Alexandra Curtis ’20, a recipient of a 2018 Charles H. Salisbury Summer International Internship Stipend, is delving into Russian folklore and the art of literary translation at the A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature at the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow.
There, Curtis is helping edit and translate Russian folklore and academic texts into English, building on her academic background as a double-major in comparative literature and Russian area studies.
“The First-Year Seminar I took on Russian folklore provided a critical understanding of the styles and motifs commonly used in this genre and a familiarity with many of its most popular stories,” says Curtis.
In addition to her coursework in literary theory and Russian language, Curtis’ experiences as a writing colleague, a teaching colleague, and on the 2016-17 trip to Moscow and St. Petersburg with other HWS students and faculty helped prepare her for the literary, cultural and professional demands of the position.
This summer, she will work with Professor and Chief Curator of the Folklore Archive of the Russian Academy of Sciences Yelena Minyonok, a connection she made through Associate Professor of Russian Area Studies David Galloway.
During the months she’s in Russia, Curtis will participate in a folklore expedition led by Minyonok to the city of Irkutsk before “traveling to small towns in the area and recording villagers performing folklore stories, to be catalogued back in Moscow,” Curtis says.
Created in 2007 by Honorary Trustee Charles H. Salisbury Jr. ’63, P’94, L.H.D.’08, the Salisbury Stipend is one of the most ambitious programs in the Colleges’ history. The program provides financial support for travel, lodging and expenses for students interested in pursuing an international internship experience in a location of the student’s choice. By supplementing classroom education with professional experience, students gain a practical understanding of the demands and rewards of future career opportunities as well as an opportunity to test their skills and realize their potential.