RUSS 401 Fall 2012 Senior Seminar: Petersburg

St. Petersburg is said to be not only one of the "strangest" and most beautiful cities in the world, but also the "cradle" of Russian literature. In this seminar, we will explore a variety of works by classic Russian authors who wrote about this city in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Reading their texts, we will try to look at the city through the eyes of their protagonists: the poor madman Evgenii from Pushkin's The Bronze Horseman, the ill-fated clerk Akaky Akakievich from Gogol's The Overcoat, the anonymous dreamer from Dostoevsky's White Nights and the "paradoxicalist" from his Notes from Underground; the poetry of Mandelshtam and Akhmatova and the new proletarian types of Zoshchenko's short stories will accompany us on our journey through Petersburg-Petrograd-Leningrad of the first half of the twentieth century, until we come across the autobiographical protagonists of Dovlatov, Brodsky and other non-conformist writers, who populated the city's literary landscape in the sixties and seventies. "Walking" the routes of this beautiful and sometimes frightening city, we will attempt to trace the history of its literary representation and try to answer the question, why it was Petersburg that became Russia's literary capital. The mythology of St. Petersburg and the notion of its "text" will remain central to our discussions throughout the course. Special attention in this seminar will be devoted to aspects of Russian phraseology, style and vocabulary. The class is conducted entirely in Russian, including both primary and secondary readings.
Class Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: class attendance &participation, occasional quizzes (phraseology, style, vocabulary and grammar), wkly reading responses (informal &short but to the point, circulated in advance among class members), one class presentation (15-20 minutes), & term paper.
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Prerequisites: Russian 252 or permission of the instructor
Enrollment Preference: Russian majors
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Divisional Attributes: Division I
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Enrollment Limit: 3-5
Expected Enrollment: 5
Class Number: 1830
RUSS401-01(F) SEM Sr Sem: Petersburg Division 1: Languages and the Arts Yakov L. Klots
MR 2:35 PM-3:50 PM Hollander 140 1830
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