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Mark Pettus, BA’00: From Dostoevsky to the Princeton Faculty

Posted by on Friday, November 13, 2020 in Uncategorized.

Mark Pettus holding a cup of coffee and standing on pavement in Moscow with a clock tower and colorfully painted, domed building behind him
Mark Pettus ’00 in Moscow

Lecturer, Princeton University

As a first-year Vanderbilt undergraduate, Mark signed up for a seminar on the Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky out of sheer curiosity. He was so impressed by this first encounter with Russian literature that he was determined to read it one day in the original. The following semester, he signed up for Russian 101.

Ultimately majoring in German and History, Mark also earned a minor in Russian. He won a coveted Fulbright Fellowship, which enabled him to spend a year in St. Petersburg after graduation, and went on to earn his Ph.D. in Slavic at Princeton University. He wrote his dissertation on Dostoevsky, of course.

After two years working as a translator in Russia, Mark joined the Princeton faculty in 2011. He teaches Russian, Czech, and Polish language courses, with a heavy emphasis on literature, culture, and history. He has also written a series of Russian language textbooks. He says that the appreciation he learned at Vanderbilt for both Slavic and Germanic languages and literatures, and the wonderful professors who taught him there, continue to inspire his own teaching today.

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