ANNOTATION TO THE COURSE "SOVIET AND MODERN RUSSIAN LITERATURE"

The course introduces the students to Soviet literature, the reflection of myths and ideologies in it. At the beginning of the course the students will explore the works of one of the best Soviet poets Vladimir Mayakovsky. As the language of his late works is quite difficult for the foreigners, such children’s poems as “Chto takoe khorosho i chto takoe plokho?” ("What is good and what is bad"), Kem byt'? (Whom Shall I Be?) are chosen for study.  It is important to understand the spirit, in which the Soviet children were brought up, the moral they were taught. The image of a hero-child in “Skazka o voennoy tayne” ("Tales of the military secret") by Arkady Gaidar, a hero policeman in the poem “Dyadya Stepa” ("Uncle Stepa") by Sergei Mikhalkov,  a sovereign in the fairy tale “Tarakanische” ("A Giant Cockroach") by Kornei Chukovskii (the political interpretation of this text in a few years after it was written).
 
Special attention will be paid to the issues of war literature. Reading the poem "Vasily Terkin" by Alexander Twardowski will allow to feel the war situations, in which the hero acts. We will follow the evolution of the perception of war in works by Bulat Okudzhava: the estrangement, the feeling of war as non-existent. This unit will be completed with the story "Patient" by Daniel Granin, which will help to consider the specificity of the military syndrome. In addition, we will explore the phenomenon of the bardic song – works by Vladimir Vysotsky and Yuri Vizbor. The yard romance, the romance of camping and the "village prose" are in the focus. The brilliant representative of this movement is Vassiliy Shukshin. Reading his story “Solntse, starik i devushka” ("The sun, the old man and the girl"), the students will come to the understanding of the feat in everyday life and moral values.
 
The course will also cover the "perestroika" period.  In particular we are going to highlight the "female" prose by Lyudmila Petrushevskaya, Nina Sadur, Tatyana Tolstaya. The story “Chuzhiye sny” ("The dreams of others") by T.Tolstaya in which the author creates the image of St. Petersburg and the demonic image of Lenin is discussed in detail.  The theme of power and the personality will be reviewed on Igor Klekh’s story “O Stalinykh” ("About the Stalins"). For comparison Zakhar Prilepin’s “Pismo k Stalinu” ("Letter to Stalin") is also taken. The theme of the Russian national character is revealed on the example of "Comparative comments on proverbs of the Russian people" by Vyacheslav Pyetsuha. The problem of cross-cultural interaction is found in the story of Yuri Buida “Son samuraya” ("The dream of the Samurai"). The idea of invisible connection between all people in the world can be seen in the story by Mikhail Shishkin “Urok calligraphiyi” ("Calligraphy Lesson").
 
At the end of the course we are going to give the overview of the main trends of modern Russian literature of XXI century: the return to realism, the tendency toward universalism, cosmopolitanism, commercialization and virtualization of the literary texts, interest to literature for "everyday use".

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