Russian Language Journal


Joe Peschio


gestures, literature-centric, reflection, bibliography


The Festschrift is an odd, performative genre, and it tends to comprise loose collections of gestures—gestures of gratitude, gestures of respect, gestures of celebration. Not so with this Festschrift. With only a few exceptions, the works here are very form- and literature-centric, something as rare these days as it is welcome. This is as good a reflection as any of the honoree’s place in our field. As the astonishing bibliography of Barry Scherr’s works at the end of the book attests, he has been a strong force in formal analysis, poetics, exact methods, and, in general, empirically minded literary scholarship since the 1970s. Unlike most Festschrifts, this book could stand on its own (that is, even without the honoree): it has a scholarly unity of purpose, and it is meticulously and expertly edited. That is not to say that there is not a broad range of topics taken up in the book, however—articles that explore other aspects of Scherr’s scholarly legacy on Soviet film and science fiction appear alongside formal analyses. Like the best Festschrifts, it provides a snapshot of our field at this moment in time.