RUSS 203
Nineteenth-Century Russian Literature: Rebels and Rebellion Fall 2019
Division I
Cross-listed COMP 203 / RUSS 203
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

“God save us from seeing a Russian revolt, senseless and merciless,” famously proclaimed Alexander Pushkin. But is revolt always senseless? And if it’s not, what is the meaning behind it? Throughout the nineteenth century, Russian literature gave different answers to these questions. In this course, students will familiarize themselves with the masterpieces of the Golden Age of Russian literature with a particular focus on rebellion understood in its broadest sense: philosophical, psychological, social, sexual, and aesthetic. We will examine the confrontation of the archetypal figure of Russian literature, the “superfluous man,” with his milieu in Pushkin, Lermontov, Turgenev, and Goncharov. The social and psychological revolt of another key figure–the “little man”–will be addressed in the works of Pushkin and Gogol. We will then discuss woman’s sexual rebellion in Nikolai Leskov and the forms of spiritual rebellion in Leo Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. Finally, we will examine the aesthetic revolution of Chekhov’s plays, which challenged the principles of the old theater and marked the turn to new modernist drama. All readings are in English.
The Class: Format: lecture
Limit: none
Expected: 15
Class#: 1324
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: participation, writing assignments, written exam
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: students majoring or considering a major in Russian or Comparative literature
Distributions: Division I
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
COMP 203 Division I RUSS 203 Division I

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