KurtShawAssociate Professor

Greene Hall, Suite 331
Email: shaw ‘at’ wfu.edu
Phone: 336-758-5642

Professor Shaw received his Ph.D. in Russian Literature from the University of Kansas. His area of specialization is Twentieth-Century Russian Literature, with a sub-specialization in East European Literature, especially Hungarian and Czech prose. His early work was mainly on the Russian writer Andrei Bitov. Professor Shaw has since published several articles on the Hungarian prosaist George Konrád and is currently at work on projects involving the Russian novelist Elena Chizhova and the Czech writer Milan Kundera. In a recent interview in Fudge Monthly, Prof. Shaw had this to say:

“People who’ve checked out my department profile will recall that I hail originally from the Great State of Maine (known affectionately as “The Old Country”) and that for many years I worked as a disc jockey before finally embarking on a career in Academia. Incidentally, I want to apologize to all those people who believed the story about my solving a murder case involving a Buster Keaton fan when I was ten years old. Sometimes I get carried away and, yes, I’m currently seeing somebody about it. However, my dad, rest his soul, did indeed turn me into a movie junkie early on and now, at the ripe old age of whatever you care to guess, the cinema appears to be one of my last remaining vices, especially films from the 1930s and 40s. I also love music. I continue to whack away at playing jazz ukulele (Lyle Ritz, anyone?) and occasionally get out my Russian button accordion and play Irish tunes (go figure). Schooled in the Love of Song by my dear, sainted mother—she of Hammond Chord Organ fame—I am a big fan of the Great American Songbook, would like to know more about jazz and blues, and will listen to almost anyone who sings in French, such as Edith Piaf and, uh, that guy who does “Michelle.” Somebody recently e-mailed me wondering how I could possibly name Dostoevsky and Bugs Bunny as my heroes when everybody knows that Bugs is a Nietzschean (obviously, someone in the Philosophy Department). As a kid I liked experimenting with codes and ciphers and eventually became interested in foreign languages as a way of being able to say funny things about people without their knowing. So far I’ve played with about a dozen, although, malheureusement, zee leetle grey cells are not what they used to be. I enjoy travel and meeting people and am always amazed that nobody nowadays knows what special day Wednesday is in the north end of Boston.”

In his spare time, Professor Shaw likes to read—especially poetry and biographies, is a big fan of the Marx Brothers and Rita Hayworth, loves Italian food far more than he should, and used to do impressions of his colleagues until some of them saw this page. His favorite cities are Budapest, Paris, Prague and Rome (sorry, Moscow). Recently he scandalized his dear colleague Billy Hamilton by purchasing a grave marker well in advance of needing one (hopefully). As for birds and violets, well, a thing of beauty is a joy forever, as the poet said.