two books of poetry, Under the Light of the Moon and Dancing over the Precipice. Neginsky holds degrees from the University of Paris III and earned the Ph.D. in comparative literature at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

For more information, contact Neginsky at 206-7431.


    The University of Illinois at Springfield, one of three U of I campuses, is a small, public liberal arts university that offers 42 degree programs – 21 bachelor’s, 20 master’s, and the Doctorate of Public Administration. UIS has a special mission in public affairs and service and is known for extraordinary internships, a wireless campus, extensive online offerings, and a commitment to teaching.