Slavic Languages and Literatures | Nineteenth-Century Russian Literature 1
R505 | ALL | Staff


Course description / Preliminary Syllabus

Class objective:
The principal objective is to give students an overview of the development of Russian  literature during 1800s-1850s. and to prepare them for a thorough understanding of the main  literary phenomena that grew dominant through the second half of the 19th c
entury. A focus of the  class is the analysis of the primary sources: even if English translations are available, references  will be given to the original.  The course begins with the designation of Sentimentalism and Romanticism, as particular  features
of their styles and narrative principles can be seen in the works of N. Karamzin and V.  Zhukovsky. The focal point of further discussios is the general concept of Realism: how does the  notion of faithfulness to nature (mimesis) progress through differe
nt aesthetic principles and  practices of the nineteenth century Russian writers? Is the so called "Russian Realism" of mid- 1820s -1850s a dialogical/polemical reconstitution of the foundations of the Sentimentalist and  Romantic aesthetics?  What is the
interconnectedness between literary theories, poetic practices,  the social history of literature, cultural history, and literary interpretations?

Each class session is divided in two parts: lecture (5.30--7.00 p. m.) and discussion  (7.00-8.00). Students' participation in the discussions is absolutely required. The guidelines for  discussions are provided by the instructor.   Every student will be
asked to make one formal in-class presentation of approx. 20 mins.  length. and to produce two research reports of approx. 8-10 pages length. There will be no final  exam for this course.

Oral presentation will involve either an introduction to a literary work not discused in class (i.e ,  Pushkin's Dubrovsky;  a work by M. Zagoskin, a narrative poem by M. Lermontov, etc.), or a  comparative summary of theoretical views (i.e., M. Katz, The
Literary Ballad in Early 19th Cent  in Russ. Lit.  and G. Malcolm Laws, The British Literary Ballad).  Paper  1 Option A: Examination of a Russian literary text from the perspective of a Russian and a non- Russian pretext. Option B: Examination of a Russ
ian literary text from the position of the early ninetenth century  criticism and from the position of a contemporary literary theory. Paper  2 Introduction to a narratological problem. A major work from the Required Reading List is to be  discussed.

Grades are based upon the following rationale: Quizzes and weekly discussions--25% Oral presentations--25% Midterm and Final paper--25%  each

Required reading:

A. Russian 19th century drama: an overview (all texts, with an exception of Lensky's  vaudevilles, are available.in English from An Anthology of Russian Plays, ed. F. D. Reeve, Vintage,  1961. One can also use A. Ostrovsky, Five Plays, tr. E. Bristol, N.Y
.: Pegasus, 1969)

A. S. Griboedov, "Gore ot uma", A. Pushkin, "Boris Godunov", N. Gogol', "Revizor", D. Lenskii, "Lev  Gurych Sinichkin" and Russian vaudeville; A. Ostrovsky and the mid-nineteenth century Russian  drama.   In addition to "Boris Godunov" (which is a require
d text for this course) every student is expected  to choose two comedies, one drama (either Griboedov and Ostrovsky or Gogol and Ostrovsky), and  one vaudeville.

B. Russian prose narrative, its thematics and aesthetic forms:

N. M. Karamzin. Pis'ma russkogo puteshestvennika (excerpts);. Povesti  "Bednaia Liza',   "Natal'ia Boiarskaia doch'", "Ostrov Borngol'm" (Engl. transl: Selected Prose of N. M. Karamzin,  1969) V. A. Zhukovsky, "Liudmila", "Svetlana." A. S. Pushkin, Collec
ted Narrative and Lyrical Poetry.  Evgenii Onegin. Povesti Belkina. Puteshestvie v Arzrum (Engl. transl available) Russian Romantic Prose:  A. Bestuzhev-Marlinskii, "Revel'skii turnir", "Ispytanie". V. Odoevskii, Russkie nochi ("Brigadir", "Bal", "Nasmesh
ka mertvetsa"), "Kniazhna Mimi",  "Sil'fida" M. Lermontov, Geroi nashego vremeni. Kniaginia Ligovskaia (Engl tr available).. N. Gogol'. "Taras Bul'ba". "Peterburgskie povesti". Mertvye dushi.(available in English) The early growth of Russian Realism: Feui
lletons and Physiological Sketches  (A. I. Gertsen, V. Dal', D. Grigorovich, Ia. Butkov, N. Nekrasov, F. Dostoevsky) F. Dostoevsky, Bednye liudi, Dvoinik.(Engl. tr. avail.) A. Gertsen, Kto vinovat., Byloe i dumy, (parts I-IV, Engl. tr. avail, secondary re
ading for this  course) I. Goncharov, Obyknovennaia istoriia (Engl. tr. avail.), Oblomov (secondary reading for this  course) I. Turgenev, "Zapiski okhotnika ", Rudin. (Engl. tr. avail).

Secondary sources and Criticism:

a) General D. Mirsky. A History of Russian Literature D. Chizhevsky. History of Nineteenth-cent. R. Lit, 2 vols. V. Terras,  Handbook of R. Lit R. Freeborn, A History of Russian Novel John Mersereau, Russian Romantic Fiction (Ardis, 1883).

b) Genres, Styles, and European Connection

A. Bold. The Ballad (1979) M. Katz, The Literary Ballad in Early 19th cent in Russian Lit (1976) G. Malcolm Laws, The British Literary Ballad (1972) Zhukovskii i Russkaia kul'tura Sbornik nauchnykh trudov (L., 1987). Iu. Lotman, B. Uspenskii, "Pis'ma russ
kogo puteshestvennika  Karamzina i ikh mesto v razvitii  russkoi kul'tury", in N. M. Karamzin, Pis'ma russkogo puteshestvennika (L., Nauka, 1984). Ju. Mann  Poetika russkogo romantizma (M., 1976) William Mills Todd III. Fiction and Society in the Age of P
ushkin (Harvard Univ. Press. 1986) Art and Culture in Nineteenth-cent. Russia (UI Press, 1983) N. P. Antsyferov, Dusha Peterburga (L., 1978 or any other edition)

c) Authors' Bibliographies will be provided