Honors | Russian through Pushkin
H203 | 27743 | Henry Cooper


Honors 203 fulfills COAS requirement.

Pushkin is the best Russian poet. Americans do not read poetry, much
less Russian poetry. This course teaches Americans who know no
Russian to read Russian so that they can read and appreciate the
poetry of Pushkin, Russia's best poet.

How to do this? We take Russia's best poet Pushkin's best poem, "The
Bronze Horseman." We learn to read the Cyrillic alphabet (one week).
We learn just enough vocabulary and just enough grammar to figure
out how Pushkin's words work (six and a half weeks). Then we start
reading: no need to look up vocabulary (it's all in the margin), no
need to worry about grammar (every form has been explained). It's
Russian without (much) pain, and poetry for pure pleasure.

What's the catch? One midterm (Week Nine), one final exercise (Week
Fifteen, but then there are no class meetings), one final exam based
on the exercise. What's required: a reasonable knowledge of English,
no prior knowledge of Russian or poetry, and a willingness to learn
something new.
What's the pay-off? Experiencing first-hand the best poem of the
best poet of the (still) biggest country in the world.

Students are graded on the basis of their attendance and active
participation in class discussions (40%), written assignments (20%),
midterm (20%) and final examination (20%). The only text required
for this will be photocopied; it will cost approximately $15.