Slavic Languages and Literatures | Pushkin to Dostoevsky
R563 | 20663 | Perlina

Russian Literature of the First Half of the19th Century

Purpose of the Course:

The course covers Russian literature from the beginning of the
19th century (Karamzin) to approximately mid-sixties (Dostoevsky). An
introductory lecture will consist in giving the historical and
cultural background; the early 19th century  will be introduced only
by Karamzin's story "Poor Liza." Each of the works rmentioned in the
reading list will be submitted to close textual analysis, in addition
to a general discussion of the author and his time.
The authors to be covered show the evolution from
Sentimentalism (Karamzin) to realism (the tendency that emphasizes the
limitations that real life imposes on the individuals and shows the
effects). Elements of literary criticism will be introduced in order
to attain at a better understanding of the authors' intentions and
artistic achievements.
We will discuss the works' historical setting in order to see
better how they represent the period's primary social forms, and how
the authors portray the Russian polite society and the simple people.
We will also treat the works' relation to human experience: how do the
characters decide between their true "I" and the roles the society
imposes on them? How do men and women reveal their feelings and
affectations? How do social and philosophical problems find their way
into the work of arts? Who is the hero/heroine of Russian literature
of the 1800's-1850's?
You will learn, how to discuss specific problems and how to
express your critical opinions effectivelly. You will also learn, how
to do bibliographical research and how to use auxiliary sources for
your papers. You are encouraged to consult with me papers you will
have to write.

Attendance, Writing Assignments, Grades:

You are allowed a total of three cuts during the semester.
Since so much of the work of this course takes place in the classroom,
any more cuts will affect your grade. You will be given questions
which will help you to organize your readings and discussions of the
works. You will have to write four papers for this course; you will
have a choice of questions to write, but you may suggest your own
topics as well. Deadlines for the papers are shown in the syllabus.
There is no final exam for this course. The grades will be determined
by the following: 10%---attendance and class participation; 20%
---first and second paper (each); 25%--third and fourth paper (each).

Reading list (books are available from the IU Bookstore)

Carl Proffer, ed. Russian Literature from Karamzin to Bunin
A. Pushkin, Eugene Onegin
M. Lermontov, A Hero of our Time
N. Gogol, The Overcoat and Other Tales of Good and Evil
I. Turgenev, Fathers and Sons
F. Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment