Russian Language & Literature

Русский язык и русская литература в Рид–колледже

Lena M. Lencek

Professor of Russian and Humanities, Emerita


Medieval Russian, romanticism and symbolism, twentieth-century poetry, narrative theory, Old Church Slavonic.

BA 1970 Barnard College.
AM 1972 Harvard University.
Reed College 1977–.

Lena M. Lencek, born in Trieste of Slovene parents and educated at Barnard College and Harvard University, is Professor of Russian and Humanities. She offers courses in her special areas of interest: medieval East Slavic literature; Russian romanticism in its west European context; Russian modernism; and literary theory (formalism, structuralism, semiotics). She has offered "special topics" seminars on South and West Slavic literatures ; the culture of the book in Russia; prose of the 1920s; Russian theater of the avant-garde; epic poetry of the Russian Revolution; Russian religious culture; the Russian short story; and offers instruction in Old Church Slavonic.

Her research and publications extend beyond Slavic philology. She is the author or co-author of numerous books, including Frozen Music: A History of Portland Architecture (The Press of the Oregon Historical Society, 1985), Making Waves: Swimsuits and the Undressing of America (Chronicle Books, 1988), The Beach: A History of Paradise on Earth (Viking/Penguin, 1998, 1999) a 1998 New York Times Notable Book of the Year; Beaches (Chronicle, 2000); Beach: Stories by the Sand and Sea (Marlowe Books, 2000); Sail Away: Stories of Escaping to Sea (Marlowe Books, 2001); Escape: Stories of Getting Away (Marlowe Books, 2002); Pilgrimage (Chronicle, 2003); Off the Wall ( Chronicle, 2004); Dynamic Wave Theory (Booth Cliborn/Abrams, 2006).

Several television documentaries have developed from Lencek's publications; these include: Nothing to Hide (Australia: Beyond Productions for Discovery Channel); Beach Crazy (Los Angeles: Termite Productions for Arts and Entertainment ;) Technological Beach (for History Channel ) , and, for the History Channel, the two-hour documentary based on The Beach. A History of Paradise on Earth. She has also been radio columnist for Canadian Public Broadcasting and has contributed to "The Savvy Traveler", National Public Radio, and other NPR venues.