Olga Meerson




Department of Slavic Languages
General profile



+1 202-687-7127


457 ICC


Olga Meerson was born in 1959 in Moscow and emigrated to Israel in 1974, where she completed her high school education at the Hebrew University High School in Jerusalem in 1977.
She subsequently moved to the United States and received her B.A. in Liberal Arts from Hunter College in New York City (1984) and her M.A. (1986) and Ph.D. (1991) in Russian Literature from Columbia University.
She is married (1977--present) to an Orthodox priest and theologian and has three children: Elijah, Elizabeth, and Simeon.
Dr. Meerson's interests range from Old Testament exegesis (she is fluent in Hebrew) to Russian Orthodox liturgical poetics and musicology (she served as a reader and choir director in a Russian Orthodox parish for 15 years), to Ilya Zdanevich, Andrei Platonov, and contemporary Russian women writers, especially poets.
Her strongest professional asset is her ear. She is particularly interested in far-reaching philosophical and theological consequences of close readings of literary texts, as well as in the hidden motivation for apparent non-sequiturs.
Although she knows and likes to teach 19th Century Russian Literature, her interest in Dostoevsky (and, even more so, Gogol) stems from her fascination with the 20th Century, and even the 21st.
Since 1987 (and since 1995 at Georgetown), she has taught a wide variety of courses in Russian and in English, including: Oral Communication; Senior Seminar on Russian Poetry: Text and Context; CERES Colloquium: The Development of Russian National Consciousness through Russian Philosophical Writings; Development of the Short Story (in Russian); Russian Culture and Civilization; First, Second, and Third Year Russian; Advanced Russian Grammar; Russian-English and English-Russian Translation for Native Speakers of Russian and (a separate course) for Native Speakers of English; Intensive Reading for Research; Understanding Soviet Media; Introduction to Russian Literature (in Russian); Survey of Russian Literature (in English); Tolstoy and Dostoevsky (in English); Tolstoy and Dostoevsky (in Russian); Survey of Russian Drama (in English); Survey of Russian Drama (in Russian); Surveys of 19th and 20th c. Russian Literature (in English); Seminar in 20th Century Russian Poetry (in Russian); Religion as Subtext (in Russian); and (tutorials): Liturgical Time in the Poetry of Pushkin, Lermontov, and Mandel'shtam; Tense and Aspect in Biblical Hebrew in Genesis; Cultural Context and Textual Problems in Nikolai Leskov's "Vladychnij Sud"; Gogol's "Overcoat"; Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov; Andrei Bely's Petersburg; Andrei Platonov's Chevengur; Venedikt Erofeev's "Moscow-Petushki" (a.k.a. Moscow To The End Of The Line); Osip Mandel'shtam's Architectural Imagery as an Ecclesiological Model in Poetry; E.T.A. Hoffmann and Bely's Petersburg; Bogdanovich's "Dushen'ka": Apuleius in Russia; Literary Quotation in Viktor Pelevin's Generation P., and Christianity in Agony in Dostoevsky and Unamuno.


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  • Ph.D. (1991) Columbia University, Russian Literature
  • M.A. (1986) Columbia University, Russian Literature
  • B.A. (1984) Hunter College, Liberal Arts


  • French (read)
  • Hebrew ()
  • Russian ()
  • Slavic (Other) (read)