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Indiana University Bloomington
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Bronislava Volková

Professor Emerita of Slavic Languages and Literatures
Adjunct Professor of Comparative Literature and Jewish Studies

I am interested in a wide variety of topics, such as Czech poetry, Central European Jewish literature, Czech popular culture, issues of exile, gender, race, nationalism, prejudice and emotive signs. I am an exile poet and scholar from Czechoslovakia. I have published a number of books of existential and metaphysical poetry in Czech and English, two books on linguistic and literary semiotics (1987, 1997) and a large bilingual Anthology of 20th-Century Czech Poetry (with Clarice Cloutier, 2008). In the area of semiotics, my work concerns emotive language, the difference between emotivity, expressivity, intensification and value; typology of functions of repetition; degrees of emphasis in Russian, Czech and Spanish syntax; semiotic interpretation of diminutives, augmentatives and other derived nouns in Russian and Czech, including their word-formational, lexicological and contextual aspects. My literary semiotic work focuses on emotive signs in poetry, exile, issues of sexual relationships, responsibility, guilt, innocence, racism, nationalism, euro-centrism, relationship between private and public sphere, escape and vision, death and other emotive and value issues and their expression in the works of major Czech writers. Between the years 1976 and 1992, my western publications appeared under the name "Volek". Since 2000, I am also active as a visual artist and a director of multimedia performances of poetry. At IU, I have served as Director of the Czech Program for 30 years, organizing an annual Czech film series, and teaching classes on Czech language, Czech and comparative literature and on the theory of the Prague School of Linguistics and Poetics. In recent years I have been teaching a course on Central European Jewish Writers and Exile entitled "The Wandering Jew". My poetry has been translated into eleven languages and I have received a number of cultural and literary awards. Books of my selected poems have been published in the USA (1993), Czech Republic (1995), Bulgaria (2013), Ukraine (2014), Russia(2015) and Slovakia (2016).  A new bilingual book, Being a Tree that Sings has just come out in Nakladatelství Pavel Mervart (2016), Currently, I work on a book of prose of mixed genres, a sort of fictionalized memoir under the working title A Silver Morning and I am planning a study of the typology of exile on the material of Jewish Central European writers.

Areas of Interest

  • Semiotics
  • Emotive Language
  • Czech Literature
  • Poetry
  • Exile
  • Jewish Writers in Central Europe