Slavic Languages and Literatures | Russian Literature: Tolstoy to Solzhenitsyn
R264 | 10652 | Stefani

In many ways, Russian literature and culture of the late 19th and
early 20th centuries can be viewed as a continuing cycle of
repression, rebellion, and upheaval. However, it is important to note
that these issues can be viewed through a variety of perspectives: not
only in terms of politics and history, but also in terms of the
overturning of social and artistic norms. In this course, we will
examine major authors of poetry, prose, and drama who shaped Russian
literature during this period. We will begin with Leo Tolstoy, whose
works gained him a worldwide reputation as both a great literary
artist and as a moral teacher and prophet, and we will continue up to
and beyond the works of Alexander Solzhenitsyn, whose novel One Day in
the Life of Ivan Denisovich marked a short-lived thaw in the
oppression of Soviet culture. Along the way, we will also examine the
literary innovations of Chekhov and his influence on the modern short
story and drama, the rich artistic experimentation of the 1910s and
1920s, the variety of reactions on the part of writers to the
cataclysmic events of the Russian Revolution and the ensuing Civil
War, responses to Stalin and Stalinism, the advent of Russian
postmodernism, and some of the "dark" literature of the years of
perestroika and glasnost. In addition to Tolstoy and Solzhenitsyn,
other authors may include: Chekhov, Mayakovsky, Zamyatin, Babel,
Nabokov, Bulgakov, and others.