Леонид Ливак


Professor at the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of Toronto; Chercheur associé. Centre d’études des mondes russe, caucasien et centre européen. EHESS-Paris; Faculty at the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies, University of Toronto


Graduated from University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (B.A., 1993), University of Wisconsin-Madison (M.A.: Slavic languages and literature, 1996), Middlebury College (M.A. French language and literature, 1998); got Ph.D in Slavic languages and literatures at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1999

Research interests: Russian literature, Slavic studies, Jewish studies, Russian modernism, Russian émigré literature in France


Awards and distinctions

Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (since 2020)

Resident Research Fellow. L’Institut d’études avancées de Paris. 2014-2015

Standard Research Grant. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. 2010-2014

Publication Grant. Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences. 2009

Standard Research Grant. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. 2005-2008

Outstanding Teaching Award. Faculty of Arts and Science. University of Toronto. 2005

Dissertation Fellowship. Eurasia Program. Social Science Research Council. US Dept. of State. 1998-1999


Academic publications — over 60 publications, including 4 monographs. 


  • In Search of Russian Modernism. Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2018. In English
  • The Jewish Persona in the European Imagination: A Case of Russian Literature. Stanford, Stanford University Press, 2010. In English
  • Émigrés in the Intellectual and Literary Life of Interwar France: A Bibliographical Essay. Montréal, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2010. In English
  • How It was Done in Paris: Russian Émigré Literature and French Modernism. Madison, University of Wisconsin Press, 2003. In English


Critical editions

  • Once Upon a Time there was a Translator: Lyudmila Savitskaya and Konstantin Balmont, comp., text ed., introd., notes. by L. Livak. Moscow, Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie Publ., 2019. In Russ.
  • Ludmila Savitzky, portrait d’une traductrice. Paris, Archives contemporaines, 2019. (In collaboration with Patrick Hersant). In French
  • Literary avant-garde of Russian Paris, 1920–1926: History. Chronicle. Anthology. Documents. Moscow, OGI Publ., 2014. (In collaboration with Andrei Ustinov). In Russ.
  • Fel’zen, Iu. Collected works: in 2 vols., ed. by L. Livak. Moscow, Vodolei Publ., 2012. In Russ.
  • Le Studio franco-russe, textes réunis et présentés par Leonid Livak; sous la rédaction de Gervaise Tassis. Toronto, Toronto Slavic Library, 2005. In French


Edited collections and special journal issues


  • A Reader's Guide to Andrei Bely's “Petersburg”. Madison, University of Wisconsin Press, 2018. In English

  • Russian Literature and the West: A Tribute for David M. Bethea: in 2 vols. Stanford, Stanford Slavic Studies, 2008. (In collaboration with Alexander Dolinin and Lazar Fleishman). In English
  • From the Other Shore: Russian Writers Abroad, Past and Present, vols. 1–4, 2001–2004. In English
  • Canadian-American Slavic Studies, vol. 37, no. 1–2, 2003. (Special issue: Russian Cultural Life in Exile). In English



  • “Ilja (Il′Jazd) Zdanevič.” Revue des Études Slaves, vol. 93, no. 4, 2022, pp. 706-708. In French
  • “Dmitri Mérejkovski et la communauté culturelle moderniste.” Slavica Occitania, no. 54, 2022, pp. 125–147. In French. 
  • “Peter and the Walrus, or Petersburg at the Limits of Intertextuality.” The Russian Review, vol. 79, no. 1, 2020, pp. 46–63. In English
  • “Les deux solitudes de l'intelligentsia exilée: La Seconde Guerre mondiale et la fin de l'émigration russe en France.” Cahiers du monde russe, vol. 60, no. 4, 2019, pp. 707–736. In French
  • “Failure as the ideal model of artistic success in late Russian Modernist culture.” Literaturnyi fakt, no. 9, 2018, pp. 97–123. In Russ.
  • “Jewishness as Literary Device in Nabokov’s Fiction.” Vladimir Nabokov in Context, ed. by D. Bethea, S. Frank. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2018, pp. 228–239. In English
  • “Penser la phase perdue du modernisme russe.” Russia, Oriente slavo e Occidente europeo, ed. by C. Pieralli et al.  Florence, Università degli Studi di Firenze, 2017, pp. 259–280. (Biblioteca di Studi Slavistici 36). In French
  • “Russian Modernism and the Novel.” A History of the Modernist Novel, ed. by G. Castle. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2015, pp. 110–33. In English
  • “Nicolas Nabokov: An Autobiographical Sketch.” New Studies in Modern Russian Literature and Culture: Essays in Honor of Stanley J. Rabinowitz: in 2 vols., eds. C. Ciepiela, L. Fleishman. Oakland, California, Berkeley Slavic Specialties, 2014, vol. 2, pp. 290–300. (Stanford Slavic Studies 45–46). In English
  • “‛A Thankless Occupation’: James Joyce and His Translator Ludmila Savitzky.” Joyce Studies Annual, no. 1, 2013, pp. 33–61. In English
  • “Exporting Soviet Literature: An Episode.” Venok: Studia Slavica Stefano Garzonio Sexagenario Oblata: in 2 vols., eds. G. Carpi, L. Fleishman, B. Sulpasso. Stanford, Berkeley Slavic Specialties, 2012, vol. 2, pp. 246–265. (Stanford Slavic Studies 41). In English
  • “In the Classroom.” Journal for the Study of Anti-Semitism, vol. 4, no. 1, 2012, pp. 237–248. In English
  • “Table ronde: L’émigration des écrivains russes en France, le Paris des écrivains russes.” D’Encre et d’exil 10: Trajectoires russes. Dixièmes rencontres internationales des écritures de l’exil. Paris, Éditions de la Bibliothèque publique d’information-Centre Pompidou, 2011, pp. 5–28. In French
  • “On the Influence of Russian Emigration on the Public Opinion of Interwar France. Documents from the Archive of Vladimir Burtsev.” Vademecum: to the 65th anniversary of Lazar Fleishman, ed. A. Ustinov. Moscow, Vodolei Publ., 2010, pp. 214–231. In Russ.
  • “Ivan Turgenev’s Crime and Punishment: ‘The jews’ and the Furtive Pleasures of Liberalism.” The Russian Review, vol. 68, no. 1, 2009, pp. 49–69. In English
  • “L’Émigration russe et les élites culturelles françaises, 1920–1925: les débuts d’une collaboration.” Cahiers du monde russe, no. 1, 2007, pp. 23–43. In French
  • “Why is Dracula Afraid of Garlic, or Anton Chekhov and ‘the jews’.” The Real Life of Pierre Delalande: Studies in Russian and Comparative Literature to Honor Alexander Dolinin: in 2 vols., ed. by D. Bethea, L. Fleishman, A. Ospovat. Stanford, Stanford Slavic Studies, 2007, vol. 1, pp. 126–53. In English
  • “Le Social contre l’esthétique: le Zemgor dans la vie littéraire de l’émigration.” Cahiers du monde russe, no. 4, 2005, pp. 817–830. In French
  • “Iurii Fel’zen”; “Aleksandr Ginger”; “Dovid Knut.” Twentieth-Century Russian Émigré WritersDictionary of Literary Biography, ed. M. Rubins. Detroit, Bruccoli Clark Layman, 2005, vol. 317, pp. 102–109; 128–33; 182–189. In English
  • “La Dimension littéraire du Studio franco-russe.” Revue des études slaves, no. 3–4, 2004, pp. 473–491. In French
  • “On the Artistic Merits of Disintegration: Dr. Ianovskii’s Internship in the Literary Lab of Dr. Céline.” Russkaia emigratsiia, ed. V. Khazan. Jerusalem, The Hebrew University, 2004, pp. 182–208. In English
  • “Le Studio franco-russe, 1929–.” Revue des études slaves, vol. 75, no. 1, 2004, pp. 109–123. In French
  • “Nina Berberova et la mythologie culturelle de  l’émigration russe en France.” Cahiers du monde russe, no. 2–3, 2002, pp. 463–478. In French
  • “Vladimir Nabokov’s Apprenticeship in André Gide’s ‛Science of Illumination’: From The Counterfeiters to The Gift.” Comparative Literature, no. 3, 2002, pp. 197–214. In English
  • “The Novel as Target Practice: Vladimir Nabokov’s The Gift and the ‛New Malady of the Century’.” Studies in the Novel, no. 2, 2002, pp. 198–220. In English
  • “Histoire de la littérature russe en exil: la ‛période héroïque’ de la jeune poésie russe à Paris.” Revue des études slaves, no. 1, 2001, pp. 133–150. In French
  • “Making Sense of Exile: Russian Literary Life in Paris as a Cultural Construct, 1920–1940.” Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History, no. 3, 2001, pp. 489–512. In English
  • “Boris Poplavskii’s Art of Life and Death.” Comparative Literature Studies, no. 2, 2001, pp. 118–141. In English
  • “The End of the ‛Human Document’: Georgij Ivanov’s The Disintegration of an Atom.” Russian Literature, no. 4, 2001, pp. 371–391. In English
  • “The Surrealist Compromise of Boris Poplavsky.” The Russian Review, no. 1, 2001, pp. 89–108. In English
  • “The Place of Suicide in the French Avant-Garde of the Inter-War Period.” The Romanic Review, no. 3, 2000, pp. 245–262. In English
  • “The Prodigal Children of Marcel Proust: Literary ‛Proustianism’ and the French Novel of the 1920s.” French Forum, no. 3, 2000, pp. 329–348. In English
  • “The Poetics of French Surrealism in Boris Poplavskii’s Poetry of 1923–1927.” Slavic and East European Journal, no. 2, 2000, pp. 177–194. In English
  • “Russian Émigré Literature in the Context of French Modernism: the Case of Iurii Fel’zen.” Modern Language Review, no. 3, 2000, pp. 779–789. In English
  • “A Mirror For the Critic: Two Aspects of Taste and One Type of Aphasic Disturbance in Vladimir Nabokov’s Despair.” Canadian-American Slavic Studies, no. 4, 2000, pp. 447–464. In English
  • “A Journey to the South: the Art of Oblivion in Gaito Gazdanov’s Novel Vecher u Kler.” Wiener Slawistischer Almanach, Band 44, 1999, S. 49–65. In English
  • “The Making of a Symbolist Metaphor: Valerij Brjusov’s poem ‛V Damask’, The Holy Bible and The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night.” Russian Literature, no. 2, 1999, pp. 149–165. In English
  • “The Jew in Disguise: Cultural Assimilation and Dissimulation in Nineteenth Century Russian Literature.” Utah Foreign Language Review, 1997, pp. 23–38. In English



Teaching Experience

Professor. Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures. University of Toronto. 7/2010–present

Associate Professor. Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures. University of Toronto. 7/2004–6/2010

Assistant Professor. Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures. University of Toronto. 7/2001–6/2004

Assistant Professor. Department of German and Russian. Davidson College. 8/2000–6/2001

Assistant Professor. Department of Russian. Grinnell College. 8/1999–6/2000

Faculty. Russian Summer School. Middlebury College. 1999–2000

Administrative Experience

Chair. Department of Slavic Languages & Literatures. University of Toronto. 7/2017–6/2018

Graduate Coordinator. Department of Slavic Languages & Literatures. University of Toronto. 7/2011–6/2014

Undergraduate Coordinator. Department of Slavic Languages & Literatures. Univ. of Toronto. 7/2008–6/2011

Associate Director. Centre for Jewish Studies. University of Toronto. 7–12/2009

Russian Program Director. Department of German and Russian. Davidson College. 9/2000–6/2001

Assistant Director. Russian Summer School. Middlebury College. 6–9/2000