Slavic Languages & Literatures | Russian Literature: Tolstoy to Solzhenitsyn
R264 | ALL | Durkin
This course will offer a survey of major works, authors, and trends in
Russian literature from the last decades of the nineteenth century to the
present. Readings (all in translation) and discussion will focus primarily
on masterworks of prose fiction, but some drama and poetry will also be
included. Attention will be paid to the social and historical background of
the readings, including the Revolution, as well as to developments in other
arts in Russia and to cultural relations between Russia and other countries.
Authors whose work we will read include Tolstoi, Chekhov, Maksim Gorkii,
Andrei Belyi, Isaak Babel, Boris Pasternak, Vladimir Nabokov, and Aleksandr
Solzhenitsyn, as well as contemporary writers. Requirements: for section
4381 (COAS Intensive Writing): midterm and final test; four papers of six
pages minimum for section 4382: midterm and final; one paper of six pages
R 264/ 564, Tolstoy to Solzhenitsyn.
Purpose of the Course:
The course traces the development of Russian literature from mid -
19th century to the present (Solzhenistyn and the young writers of the
Former Soviet Union). An introductory lecture will consist in giving the
historical and cultural background; the 19th century will be introduced
mainly by Leo Tolstoy and Nikolai Leskov (Anna Karenina and "Lady Macbeth of
the Mtsensk District"). The most interesting aesthetic phenomena of the turn
of the century will be illustrated by a selection of short stories written
by Anton Chekhov, Ivan Bunin, Andrey Bely, and by a play "The Lower Depth"
by Maxim Gorky (1902).
An allegorical tale "The Cave" by Evgeny Zamyatin will illustrate
the destructive impact of a political upheaval on peoples' morality. Further
varieties of ideological and aesthetic changes within the framework of
Russian Soviet literature" will be illustrated by the writings of Isaak
Babel, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Iury Olesha, and Mikhail Bulgakov. The vast span
of years separating Vladimir Nabokov's prose (1925) from that of Liudmila
Petrushevskaya (1979) will be represented by a collection of short stories
from Clarence Brown anthology The Potrable Twentieth-Century Russian Reader
and by a collection of texts selected by the instructor.
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. For this course, you
will have to write three papers and to present an oral discussion of a short
story. 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.
Topics for oral presentations are to be discussed with the instructor two
weeks before your presentations. There is no final exam for this course. The
grades will be determined by the following: 10%---attendance and class
participation; 20% ---oral presentation and second paper (each); 25%--first
and third paper (each).
Reading list (books are available from the IU Bookstore)
Carl R. Proffer, ed. From Karamzin to Bunin: An Anthology of Russian Short
Stories (Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press, 1969)
Clarence Brown, ed. The Portable Twentieth-Century Russian Reader (Penguin,
Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita (Grove)
Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina (Bantam or Norton)
Instructor's Reader (will be made available from the Department by the
beginning of February)