Maxim D. Shrayer --  Максим Д. Шраер

 Maxim D. Shrayer, Professor of Russian and English
 Department of Slavic & Eastern Languages and Literatures

Boston College, 210 Lyons Hall
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467 USA
voice: (617) 552-3911 fax: (617) 552-3913 e-mail:

Literary website:

Curriculum Vitae

Curriculum Vitae in pdf format

Photo © 1999 by Karen E. Lasser

Leaving Russia: A Jewish Story

Dinner with Stalin and Other Stories

I Saw It: Ilya Selvinsky and the Legacy of Bearing Witness to the Shoah

Books, Publications, Research

Prose, Poetry, Translations         
Media Appearances

David Shrayer-Petrov

The Michael B. Kreps Memorial Readings


 CURRICULUM VITAE                                         


Yale University Ph.D
, 1995
Russian literature; minor in film studies

Ph.D. Dissertation: "The Poetics of Vladimir Nabokov's Short Stories,
with Reference to Anton Chekhov and Ivan Bunin."

Yale University M.A., M.Phil., 1992
Russian Literature

Rutgers University M.A., 1990
Comparative Literature

Brown University B.A., 1989
Comparative Literature, Honors in Literary Translation

Moscow University, 1984-89
Transferred to Brown University upon immigrating to the U.S.A in August 1987


Boston College

Professor of Russian, English, and Jewish Studies
Department of Slavic and Eastern Languages and Literatures,
with a courtesy appointment in the English Department (since 2000)

Associate Professor
Department of Slavic and Eastern Languages and Literatures

Assistant Professor
Department of Slavic and Eastern Languages and Literatures

Connecticut College
Assistant Professor
Department of Russian and East European Studies

Yale University
Teaching Fellow
Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures

Middlebury College
Russian School
Summers: 1991; 1992; 1993; 1994

Indiana University
Visiting Lecturer
Workshop in Slavic Languages
Department of Slavic Languages
Summer 1990

Rutgers University
Department of Slavic Languages

Brown University
Teaching Assistant
Slavic Department


At Boston College, 1996-present


            Undergraduate courses:


Exile and Literature

Genocide and Crimes against Humanity (pilot core course; co-taught with Devin Pendas)

Jewish Writers in Russia and America
Genocide and Crimes against Humanity

Tolstoy and Dostoevsky


Classics of Russian Literature

Twentieth-Century Russian Literature

Russian and Soviet Cinema

Desire and Death in Literature

Advanced Russian Grammar


            Graduate courses:


The Art and Craft of Literary Translation: Seminar  

Nabokov: Seminar

Chekhov: Seminar

Exile: Seminar

Russian and American Jewish Literature: Seminar

Dostoevsky and Tolstoy: Seminar 

W. H. Auden and the Writing of Exile

Romanticism in Russian Literature: Seminar (in Russian)

Klassicheskaia russkaia literature (Classics of Russian Literature, in Russian)

Russkaia literature XX veka (Twentieth-Century Russian Literature, in  Russian)

Russian Emigré Literature, The First Wave, 1920-1940: Seminar (in Russian)

Advanced Russian Translation and Composition


Other Teaching:


Nonfiction Writing (South Chatham Writers’ Workshop, July 2014)

Introduction to Holocaust Literature (Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro [PUC-Rio], Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May-June 2012)

Approaches to Vladimir Nabokov (The Vladimir Nabokov Museum, St. Petersburg,

            Russia, July 2000)

Women’s Time in Russian Literature (Connecticut College, 1996).

Modernism and Postmodernism in the Soviet Period (Connecticut College, 1995)

Russian Literature in Motion (Connecticut College, 1995)

Advanced Russian (Connecticut College, 1995-1996)

Third-Year Russian (Connecticut College, 1995; Yale University, 1992-1994; Middlebury College, summers 1991-1994; Brown University, 1988-1989)

First-Year Russian Rutgers University, 1989-1990)

Russian through Video (Indiana University, summer 1990)


Chair, Department of Slavic & Eastern Languages and Literatures
Boston College

Founding Co-Director, Jewish Studies Program
Boston College

Director of Graduate Studies
Department of Slavic and Eastern Languages and Literatures
Boston College
2000-2002; 2003-2004

Director of Undergraduate Studies
Department of Slavic and Eastern Languages and Literatures
Boston College




Faculty mentor to Associate Professor Franck Salameh (Boston College), 2005-present.


Faculty mentor to Visiting Professor Rita Filanti (University of Bari, Italy), Spring 2011.

Faculty Mentor to Adjunct Assistant Professor Atef Ghobrial (Boston College), 2013-present.

Faculty Mentor to Visiting Scholar, Associate Professor E. G. Trubetskova (Saratov State University, Russia), November-Decenmber 2015.

Directed over twenty graduate and undergraduate theses and research projects in English, Russian, and Jewish Studies.

Served as external dissertation reader at universities of the Russian Federation.




Undergraduate Research Grant. Boston College.



Fellowship, for the development of a pilot core course, Genocide and Crimes against Humanity (with Prof. Devin Pendas). Boston College.

Research Incentive Grant. Boston College.



Symposium Grant. Dinner with Stalin and Other Stories & the Arts of Translation.

             Institute for the Liberal Arts, Boston College.


Library Research Grant. Boston College Libraries.



Finalist, National Jewish Book Awards (category: Modern Jewish Thought and Experience),

            for Leaving Russia: A Jewish Story



The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship.

Research Incentive Grant. Boston College.


Scholar of the Year. Chosen by Forum, a Jewish-Russian American weekly.


The 2009 Distinguished Scholarship Award. Jewish Studies Program, Boston College.

The Faculty Fellowship. Boston College.

The Teaching and Mentoring Grant, Boston College.


The National Jewish Book of the Year in Eastern European Studies (the Ronald S. Lauder Award); Runner-Up in Anthologies and Collections, both for An Anthology of Jewish-Russian Literature.

The Research Incentive Grant, Boston College.

The Bogliasco Fellowship in the Humanities, Centro Studi Ligure per le arti e le lettere, Bogliasco, Italy, October-November 2004. The Bogliasco Foundation. 

The Faculty Fellowship. Boston College.

The Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship, The Study and Conference Center, Bellagio, Italy. The Rockefeller Foundation. 

The Distinguished Research Award. Boston College. 

80% Sabbatical for 2002-03. Boston College. 


Research Grant for 1998-1999. The Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture. 

The Research and Travel Grant. The Lucius N. Littauer Foundation.

Short-Term Grant for Visiting Scholars. The Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies.

Fellowship for University Teachers for 1998-99. National Endowment for the Humanities.


Center Associate, 1997-presently, Harvard University, Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies. 

The Research Incentive Grant. Boston College. 

Research and Travel Grant. The Lucius N. Littauer Foundation. 


Short-Term Grant for Visiting Scholars. The Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies. 


The Robert M. Leylan Dissertation Fellowship in Humanities. Yale University.

The Moscow University Academic Exchange Fellowship. Yale University. 

Short-Term Grant for Visiting Scholars. The Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies.


The John F. Enders Research Grant. Yale University.

The Peter J. Wallace Memorial Prize for the Best Short Story (co-Recipient). Yale University


The Ford Foundation Odyssey Fellowship for Undergraduate Teaching. Brown University.


Founder and Moderator, Michael B. Kreps Memorial Poetry Readings, Boston College, 1997-present
(13 events conducted).

Chair, Jews of Russia/Eastern Europe Seminar, Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University, 2015-present.

Series Editor, Jews of Russia & Eastern Europe: Culture, History, Legacy, Academic Studies Press (Boston, USA), 2014-present. (6 books published to date.)

Chair of the Organizing Committee, Nabokov Readings 2012-present. Vladimir Nabokov Museum-St. Petersburg State University,
St. Petersburg, Russia.

Member, Tenure and Promotion Committee, College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, Boston College, 2014-2016.

Member, Advisory Board, Jewish Studies Program, Boston College, 2004-present.
Member, University Research Council, Boston College, 2003-2006.

Member, Research Incentive Grant Review Board, Boston College, 2013.

Chairman, Editorial Board, Nabokovskii sbornik (St. Petersburg), 2010-2016.

Outside Proposal/Grant Evaluator: John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, Israel Science Foundation, National Endowment for Humanities; American Academy in Berlin and other foundations.

Outside Referee, Academic Studies Press, University of Texas Press, Northwestern University Press, Pennsylvania State University Press, University of South Carolina Press, Rowman & Littlefield, Yale University Press, Lehigh University Press, Rowman & Littlefield, Journal of Modern Jewish Studies, From the Other Shore, Russian Review, Religion and the Arts, Slavic and East European Journal, Slavonic and East European Review, Nabokov Online Journal, Nabokov Studies, New Writing, Canadian Slavonic Papers and other presses and journals.

Consultant Editor for Russia and the former Soviet Union; Member of the Editorial Board, Encyclopedia of Contemporary Jewish Culture, ed. by Sander L. Gilman (London: Routledge, project on hold).

Organizer, Slavic and Eastern Languages and Literatures Department Celebration, 75th Anniversary of the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, Boston College, February 2004.

Member, Editorial Board, From the Other Shore, 2001-2004.

Member, Editorial Board, Bee Museum, 2005-2007.

Member, Editorial Board, Knjizevna smotra, 2006-present.

Member, Editorial Board, Nabokovskii sbornik (St. Petersburg), 2010-present.

Member, Editorial Board, The Levantine Review (Boston), 2011-present.

Member, Editorial Board, Izvestiia Saratovskogo universiteta [Annals of Saratov University]. Novaia seriia. Seriia Filologiia. Zhurnalistika. 2013-present.

Member, Board, Millersville University Annual Conference on the Holocaust and Genocide, 2011-present.

Member, International Cooperation Committee, Association for Jewish Studies (AJS), 2008-present.

Member, Bluhm Lecture Committee, Boston College, 1999-2002.

Organizer, Symposium: Dinner with Stalin & Other Stories and the Art of Translation. Boston College, 11 November 2014.

Member At-Large, Program Committee, American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages (AATSEEL), 1999-2003.

Member, Publications Committee of the American Association of Teachers of Slavic  and East European Languages (AATSEEL), 1997-2000.

Organizer, Symposium: Dinner with Stalin & Other Stories and the Art of Translation. Boston College, 11 November 2014.
        (Sponsored by the Institute for the Liberal Arts, Boston College.)

Co-Organizer, Jewish Literature, Spring 2006, A Project of the Boston College Jewish Studies Program.

Organizer and Moderator, Panel on “Antisemitism and Jewish Identity.” Moscow International Conference on Combating Antisemitism “Protecting the Future.” Moscow, Russia, 1 November 2016.

Organizer, Roundtable “Anthologies of Slavic Literature, the 2013 Conference of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES), Boston.

Organizer, Panel, “Recent Cultural and Historical Perspectives on the Holocaust in Eastern Europe and the USSR.” The VIII World Congress of the International Council for Central and East European Studies. Stockholm, Sweden, July 2010.

Organizer, Slavic & Eastern Languages and Literatures Department Celebration, 75th Anniversary of the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, February 2004.

Co-Organizer, Lecture and Presentation by Oleg Dorman, Boston College, 26 April 2010.

Organizer, Roundtable, "Anthologies of Slavic Literatures," the 2013 ASEEES Conference, Boston.

Co-Organizer (with Antony Polonsky), Roundtable, “Anthologies of Jewish Literature,” the 2010 Conference of the Association of Jewish Studies (AJS).

Organizer, Panel, “Recent Cultural and Historical Perspectives on the Holocaust in Eastern Europe and the USSR.” The VIII World Congress of the International Council for Central and East European Studies (ICCEES). Stockholm, Sweden, July 2010.

Organizer, Panel, “Jewish Writers in Eastern Europe during and after the Shoah,” the 2008 Conference of the Association for Jewish Studies (AJS).

Organizer, Panel, "The Jewish Question in Russian Literature," the 1998 Conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies (AAASS).

Organizer, Panel, "Recent Studies of Nabokov," the 1998 Conference of the New England Slavic Association (NESA).

Organizer and Chair, Panel, "Metaphysics and Sexuality," the 1996 AATSEEL Conference.

Organizer and Chair, Student-Faculty Colloquium "Visual Arts and Theater in the Early Soviet Period," October 1995, Connecticut College.

Organizer, Soviet Film Series "Twilight Freedom," Connecticut College, October 1995.

Organizer, Panel, "Protean Genres: Autobiographical and Epistolary Modes in Russian Prose," the 1994 AAASS Conference.

Co-organizer (with Robert L. Jackson), Dostoevsky Symposium, Spring 1993, Yale University.

Organizer and Chair, Panel, "Romantic Idealism and Romantic Irony in Russia," the 1991 AATSEEL Conference.

Discussant and chair of panels at many international, national, and regional conferences and symposia.

PERSONAL: Born June 5, 1967, Moscow, Russia; naturalized as U.S. citizen in February 1993. 
Married to Karen E. Lasser, MD, MPH.  Two daughters.

 Back to the top


BOOKS, PUBLICATIONS, RESEARCH                                



Bunin i Nabokov. Istoriia sopernichestva. (Bunin and Nabokov. A History of Rivalry). Moscow: Alpina Non-fiction, 2014 (cloth; ebook); 2nd edition 2015.

Longlisted for the 2016 Bunin Prize.

Chinese translation, tr. Wang Fang, Harbin: Heilongjiang Educational Publishing House, 2016.

Slovak translation, tr. Miloš Ferko. Bratislava: Vydavateľstvo Spolku slovenských spisovateľov, 2016.


Reviews and media coverage:

Novosti literatury 2 August 2014; Komsomol’skaia Pravda 14 August 2014; Look at Me 21 August 2014 [chosen among “11 books of August” 2014]; 24 August 2014; Azbuka chteniia. Litobzor s Ol’goi Lebedushkinoi, Radio Kul’tura 96.1 FM, 4 September 2014; Aeroflot October 2014: 50; Forbes Russia [chosen among “25 main cultural events of autumn” 2014]; Liter (Kazakhstan) 11 September 2014; Novosti Peterburga 17 September 2014; ExLibris NG 18 September 2014 [“5 books of the week”]; Ekho Moskvy 29 September 2014; Poridok slov s Nikolaiem Aleksandrovym, OTR (Russian Public Television) 15 October 2014; Feliz 2 (2014); Piat; knig, kotorye stoit poiskat’ na iarmarke [chosen among 5 book at the 2014 non/fictio№ Book Fair in Moscow] Shest’ knizhnykh novinok etoi nedeli [chosen among 6 new books], Rossiiskaia gazeta 25 November 2014; Moi raion 26 November 2014; Nabokov protiv vsekh Interview Russia 27 November 2014; Pishi-chitai 30 November 2014; Komsomol’skaia pravda 3 December 2014; Marie Claire (Russia) Fall 2014 [chosen among top 8 nonfiction books]; Kapital’’ Novosibirskii knizhnyi magazin. Blog 22 December 2014; Kommercheskie vesti (Omsk) 24 December 2014; “Afisha. Knizhnaia lavka,” Radio Kul’tura 5 January 2015; Neproshedshee vremia s Maiei Peshkovoi (Unpast time with Maya Peshkova), Ekho Moskvy 18 January 2014; 19 January 2015; Tallinn 1 (2015); 27 March 2015; Slavic Review 74.3 (Fall 2015); Volltext 2 (2015); Sever 9-10 (2015); Russian Review 74.3 (July 2015); Polezno o krasote: Beauty, baby, budget ( 27 November 2015; Slavic and East European Journal, 59.3 (Fall 2015); Komsomol'skia pravda (Kyiv) 10 February 2016; Sait o talante, 19 March 2016;

“Odin/Dmitri Bykov” Ekho Moskvy 6 May 2016.

Review articles:


U.R. Bowie in 19 January 2015.


“Iwan Bunin und Vladimir Nabokov. Geschichte einer Rivalität,” by Felix Philipp Ingold. Neue Zürcher Zeitung 22 May 2015.


“Riabchiki kak simvol russkoi literatury” (Hazel Grouses as a Symbol of Russian Literature), by Aleksei Filimonov. Sever 9-10 (2015): 234-236.


Interview and feature article: “Sostiazanie geniev” (Contest of Geniuses), by Tatiana Voltskaya, Radio Svoboda (Radio Liberty),, 8 August 2015.


“Der Fortschriftt am Ende. Literarische Kreativität zwischen ‘Kampf’ und ‘Bastelei,’” by Felix Philipp Ingold. Volltext 2 (2015): 4.

Excerpts featured: Bumaga 28 August 2014; Russkaia planeta 30 August 2014, rpt. Peterburgskaia gazeta 5 September 2014; Afisha-Vozdukh 5 September 2014; [Literatura po piatnitsam] 26 September 2014; rpt. (Kyrgyzstan) 23 October 2014.

Watch a short video about Bunin i Nabokov. Istoriia sopernichestva



Leaving Russia: A Jewish Story. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2013 (cloth; ebook). (The Library of Modern Jewish Literature.) Paperback forthcoming, 2017.

Finalist, 2013 National Jewish Book Awards, Modern Jewish Thought and Experience.

Featured book, Jewish Book Council Weekly, 2 December 2013.

Sections of Leaving Russia featured:

My Last Soviet Summer,Moment Magazine Blog 24 March 2014.


Refusenik,” Boston College Magazine (Winter 2014): 45-46.


"The Only Jewish Kid in His Moscow Class: Remembering a Childhood in the Soviet Union." The Jewish Daily Forward 6 December 2013.

"Dunes of Happiness: Fifteen Summers in Estonia," Baltic Worlds 6.2 (September 2013): 41-43.

Croatian Translation: Dne srece: Petnaest godina u Estoniji. Tr. from the English by Adrian Cvitanovic.  Knijizevna Smotra, Special issue: Water. 145.3 (2007):117-128.

Reviews: The Jewish Journal 28 November 2013; Jewish Book World (Winter 2013); Brown Alumni Monthly July/August 2014; The Russian Review 73.4 (October 2014);
The Boston Bibliophile 16 February 2016Slavic and East European Journal 59.4 (Spring 2016).

Scholarship & criticism:

Adrian Wanner, “Writing the Translingual Life: Recent Memoirs and Auto-Fiction by Russian-American and Russian-German Novelists,” L2 Journal 7.1 (2015): 141-151.

Julian Fürst, The Difficult Process of Leaving a Place of Non-Belonging: Maxim D. Shrayer’s Memoir, Leaving Russia: A Jewish Story,” Journal of Jewish Identities 8.2 (July 2015): 189-208.

View a short video about Leaving Russia

Media coverage of Leaving Russia:

Feature, interview and sample pages in Faculty Publication Highlights, Boston College Libraries  (Fall 2014).

“The Émigré Aesthetic,” by Sandee Bravarsky, The Jewish Week 26 November 2014.

Leaving Russia,” by Irina Misiuro, The Jewish Voice 27 March 2014.

Leaving Russia He Had Learned to Love: Maxim Shrayer Recalls the Many Paradoxes of Life as a Refusenik,” by Johanna Ginsberg,
New Jersey Jewish News
26 March 2014.

Pokidaia Rossiiu: Evreiskaia istoriia” (Leaving Russia: A Jewish Story), by Lea Zeltserman, 5 March 2014.

Avtoportret otkaznika v iunosti” (A Portrait of a Refusenik as a Young Man), by Lea Zeltserman, 24 February 2014.

“Leaving Russia,” by Annette Gendler., 14 February 2014.

“Shrayer’s Memoir Chronicle Exodus from Russia,” by Rebecca Moretti, The BC Heights, 12 December 2013.

Growing Up Refusenik: A Q&S with Maxim Shrayer on His New Memoir,” by Lea Zeltserman, Soviet Samovar 12 December 2013.


"Leaving, and Looking Back," by Rosanne Pellegrini, The Boston College Chronicle 2 December 2013.

"'Leaving Russia' Poignantly Captures Double Life of Refusenik," by Yulia Zhorov, The Jewish Journal 28 November 2013.

"Leaving Russia," by Frau Tutti, 27 September 2013.


I SAW IT: Ilya Selvinsky and the Legacy of Bearing Witness to the Shoah. Boston: Academic Studies Press, 2013. (Series: Studies in Russian and Slavic Literatures, Cultures and History.)


Sections of I SAW IT featured:

Ilya Selvinsky and Soviet Shoah Poetry in 1945.” Around the Point: Studies in JewishLiterature and Culture in Multipal Languages. Ed. Hillel Weiss, Roman Katsman and  Ber Kotlerman. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2014. 566-584.

Il’ia Sel’vinskii i pamiat’ o Shoa vesnoi 1945 goda” (Ilya Selvinsky and Shoah Memory in the Spring of 1945). 30 November 2013.

Il’ia Sel’vinskii, svidetel’ Shoa” (Ilya Selvinsky, Shoah Witness). Novyi mir 4 (2013), 146-166.

Reviews: Choice 51:1 (November 2013); Reference and Research Book News (August 2013); The Jewish Quarterly 60.3-4 (Autumn-Winter 2013); The Russian Review 73.1 (January 2014); Times Literary Supplement 18 April 2014: 25; Slavic Review 73.3 (Fall 2014); Slavic and East European Journal 58.3 (Fall 2014); Cahiers du monde russe 56.4 (2015).