Slavic Languages and Literatures | Grad Rdgs in Slavic Studies: History of Russian Crime/Spy Novels
S540 | 28662 | Coyle

History of Russian Crime/Spy Novels (How Crime and Spy Novels
Reflected Russian Politics, 1905-Present

We will examine the genre of Russian criminal and spy stories,
collectively known as the "Detektiv" novel, looking at how the
changing plot lines and "bad guy" characters reflected the domestic
Russian political situation and international tensions over the past
century.  We'll begin with the "Nat Pinkerton" crime novels of the
early 20th century and finish with Sergei Kostin's Paris Weekend
(2004), who's hero is a deep-cover SVR officer living in New York
City.  The bulk of the class will focus on crime and spy novels of the
Soviet era, with villains changing from "international capitalists" to
Nazis and finally to the evil machinations of the CIA.  We'll then
look at what has become of this genre since the collapse of the USSR
in 1991 and who are the popular 21st century Russian crime/spy
authors.   Discussion of the selected novels for each era will begin
with a quick survey of the political climate and structure of the
Russian law enforcement and intelligence agencies of that time.  The
course is taught by a retired CIA officer who specialized on Russian