Carnegie Mellon University

Charlene Castellano

Charlene Castellano

Teaching Professor Emeritus of Russian

Department of Modern Languages
Carnegie Mellon University
Baker Hall 160
Pittsburgh, PA 15213


I am a humanist and a specialist in Russian literature, culture, language and linguistics. I came to Carnegie Mellon in 1990 in order to bring to an end a long suspension of Russian study by single-handedly deploying a full program of language and culture courses. By 1995 this program had garnered enough interest to warrant an interdepartmental specialization in Russian Studies, launched in concert with History. My contribution to it has consisted of fifteen courses in three levels of Russian language study plus literature and culture courses taught in both English and Russian. I have covered topics ranging from Russian folklore and fairy tales, through nineteenth- and twentieth-century prose and poetry, to historical and contemporary film in Russia and East Europe. While providing the culture curriculum for the Russian Studies specialization, the courses I give in English attract students from across the College and the University. I place a priority on such outreach not only via these courses but also by teaching in the General Education, Freshman Seminar, and Humanities Scholars Programs in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences.


Ph.D., Cornell University, 1980

Selected Works

  • "Synesthesia as Apocalypse in Andrei Bely’s Petersburg," Andrei Bely’s Petersburg: A Centennial Celebration, ed. Olga Cooke, Brighton, MA: Academic Studies Press, forthcoming, 2017.
  • "Remembering Bely Remembering," Canadian-American Slavic Studies, forthcoming, 2017.
  • "How to Handle a Woman? Ask Charles Gounod," in Faust Program Book, Pittsburgh, PA: Pittsburgh Opera, April 2005, pp. 14-17. 
  • "A Millennial Peal: The Salzburg/Met Production of Ferruccio Busoni's Doctor Faust," Proceedings of the Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities, 2003 (ISSN 1541-5899).
  • "Sinesteziia: Iazyk chuvstv i vremia povestvovaniia v romane Andreia Belogo Peterburg [Synesthesia and Narrative Time in Andrei Bely's novel Petersburg]," in Andrei Bely. Publikatsii. Issledovaniia [Andrei Bely: Publications, Research], ed. A. G. Boichuk. Moscow: Gorky Institute of World Literature, Russian Academy of Sciences, 2002, pp. 211-19.
  • "Vospominaia Serebrianyi vek: Sinesteziia i apokalipsis v romane A. Belogo Peterburg" [Remembering the Silver Age: Synesthesia and Apocalypse in Andrei Bely's novel Petersburg]," in Novyi Istoricheskii Vestnik  [The New Historical Messenger], ed. Sergei Karpenko. Moscow: Russian State University for the Humanities, No. 5, 2001, pp. 17-50.
  • "Babochki u Brodskogo [Brodsky's Butterflies]," in Iosif Brodskii: Tvorchestvo, lichnost’, sud’ba  [Joseph Brodsky: Works, Personality, Fate], ed. Yakov Gordin. St. Petersburg, Russia: Zvezda [Star], 1998, pp. 80-87.
  • "Andrei Bely's Memories of Fiction," in Autobiographical Statements in Twentieth-Century Russian Literature, ed. Jane Gary Harris. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990, pp. 66-98.

Courses Taught

  • 82-191 and 82-192: Elementary Russian I and II
  • 82-291 and 82-292: Intermediate Russian I and II
  • 82-193: Faust, The Scientist
  • 82-294: Russian Fairy Tales
  • 82-296: A Century of Russian Film
  • 82-391 and 82-392: Advanced Russian I and II
  • 82-396: The Faust Legend at Home and Abroad
  • 82-397: Russia’s Demons
  • 82-400: Dostoevsky or Tolstoy?
  • 82-491: Literature, Politics and Film in Russia and East Europe Today
  • 82-492: The Historical Imagination in 19th Century Russian Literature
  • 82-493: Joseph Brodsky in Context
  • 82-599: Russian Studies Thesis

Department Member Since