REE 325 • Solzhenitsyn: Writer/Witness - W
3:30 PM-5:00 PM
An exploration of the novels (Cancer Ward, The First Circle) and historical writing (Gulag Archipelago) of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the Russian writer who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1970. The Gulag Archipelago was Solzhenitsyn's attempt to compile a literary-historical record of the vast system of Soviet prisons and labor camps that underwent an enormous expansion during the rule of Stalin (1924-1953). Various sections of the work describe the arrest, interrogation, conviction, transportation, and imprisonment of the Gulag's victims.
The work mingles historical exposition and Solzhenitsyn's own autobiographical accounts with the personal testimony of other inmates that he collected and committed to memory during his imprisonment. The course will locate Solzhenitsyn in the context of other important anti-utopian writers of the 20th century such as George Orwell. ALL READINGS IN ENGLISH.
Essay (10-12 pages)/Thesis, Introductory paragraph, and outline (2 pages) 50% Quizzes/Informed participation in class discussion 40% Short essay (4-5 pages) 10% NO FINAL EXAM!
NOTE: Course essays offer a chance to explore in depth issues raised in readings and discussion. They do NOT require extensive secondary research. They should, however, reflect a close yet imaginative reading of the text(s) at hand. Attendance: students are permitted two absences over the course of the semester. Further absence will count against the student's participation grade. Quizzes: Throughout the semester there will be approximately 5 unscheduled quizzes in a brief in-class essay format. Each student's lowest test grade will be dropped. There will be no remakes, and if a student misses a test then that will become the grade dropped.