RUSSIAN LITERATURE FROM THE GOLDEN AGE TO THE REVOLUTION
The course examines Russian classical literature, represented by prominent authors such as Alexander Pushkin, Nikolay Gogol (optional), Fyodor Dostoevsky, Leo Tolstoy, Boris Pasternak and Anton Chekhov (optional). The aim of the course is to introduce the students to Russian culture and literature of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (until 1917). Russian novel, individual author’s writing style, tendencies of development of Russian literature in the 19th and early 20th century are going to be discussed during the course.
The course highlights the key ideas of this period related to the questions of:
• the Russian path;
• the arguments between Westernizers and Slavophils;
• intelligentsia and common people (narod);
• reforms and the Revolution.
The concepts of Russianness, the St. Petersburg myth, the Golden and Silver ages of Russian culture, modernity, utopias and dystopias and other cultural ideas will be considered in the frame of the course. The course’s programme includes not only Russian fiction but also non-fiction texts (excerpts from Russian criticism – articles by Petr Chaadaev, Ivan Kyreevsky, Vissarion Belinsky, Alexander Pushkin, Alexander Blok, Fyodor Dostoevsky and others) to help the students to understand the ways in which crucial ideas of Russian culture are embodied in the works of creative writers. The course seeks to provide understanding of the social and political views of the authors which helped to determine their poetical ideas and their imagery.
Special attention is going to be paid to the issues of the writer`s analyses and intuition about the march of history – Dostoevsky`s anticipation of the coming turbulent period of European history, Tolstoy`s statement «все переворотилось и только укладывается», Pasternak`s understanding of the Russian Revolution. Another focus of attention concentrates on the ethical problems sharply posed by Russian literature, its longing for the ideal, its spirituality and responsibility.
The specificity of this course is attributed to its flexibility caused by different levels of the Russian language skills. The texts can be read in Russian or in English depending on the level of the Russian language proficiency. Professors take into consideration students preferences in the choice of the works to be discussed.
Preliminary reading includes:
1. Alexander Pushkin. Bronze Horseman. AND\OR Nikolay Gogol. Dead Souls.
2. Fyodor Dostoevsky. Crime and Punishment
3. Leo Tolstoy. Anna Karenina AND Death of Ivan Ilych (optional)
4. Anton Chekhov. Cherry Orchard (optional)
5. Boris Pasternak. Poems AND Doctor Zhivago
On completion of the course the students are required to write an essay on the topic suggested.