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Dr Rajendra Chitnis

My current research arises from my core interests in Czech, Russian and Slovak literature since the nineteenth century, with a particular focus on twentieth century and contemporary fiction.

I am currently completing work as PI on an AHRC-funded Research Innovations project called Translating the Literatures of Small European Nations. Together with colleagues in Portuguese at Cardiff and Scandinavian and South Slav literatures at UCL, we are exploring how literatures written in less widely spoken languages or from less widely known traditions reach the cultural mainstream. The project has involved extensive engagement with translators, publishers, agents, booksellers and national and third-sector bodies and will result in an edited volume featuring case studies of at least twelve countries and an on-line report.

I am also completing work on a book devoted to Czech literary ruralism. Though centred on the inter-war Ruralists, their relationship to other inter-war literary movements and their reception, the study considers the notion of rural conservatism more broadly, whether demonised as a reactionary, 'stop the world', even Fascist worldview, or understood more sympathetically as an aesthetic and socio-political conception of the countryside at odds with dominant urban liberal and leftist attitudes of the time, but foreshadowing later environmentalist, Schumacherian ideas.

To date I have published monographs on Russian, Czech and Slovak fiction of the post-Communist transition, and on the Czech Avant-garde novelist and dramatist, Vladislav Vančura. I have also written scholarly articles on various aspects of Czech literature.

I am currently secretary of the Forum for British, Czech and Slovak Studies in the UK, a national subject association affiliated to BASEES, which seeks to support research and teaching related to these nations and languages now and in the past.

I have successfully supervised research projects in areas ranging from Russian nineteenth-century literature to contemporary Czech cultural history. I welcome research proposals relating to any aspect of Czech and/or Slovak literature, culture or history since the nineteenth century, any aspect of Russian fiction since the 1960s, Russian comic or experimental writing since Gogol or any comparative study of Czech, Russian and/or Slovak literature or culture since the nineteenth century.