RUS 383 • Forgotten Periods
3:00 PM-6:00 PM
Everything you always wanted to know about Russian literature but never had a chance to read. A course which invites students to fill in the gaps in their course preparation. The basic theme of the course will be the paradoxical comparison of two periods currently under-represented in the curriculum, the Russian eighteenth century and the period of high Soviet culture (1940-1970). Both are dominated by a prescribed artistic canon, in both writers must enter a dialogue with state and rulers yet in both they manage to assert their individuality. Open sessions will be left in the course plan to accommodate other neglected interests. Students will consult with the instructor to arrive at a final syllabus that reflects the needs and preferences of the group. Seminar papers may deal with a work or problem from any period.
Preliminary topic lists, for selection: Eighteenth century The birth of Russian classic verse, the panegyric ode and its transformation, the ruler as writer, satirical journals, the literary burlesque, pornographic and libertine verse, the sentimental journey, comedies of manners, the fable. Eighteenth-century authors: Lomonosov, Derzhavin, Catherine the Great, Krylov, Bogdanovich, Barkov, Radishchev, Fonvizin. The high Soviet period: Bulgakov, Master and Margarita; Pasternak, Doctor Zhivago, camp literature: Solzhenitsyn "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich," Shalamov, Kolyma Tales, Solzhenitsyn novels or The Gulag Archipelago, memoirs (Ginsburg, Nadezhda Mandelstam), Terz/Sinyavsky, etc. Note: Good reading knowledge of Russian is assumed.
Active participation in seminar 30% Periodic brief textual analyses or response papers 40% Final seminar paper 30%