COMP 204 Spring 2013 Twentieth-Century Russian Literature: From Revolution to Perestroika

Cross Listed as RUSS204
Whether despite or precisely because of the enormous historical and political turbulence in twentieth-century Russia, the intensity of its cultural life was equally unprecedented. Over the period of nearly seventy years, Russian literature went through a number of major stages that defined its poetics and ideology: the Silver Age and its decline; the Revolution, the Civil War and the rise of Socialist Realism as the official literary method; the exodus of Russian writers abroad in the 1920s; the birth of a new proletarian type, worshiped by Soviet authors and mocked by the anti-Soviet ones; the Second World War; the Thaw and de-Stalinization, when the Gulag seemed to have floated to the surface; another wave of tightening of the regime during the "stagnation period," the dissident movement and the Cold War; another mass emigration to Europe, Israel and the U.S.; and finally -- the dissolution of the Soviet empire and the rise of Russian postmodernism. As we discuss these and other topics of twentieth-century Russian culture, we will find ourselves immersed into the mechanisms of literary humor and comicality (e.g., in Mikhail Zoshchenko's short stories and Ilf and Petrov's picaresque novel The Twelve Chairs), the elements of the supernatural (in Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita), the ways of how Russian writers portray urban space (e.g., Moscow, in Venedikt Erofeev's Moscow to the End of the Line), and how Soviet history is reinvented when censorship is replaced with market economy (in Viktor Pelevin's Generation P). Literary texts will be supplemented with occasional film screenings. All readings and discussions are in English.
Class Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: class attendance and participation, weekly reading responses (pre-circulated among class members), one class presentation (15-20 minutes), and a term paper
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Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preference: Russian majors
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Divisional Attributes: Division I
Other Attributes: INST Russian + Eurasian Studies Electives
Enrollment Limit: none
Expected Enrollment: 20
Class Number: 3847
COMP204-01(S) SEM 20th Century Russian Lit Division 1: Languages and the Arts Yakov L. Klots
MWF 12:00 PM-12:50 PM Hollander 158 3847
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