Slavic Languages and Literatures | The City as an Image in Russian Literature
R601 | ALL | Perlina

"The image of the city" can be traced through various depictions of
Moscow and Petersburg--the two metropolitan cities, as well as through
the portrayals of small provincial towns in the works of Russian
writers. The seminar covers the time span from 1147 (the first
reference to Moscow in the Chronicles) to 1991 (Leningrad's regaining
its "maiden name" of Sankt Peterburg). The seminar discusses
anthropological, cultural and individual perceptions of real
historical time, space, and communal cohabitation from several
theoretical positions.
a). It treats the city from the position of cultural semiotics, as "a
cauldron of semiotic codes" which preserve, reconstitute and generate
new cultural perceptions on communal cohabitation;
b). It utilizes Bakhtinian ideas on carnival and carnivalization and
discusses different manifestations of carnivality in the life of the
c). The seminar adopts the main thesis of Russian "Culturologists" who
treated the city as "the living organism," and thus applies the notion
of the soul and of the body to different manifestations of urban life.

The seminar's rationale suggests a multifocal perspective which will
enable it to utilize a variety of interdisciplinary interests and
academic approaches and to attract graduate studens from other
departments. The reading list is built mainly by literary texts and
theoretical studies which are not included into other graduate
courses, and to this extent the seminar may assist the Graduates in
their search for the prospective dissertation topics. Readings for the
course include historical sources, folk legends, plays, narrative
poems and fragments from the novels, as well as different theoretical
studies that provide cultural, socio-historical, and aestheic views of
the city.
The seminar is conducted in English, the reading list includes
alternatives for those not feeling comfortable with reading works in
literary theory in Russian.
Except for two beginning sessions, the seminar will be conducted as a
colloquium;  the participants are obliged to contribute to analytical
readings and interpretations of both primary sources and critical
studies (see the reading list). In addition to participation in daily
discussions, each student is expected:
1.    to present a 20 min. report and to serve as a discussant of
someone else's talk. The reports are to be submitted in both oral and
written form (about 8-10 pp);
2.    to prepare an overview of a group of theoretical sources and to
consider their methodological merits as well as the major questions
they raise (10-12 pp);
3.    to develop the second paper into a thorough analytical study of
a chosen literary text. The final paper is expected to be about 15 pp
plus bibliography (a potential contribution to a professional journal).

Grades are based upon the following rationale:
Weekly discussions -- 15%
Oral presentations and the discussants' comments -- 25%
An overview of theoretical sources --25%
Final paper -- 35%

Seminar in Russian Literture        Perlina

Gogol and Bulgakov

The seminar will examine the following major areas of
Gogol-Bulgakov correlations:
1.        Motifs, themes and recurrent images which the writers
believed to
be central for their time and their writings: Gogol's text within the
context of Bulgakov 's writings
2.        Reflection and self-reflection as the main principles of Gogol's
and Bulgakov's poetics: creative intuition in Gogol and Bulgakov; "author
and the authorities" as the subject of contemplation.
3.        Irony and self-irony on Gogol and Bulgakov: the structures of
irony; irony, parody and satire in Gogol and Bulgakov
4.        The structure of an individual masterpiece in Gogol and in
Bulgakov: aesthetics and ethics of metapoesis in their writings.
Language prerequistits: those working toward Ph. D. in Russian are
expected to read selections in Russian (special arrangements will be
made). The seminar (conducted in English) will be coordinated with other
graduate courses and seminars (R-505/506; R-507/508) taught at the
department of Slavic Languages and Literatures. Students are expected to
be familiar with the masterpiecse included in undegraduate surveys.
Knowledge of Dead Souls  and Master and Margarita  are required.
The seminar combines lectures (4 - 5.45) and topical discussions (5.55 -
6.45); the participants are required to contribute to analytical readings
and interpretations of primary sources and critical studies. Oral
presentations start October 24. The guidelines for weekly discussions are
provided by the instructor. The entire corpus of Gogol's and Bulgakov's
writings will be arranged thematically and broken into two parts: required
and recommended/alternative readings
Every student will be asked:
1.    to present a 20 minute report and to serve as a discussant at
someone else's presentation. Presentations are to be submitted in both
oral and written form; the instructor and the discussant are to be
provided with the written copy of a report one week prior to the
2.    to produce a research on individual works or a particular aspect of
Gogol/Bulgakov poetics. The final paper is expected to be about 15 pages
(a potential contribution to a professional journal)
Grades are based upon the following rationale: a 20 minute oral report and
its written version--30%; final paper--40%; summaries and discussions of
texts and critical sources--20%; serving as a discussiant--10%.