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War and Peace and Anna Karenina, which Henry James famously described as “baggy monsters,” are works that are immediately identified with Leo Tolstoy, a giant of nineteenth-century Russian literature. But Tolstoy wrote so much more! From short works of adult fiction, to stories for children, pedagogical essays, political tracts, aesthetic treatises, and philosophical musings. He produced variously and prodigiously throughout his life and that’s not even counting his fascinating diaries and personal correspondence. Our course readings will probe this exceptional variety with the goal of understanding the scope of Tolstoy’s thinking in greater depth. All readings and discussion will be in Russian.
Format: seminar; This is a hybrid upper-level seminar that can be taken in-person or online.
Grading: yes pass/fail option,
yes fifth course option
Active and substantive class participation, leading discussion, weekly short writing assignments, and 1-2 longer writing pieces of 4-5 pages.
Three years of college Russian or the equivalent. Students who have not taken Russian language at Williams must consult the instructor.
Russian majors and certificate seekers, then comparative literature majors.