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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Spring 2008

E 322 • Russian Twentieth Century Masterpieces

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
35005 MWF
2:00 PM-3:00 PM
PAR 203
Livers, K

Course Description

This course is an introduction to Russian prose of the twentieth century. Over the course of the semester we will look at the ways in which early twentieth century authors such as Ivan Bunin, Isaac Babel, Yury Olesha, Andrei Platonov, Mikhail Bulgakov and others envisioned the communist utopia. We will also read a number of authors from the second half of the century such as Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Tatiana Tolstaia, Viktor Erofee, as well as the extraordinarily popular Viktor Pelevin, whose novels depict life after communism. Primary texts will be supplemented with biographical/secondary readings and lectures meant to elucidate the cultural and political context of the works.

Grading Policy

Completion of assignments by date given in syllabus
Course work:
3 essays (6 pages each) = 70%
In-class presentation = 15%
Quizzes and class participation = 15%

NOTE: Course essays are an opportunity for you to explore in greater depth the issues raised in lectures and class discussions. They DO NOT require you to do extensive outside/secondary research. First and foremost, they should be based on an informed and creative reading of the texts in question.


Envy, Yury Olesha (tr. Marian Schwartz)
Happy Moscow, Andrei Platonov (tr. Robert Chandler)
Homo Zapiens, Viktor Pelevin (tr. Andrew Bromfield)
Life With An Idiot, Victor Erofeyev (tr. Andrew Reynolds)
The Life of Insects, Viktor Pelevin (tr. Andrew Bromfield)
The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov (tr. Diana Burgin & Katherine Tiernan O' Connor)
Red Cavalry, Isacc Babel (tr. David McDuff)
Sleepwalker in a Fog, Tatiana Tolstaia (tr. ?)
We, Yevgeny Zamyatin (Mirra Ginsburg)

Most classes will consist of both lecture and discussion. Since part of the course grade is based on informed participation, it is imperative that you do ALL of the readings (primary & secondary) by the day in which they appear in the syllabus. The reading assignments due for each day will simply be listed under the heading of "READING."


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