RUSS 222
Russian Literature and European Existentialism Spring 2019 Division I; Cross-listed as COMP270 / RUSS222

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Existentialism was a highly influential movement in twentieth-century European literature and thought. Nowadays the terms existentialism and existentialist are broadly used to describe the worldview and literary style of writers and thinkers as different as Fyodor Dostoevsky, Leonid Andreyev, Martin Heidegger, Franz Kafka, and Jean-Paul Sartre. Reflecting the shift to irrationalism in early twentieth-century philosophy and psychology, as well as the global cataclysms of the twentieth century, existentialism focuses on the problem of human alienation in the modern world, suggesting ways of overcoming it. In this course addressing the key concepts of existentialist philosophy (angst, borderline situation, the absurd, freedom), we will examine the origins of the existentialist worldview in nineteenth and early twentieth-century Russian literature (Dostoevsky, Chekhov, Leonid Andreyev); read and discuss existentialist texts by Kafka, Albert Camus, and Sartre; and look at the existentialist legacy in contemporary Russian and Western culture, including rock music. All readings are in English.
The Class: Type: lecture
Limit: none
Expected: 15
Class#: 3736
Requirements/Evaluation: participation, 3 writing assignments, oral presentation, final paper
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preference: students majoring or considering a major in Russian or Comparative Literature
Distributions: Division I;
Attributes: PHIL Related Courses

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