COMP 257
Chekhov and His Time Spring 2015
Division I Writing Skills
Cross-listed RUSS 256 / COMP 257
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

Anton Chekhov’s influence throughout the world is hard to overestimate: he has been credited with forever redefining the way people write stories and act in plays, and with conveying universal lessons about art to an international audience. At the same time, Chekhov is very much a product of his own time and place, turn-of-the-century Russia. This course will venture to reconcile the universal and the Russian Chekhov. The course will consist of three parts. We will begin by analyzing the development of Chekhov┬┐s short stories from the early 1880s to the late 1890s, examining not only how they work, but also what they have to tell us about living deeply and well. In the second part of the course, we will contextualize Chekhov in his own milieu, looking at how his literary works address the most discussed social and philosophical questions of his time. We will conclude the course with three of Chekhov’s mature plays–Seagull, Uncle Vanya, and The Cherry Orchard–analyzing how the plays recycle the situations, characters, and language of Chekhov’s earlier stories and assessing Chekhov’s debt to and influence on the Russian theater of his time, especially his complex relationship with Stanislavsky. Assignments will combine traditional literary analysis with more creative interpretations. Students will write their own Chekhovian stories and perform one of Chekhov’s short plays of their choice.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 19
Expected: 12
Class#: 3181
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: participation (30%), Chekhovian story (20%), midterm (20%), final paper (30%)
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: Russian and Comparative Literature majors
Distributions: Division I Writing Skills
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
RUSS 256 Division I COMP 257 Division I

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