David Gasperetti

Emeritus Professor of Russian

Emeritus Professor of Russian
102 Decio Faculty Hall
Notre Dame, IN 46556
+1 574-631-7697


Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles

M.A. University of California, Los Angeles

B.A. Lawrence University (Wisconsin)

Research and Teaching Interests

Russian Prose Fiction of the 18th and 19th Centuries

All levels of Russian Language and Literature


Gasperetti works on the genesis of modern Russian prose fiction in the eighteenth century and how it was shaped by and reacted against West-European literary norms. By focusing on the discourse strategies of imitation, parody, and stylization, Gasperetti strives to answer a central conundrum of Russian literary history. Until 1760, Russia had produced very few works of prose fiction, yet by 1880, Russian authors had expanded and revolutionized the novel genre with such timeless contributions as Crime and Punishment, War and Peace, The Brothers Karamazov, and Anna Karenina. Gasperetti’s scholarship seeks to find a key to Russia’s rapid adoption and transformation of the novel genre in the prose fiction of its eighteenth-century literary pioneers.

In the summer before his freshman year in college, Gasperetti decided to study Russian for two reasons. First, at the time, it was the most exotic language offered at his university. Second, majoring in Russian qualified students for what seemed to be an almost impossibly adventurous opportunity: spending time in what was then the distant and secretive (not to mention belligerent) Soviet Union. After his junior year, Gasperetti realized his dream and spent an entire summer in Russia and Eastern Europe. His experience of Russia’s onion-domed cathedrals, historic monuments, and rich cultural life confirmed his love of Russian language and literature, and inspired him to begin graduate school the following fall.

Representative Publications and Accomplishments

The Rise of the Russian Novel: Carnival, Stylization, and Mockery of the West

Three Tales of the Eighteenth Century: The Comely Cook, Vanka Kain, and “Poor Liza” (translation with introduction)

A Reference Grammar for V puti: Russian Grammar in Context