Associate Professor Benjamin Paloff was awarded the 2018 Prize for Best Book in Literary Scholarship by theAmerican Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages (AATSEEL) for his book, Lost in the Shadow of the Word: Space, Time, and Freedom in Interwar Easern Europe (Northwestern University Press, 2016).
"In this brilliant, wide-ranging, and deeply original work, Benjamin Paloff analyzes the theme of intermediacy in the works and lives of some of the greatest writers of modern Polish, Russian, and Czech literature. Looking closely at shared tropes of homelessness, orphanhood, naivety, metamorphosis, immaturity, and doubling in Bruno Schultz, Andrei Platonov, Osip Mandelstam, Czeslaw Milosz, Nikolai Zabolotsky, Karel Capek, Witold Gombrowicz, and others, Paloff sees a specifically Eastern European modernism, often associated with Kafka, in which the promise of freedom in time and space, paradoxically, is equally desired and feared. Utilizing the skills of the best comparativists - fluency in several languages and literary traditions, exhaustive research into the various local scholarly traditions, and a thorough knowledge of modern philosophy and literary theory – Paloff brilliantly reveals a poetics of metaphysical unfreedom in Eastern European modernist literature. His subtle argument is a crucial contribution that will, without a doubt, resonate with scholars and readers." - AATSEEL.org
Congratulations, Prof. Paloff!