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Luisa Nardini, Director MBE 3.602, Mailcode E3100, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-232-2069

Michael Pesenson

Assistant Professor Ph.D, Yale University

MDV 392M • The Icon And The Sword

40991 • Fall 2010
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm GAR 3.116
(also listed as C L 323, REE 325, REE 385, RUS 330 )
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Course Description

This course serves as an introduction to the exciting and exotic literature and culture of the medieval and early modern Russia.  Over the course of the semester, we will learn about all aspects of medieval Russian life, exploring important literary texts from Kievan and Muscovite Rus’ that reveal a vibrant and thriving literary and cultural community.  These texts include notable examples of historical writing, military tales, saints’ lives, homilies, adventure tales, biographies, polemical treatises, and miracle tales.  We will also devote time to the study of art and iconography, examining in particular regional differences in icon painting and other artistic production. In addition, we will watch several well-known Russian films and operas based on medieval historical subjects, such as Alexander Nevsky, Andrei Rublev, Ivan the Terrible, and Boris Godunov, and discuss how librettists, composers, directors, and screenwriters re-imagined medieval Russian culture in their own times.  All readings and discussion will be in English.

 

Prerequisites

Upper Division Standing.

 

Undergraduate Courses

Fall 2010 REE 301/SLA 301 "Introduction to Russian, E. European, and Eurasian"

Course Description

Introduction to the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe through each of the major disciplines represented in the program: language, literature, anthropology, geography, history, government, sociology, and economics.  Core course required for a degree in Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies. Meets with SLA 301 and GRG 309. May not be used to fulfill the foreign language requirement for any Bachelor’s degree. Course number may be repeated for credit when the topics vary.

Fall 2010 REE 330/REE 325/CL 323/REE 385/RUS 391 "The Icon and the Sword: An Introduction to Old Russian Literature and Culture"

Course Description

This course serves as an introduction to the exciting and exotic literature and culture of the medieval and early modern Russia.  Over the course of the semester, we will learn about all aspects of medieval Russian life, exploring important literary texts fro Kievan and Muscovite Rus’ that reveal a vibrant and thriving literary and cultural community.  These texts include notable examples of historical writing, military tales, saints’ lives, homilies, adventure tales, biographies, polemical treatises, and miracle tales.  We will also devote time to the study of art and iconography, examining in particular regional differences in icon painting and other artistic production. In addition, we will watch several well-known Russian films and oeras based on medieval historical subjects, such as Alexander Nevsky, Andrei Rublev, Ivan the Terrible, and Boris Godunov, and discuss how librettists, composers, directors, and screenwriters re-imagined medieval Russian culture in their own times.  All readings and discussion will be in English.

Fall 2011 RUS 356/REE 325/E322/CTI345 "The Russian Novel"

The Russian novel represents Russia’s most fundamental contribution to world culture.  This course surveys classic authors and experimental works from the 19th and 20th centuries.  Students in the course will deepen their understanding of the context for writers, including Dostoevsky and Tolstoy. They will gain familiarity with literary movements and genres including romanticism, realism, modernism, and the postmodern as they developed in Russia.  We will highlight issues including the relationship of Russia to the West, national identity, and the complex relationship of literature to politics.

Reading List: (These novels are all available in the bookstore or on Blackboard)

M. Lermontov, A Hero of Our Time

I. Turgenev, Fathers and Son

F. Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment

L. Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

M. Bulgakov, Master and Margarita

A. Solzhenitsyn, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

V. Grossman, Everything Flows

V. Sorokin, Day of the Oprichnik

V. Pelevin, Yellow Arrow

Fall 2011 RUS 330/REE 325/REE 385/CL 323/CL 382 "The Apocalypse in Russian Literature and Culture"

The Russians have been famously termed “wanderers in search of God’s truth”. In much of their literature there is a discernable thirst for another life, another world, a clear displeasure at what is. There is an eschatological directedness, an expectation that there will be an end to all that is finite, that a final truth will ultimately be revealed, that in the future an extraordinary event will take place. This new course will explore and analyze apocalyptic consciousness in Russian literature and culture from the Middle Ages to the present. Emphasis will be on such themes as the expectation of the end of the world, identification of the Antichrist, messianic prophecy and visions of an afterlife. Readings will include works of Gogol, Pushkin, Dostoevsky, Bely, Merezhkovsky, Soloviev, Bulgakov, Makanin, and Tolstaya.

The graduate component of this class will involve an additional moderate amount of reading in Russian (for Slavic graduate students) or other apocalyptic traditions (for Comparative Literature graduate students).  Slavic graduate students will also be expected to write their response papers in Russian.  All graduate students will make brief presentations in class on an agreed upon topic of their choice depending on their individual interests.

 

Reading List: (These works are all available in the bookstore, on Blackboard or on Google Books)

D. Merezhkovsky, Peter and Alexei

A. Pushkin, Bronze Horseman

F. Dostoevsky, Demons

N. Gogol, Dead Souls

M. Bulgakov, Master and Margarita

V. Soloviev, Third Conversation and Short Story on the Antichrist

A. Bely, Petersburg

M. Bulgakov, Master and Margarita

T. Tolstaya, Slynx

V. Makanin, Escape Hatch

Graduate Courses

Fall 2010 REE 330/REE 325/CL 323/REE 385/RUS 391 "The Icon and the Sword: An Introduction to Old Russian Literature and Culture"

Course Description

This course serves as an introduction to the exciting and exotic literature and culture of the medieval and early modern Russia.  Over the course of the semester, we will learn about all aspects of medieval Russian life, exploring important literary texts fro Kievan and Muscovite Rus’ that reveal a vibrant and thriving literary and cultural community.  These texts include notable examples of historical writing, military tales, saints’ lives, homilies, adventure tales, biographies, polemical treatises, and miracle tales.  We will also devote time to the study of art and iconography, examining in particular regional differences in icon painting and other artistic production. In addition, we will watch several well-known Russian films and oeras based on medieval historical subjects, such as Alexander Nevsky, Andrei Rublev, Ivan the Terrible, and Boris Godunov, and discuss how librettists, composers, directors, and screenwriters re-imagined medieval Russian culture in their own times.  All readings and discussion will be in English.

Fall 2011 RUS 330/REE 325/REE 385/CL 323/CL 382 "The Apocalypse in Russian Literature and Culture"

The Russians have been famously termed “wanderers in search of God’s truth”. In much of their literature there is a discernable thirst for another life, another world, a clear displeasure at what is. There is an eschatological directedness, an expectation that there will be an end to all that is finite, that a final truth will ultimately be revealed, that in the future an extraordinary event will take place. This new course will explore and analyze apocalyptic consciousness in Russian literature and culture from the Middle Ages to the present. Emphasis will be on such themes as the expectation of the end of the world, identification of the Antichrist, messianic prophecy and visions of an afterlife. Readings will include works of Gogol, Pushkin, Dostoevsky, Bely, Merezhkovsky, Soloviev, Bulgakov, Makanin, and Tolstaya.

The graduate component of this class will involve an additional moderate amount of reading in Russian (for Slavic graduate students) or other apocalyptic traditions (for Comparative Literature graduate students).  Slavic graduate students will also be expected to write their response papers in Russian.  All graduate students will make brief presentations in class on an agreed upon topic of their choice depending on their individual interests.

Reading List: (These works are all available in the bookstore, on Blackboard or on Google Books)

D. Merezhkovsky, Peter and Alexei

A. Pushkin, Bronze Horseman

F. Dostoevsky, Demons

N. Gogol, Dead Souls

M. Bulgakov, Master and Margarita

V. Soloviev, Third Conversation and Short Story on the Antichrist

A. Bely, Petersburg

M. Bulgakov, Master and Margarita

T. Tolstaya, Slynx

V. Makanin, Escape Hatch

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