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
century. 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 different 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 Russian 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%

Required reading:

A.        Russian 19th century drama: an overview (all texts, with an
exception of Lensky's  vaudevilles, are 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 required 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, Collected 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", "Nasmeshka 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: Feuilletons 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 reading for this  course) I. Goncharov,
Obyknovennaia istoriia (Engl. tr. avail.), Oblomov (secondary reading
for this  course) I. Turgenev, "Zapiski okhotnika ", Rudin. (Engl. tr.

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 russkogo
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 Pushkin (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