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Personal profile

Research Interests

Russian literature and culture of the eighteenth--nineteenth centuries; gothic/uncanny and empire; literature and science; travel literature; Ukrainian and Czech literatures.

Professional Information

I have recently completed the book Haunted Empire: Gothic and the Russian Imperial Uncanny (Northern Illinois UP, imprint of Cornell UP, forthcoming in 2020). The book explores the connection between the Gothic mode in Russian literature of the period and its imperial context. I argue that theGothic genre served as a particularly apt form for “the imperial uncanny”—theeffect of danger and uncertainty in the ambiguous colonial spaces withinRussia’s borders where the characters’ imperial identities are challenged anddestabilized. My next research project is on the discourse of race in nineteenth-century Russian literature and journalism.


Ph.D., Columbia University, 2003
Diploma of Higher Education, Kyiv Taras Shevchenko University, 1994

Honors & Awards

National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, 2015-16
National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend, 2014
Center for Advanced Study Associate, University of Illinois, 2014-2015
Center for Advanced Study Beckman Fellowship, University of Illinois, 2005-06


RUSS 323/RUSS 523 Tolstoy
RUSS 320/RUSS 524 Pushkin
RUSS 424 Russian Modernism
RUSS 461 Russia and the Other
RUSS 418 Eighteenth-Century Russian Literature
RUSS 220 The Golden Age of Russian Literature
RUSS 225 Russian Literature and Revolution
RUSS 444 Problems in Romanticism

Office Address

Slavic Languages
3080 For Lang Bldg
707 S Mathews
M/C 170
Urbana, IL 61801

Office Phone

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Research Output

On Mimicry and Ukrainians: The Imperial Gothic in Pogorelsky's Monastyrka

Sobol, V., 2013, In : East/West Journal. 16-17, p. 369-387

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

The uncanny frontier of Russian identity: travel, ethnography, and empire in Lermontov's "Taman'"

Sobol, V., Jan 1 2011, In : Russian Review. 70, 1, p. 65-79 15 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Počemu zimoj ne byvaet groma?" Gurov, job, and Chekhovian epistemology in 'Dama s sobačkoj'

Sobol, V., Aug 15 2009, In : Russian Literature. 66, 2, p. 217-233 17 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • In Search of an Alternative Love Plot: Tolstoy, Science, and Post-Romantic Love Narratives

    Sobol, V., 2007, In : Tolstoy Studies Journal. 19, p. 54-74 21 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    • 1 Participation in conference

    Interpreting Emotion in Eastern Europe, Russia, and Eurasia

    Mark D Steinberg (Organizer), & Valeria Sobol (Organizer)


    Activity: Attendance typesParticipation in conference

    Honors & Recognition

    NEH Fellowship

    Sobol, Valeria (Recipient), 2014