Slavic Languages and Literatures | Gogol
R531 | ALL | Perlina

Nikolai Gogol is Russia’s greatest comic writer; he is also regarded
as one of the greatest masters of tragic humor, supernatural, and
fantastic grotesque (his story “The Nose” inspired Dmitry Shostakovich
to compose a tragi-comic opera, and Franz Kafka, influenced by Gogol’s
“Nose” had produced his “Metamorphosis”).

The course will consider the entire body of Gogol’s artistic creation
as a significant component of Russian, European, and World literature
(the folklore roots of his tales; his treatment of heroic sagas and
mock epics; Gogol’s grotesque and his “fantastic realism”) Whenever
possible excerpts from operas, theatre productions (video versions),
and films based on Gogol’s works will be used as illustrations.

Undergraduate and graduate students will be given different
assignments for writing  mid-term papers and producing analytical
studies of Gogol’s texts. Students’ individual interests in literary
theory and culture will be taken into consideration.

We will discuss the four major groups of Gogol’s writings:
1) Evenings on the Farm near Dikanka and Mirgorod;
2) “Arabesques” and “Petersburg Tales”;
3) Gogol’s comedies Inspector General and Getting Married
4) his famous “poem in prose” Dead Souls.

Working for this course, each student is expected:
1. to present a 15/20 min. report and to develop this presentation in
an analytical study of a chosen story (5-6 pp. undergraduate; 6-8
graduate students)
2. to write a mid-term paper discussing one of Gogol’s plays (6-8 and
8-10 pp);
3. to produce a final paper focused on the most important themes of
Gogol’s writing (Dead Souls or his Petersburg cycle, 8-10 and 10-12 pp).