Russian Course Descriptions

Russian 120 - First-Year Russian

Full course for one year. Essentials of grammar and readings in simplified texts. The course is conducted in Russian as much as possible. Conference.

Russian 220 - Second-Year Russian

Full course for one year. Readings, systematic grammar review, verbal drill, and writing of simple prose. The course is conducted in Russian and is intended for students interested in active use of the language. Prerequisite: Russian 120 or placement based on results of the Russian language exam. Conference.

Russian 266 - Russian Short Fiction

Full course for one semester. Intended for lower-division students, this course is devoted to close readings of short stories and novellas by such nineteenth- and twentieth-century writers as Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoevsky, Turgenev, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Babel, Bulgakov, Nabokov, Askyonov, and Tolstaya. Our approach is twofold. First, we attempt “open” readings, taking our texts as representatives of a single tradition in which later works are engaged in a dialogue with their predecessors. Second, we use the readings as test cases for a variety of critical approaches. Meets English departmental requirement for 200-level genre courses. Prerequisite: students who wish to take the course for Russian credit must have completed Russian 220 or obtain the consent of the instructor. Conference.

Russian 300 - Advanced Russian

Full course for one semester. Grammar review; reading, composition, and conversation. The course aims to increase reading comprehension and to activate Russian written and oral skills through the study and analysis of diverse texts, vocabulary enhancement, structured composition exercises, and oral practice. Conducted in Russian. Does not fulfill upper-division foreign language literature requirement for majors in the Division of Literature and Languages. Prerequisite: Russian 220 or placement based on the Russian language examination. Conference.

Russian 333 - Russian Religious Culture

Full course for one semester. This course investigates the central figures and ideas constitutive of Russia’s religious culture, as manifested in the work of explicitly religious philosophers and the iteration and refraction of their thought in a selection of literature and texts. Readings will draw on the writings of Theofan the Recluse, Georgij Skovoroda, Vasilij Rozanov, Nikolaj Fyodorov, Nikolaj Berdjaev, Vladimir Solovyov, Sergej Bulgakov, and Lev Shestov, and will include consideration of the Slavophile and Panslavist polemics concerning the nature and role of religion in Russian culture, including Kireevskij’s concept of “integrality,” Khomjakov’s sobornost or “collegiality,” Leont’ev’s Byzantinism and transcendental egoism, and Pavel Florensky’s hermeneutic theology. Literary texts will include writings by Herzen, Dostoevsky, and Belyj. Prerequisite: for Russian credit—completion of Russian 220 or consent of the instructor; for religion credit—completion of Religion 201 or consent of the instructor. Conference. Cross-listed as Literature 333 and Religion 333. Not offered 2006-07.

Russian 339 - Masculinities in Russian Culture

Full course for one semester. The course examines how modern Russian literature and arts represent and imagine normative manhood. Employing theoretical frameworks from such fields as anthropology, sociology, and literary theory, we will approach the cultural elite’s notions of normative and defective masculinity as historically variable cultural constructs. We will focus on distinct types of masculinity characteristic of the several historical trends and fashions: dueling, dandyism, nihilism, decadence, and revolutionary activity. Special attention will be paid to Stalinist and Postcommunist scenarios of masculinity. Besides theoretical and historical works, the reading includes a diverse set of texts (mostly literary but also cinematic and visual) that represent and interpret the patterns of masculinity that were or are prominent in Russia. From this perspective, we will discuss the classics (including Pushkin, Gogol, Turgenev, Chernyshevsky, Chekhov, Babel, and Platonov) as well as non-canonical and marginal literary products. Prerequisite: students who wish to take the course for Russian credit must have completed Russian 220 or obtain the consent of the instructor. Conference. Cross-listed as Literature 339. Not offered 2006-07.

Russian 354 - Seminar in Nineteenth-Century Russian Poetry

Full course for one semester. Drawing largely on works from the Golden Age of Russian poetry, this course investigates a variable set of topics, which may range from the elegaic tradition to narrative poetic genres, from the philosophical ode to the romance; it includes study of the distinctive features of neo-classical, baroque, pre-romantic, and romantic poetics. In any given year, students may expect to encounter the works of Derzhavin, Karamzin, Zhukovsky, Pushkin, Baratynskii, Batiushkov, Lermontov, Tiutchev, Nekrasov, and Fet. Collateral readings include works on versification, genre, and literary history. Prerequisite: two years of Russian or consent of the instructor. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

Russian 355 - Twentieth-Century Russian Poetry

Full course for one semester. An introduction to modern Russian poetry and poetics, this course traces the main developments in Russian poetry over the last 100 years, devoting detailed study and analysis to varying key figures. In any given year the object of study may be a single poet’s work (such as Osip Mandelstam), a genre (such as the sonnet or the epic), a cycle (such as the “Hamlet” cycle or the “St. Petersburg cycle”), or a poetic movement (such as Acmeism). The aim of the course is to acquaint students with the range of achievement in that area of twentieth-century literature that Russians consider to be the most important part of their literary culture. Frequent written assignments. Conducted in Russian. Prerequisite: at least two years of Russian or consent of the instructor. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

Russian 371 - Russian Literature from its Beginnings through Gogol

Full course for one semester. Intended to introduce the Russian modes of prose writing in relation to their Western European models, this course seeks to map the specificities of Russian pre-modern literary culture. The nature of narrative is studied with respect to medieval literary conventions versus modern literary conventions. The eighteenthcentury is examined in terms of the imitative nature of the narrative that perpetually looks back to the Western European world on the material of the epistolary text, travelers’ tales, adventure tales, and the sentimental novel. The nineteenth-century readings of novellas by Pushkin, Lermontov, and Gogol emphasize narrative techniques as they are rooted in the conventions of “someone else’s voice” and in the narrator’s world-view conveyed from an estranged position. Prerequisite: students who wish to take the course for Russian credit must have completed Russian 220 or obtain the consent of the instructor. Lecture-discussion. Cross-listed as Literature 371. Not offered 2006-07.

Russian 372 - Nineteenth-Century Russian Fiction

Full course for one semester. This survey of Russian fiction, including works by Lermontov, Gogol, Turgenev, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Leskov, and Chekhov, studies the development of thematic and generic conventions and the emergence of Realism in its multiple forms. Readings in English. Prerequisite: students who wish to take the course for Russian credit must have completed Russian 220 or obtain the consent of the instructor. Conference. Cross-listed as Literature 372. Not offered 2006-07.

Russian 373 - Modern Russian Literature from Chekhov to the Present

Full course for one semester. Survey of the modern Russian and Soviet short story and novel, exploring the evolution of these genres in relation to historical and cultural developments and considering a variety of critical approaches. Readings will include the prose of Chekhov, Gorkij, Belyj, Babel, Olesha, Pasternak, Bulgakov, Nabokov, Solzhenitsyn, and Trifonov. Prerequisite: students who wish to take the course for Russian credit must have completed Russian 220 or obtain the consent of the instructor. Lecture-conference. Cross-listed as Literature 373.

Literature 373 Description

Russian 385 - Topics in Russian Culture: A.S. Pushkin's Evgenii Onegin

Full course for one semester. This course will focus on Evgenii Onegin , Aleksander Pushkin’s novel in verse, which is considered both the greatest work of Russian poetry and the beginning of the nineteenth-century Russian novel. We will read the complete Russian text of Evgenii Onegin and discuss it against the background of its literary sources, mainly Russian and European pre-Romantic and Romantic literature (such as Rousseau, Richardson, and Byron). Special attention will be paid to the cultural and historical contexts of the novel and its versification, narrative structure, generic specificity, and relationship to Russian poetic traditions. We will read the selection of critical works about the novel, including Vladimir Nabokov’s commentary, and analyze the attempts to render Evgenii Onegin in such media as opera and film. We will read and discuss Vikram Seth’s The Golden Gate , the English-language novel written in the genre of Onegin . Extensive reading in Russian. Prerequisite: Russian 220 or reading competence in Russian. This course satisfies the Russian department’s requirement for a course in Russian poetry. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

Russian 388 - The Soviet Experience

Full course for one semester. The course will explore Soviet history, literature, and culture from a specific perspective: reviewing society’s efforts to organize lives and experience as reflected in literature and the arts. Topics include conceptions of time and space (reforms of calendar, organization of industrial time, city and house planning, communal living); family, sexuality, and gender; Stalinist terror and forms of resistance to terror; and the revision of historical experience. In addition to selected literary texts, the course will examine architectural designs, legal codes, personal letters, diaries, memoirs, and art. Prerequisite: students who wish to take the course for Russian credit must have completed Russian 220 or obtain the consent of the instructor. Lecture-conference. Cross-listed as Literature 388. Not offered 2006-07.

Russian 389 - Postcommunist Russian Literature, Film, and Society

Full course for one semester. The course will begin with a consideration of the political, economic, and cultural background against which the current developments in Russia are taking place. We will then explore recent literary texts and other artistic productions with a view to what they reveal concerning such themes as the new nationalisms, constructions of gender, and the confrontation with the Soviet and Russian past. Prerequisite: students who wish to take the course for Russian credit must have completed Russian 220 or obtain the consent of the instructor. Conference. Cross-listed as Literature 389. Not offered 2006-07.

Russian 400 - Advanced Russian: Language, Culture and Style

Full course for one semester. This course expands and deepens the student’s understanding of expressive nuances of Russian through a study of select lexical, morphological, syntactical, and phonological features and through an examination of their contextual usage in appropriate target texts—both belles-lettristic and mass media—and corresponding cultural matrices. Case study materials include neo-classical, romantic, realistic, and modernist poetic and prose texts; “pulp” fiction; journalism; and Russian “rap” lyrics. Reading, writing, and discussion are conducted in Russian, though theoretical materials will include English-language sources. Prerequisite: Russian 220 or 300, or equivalent proficiency. Conference.

Russian 402 - Russian Stylistics

Full course for one semester. The course concentrates on Russian word formation and stylistics, with readings drawn from nineteenth- and twentieth-century poetic and prose texts. Weekly writing assignments are in Russian. Prerequisite: Russian 220 or equivalent proficiency. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

Russian 408 - Russian Decadent and Symbolist Culture in a European Context

Full course for one semester. The course investigates Russian Decadent and Symbolist literature in a broad European context. We will study the philosophical foundations of Decadent culture (Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Solov'ev); the preoccupation with "degeneration," common in the European science of the fin-de-siècle (Krafft-Ebing, Weininger); the "aestheticism" (J. K. Huysmans, Oscar Wilde); and the interpretations of sexuality (André Gide, Thomas Mann). The Russian component of the reading includes the works of Zinaida Gippius, Viacheslav Ivanov, Fedor Sologub, Mikhail Kuzmin, Evdokiia Nagrodskaia, Aleksandr Blok, and Andrei Bely. This course will emphasize a research component: a research paper will be due at the end of the semester. Prerequisite: students who wish to take the course for Russian credit must have completed Russian 220 or obtain the consent of the instructor. Conference. Cross-listed as Literature 408.

Literature 408 Description

Russian 413 - Twentieth-Century Russian Critical Theories

Full course for one semester. Examination of the main trends of twentieth-century Russian literary criticism and theory, including works produced by the Russian Formalist school, by linguistic and structural criticism, and by Marxist and semiotic approaches to literature and culture. The course will consider the origin and development of different methodologies and will look at their application to specific works of Russian and Western literature. Readings will include works by Shklovsky, Eikhenbaum, Tynjanov, Jakobson, Bakhtin, Lotman, and Ginzburg. Prerequisite: students who wish to take the course for Russian credit must have completed Russian 220 or obtain the consent of the instructor. Conference. Cross-listed as Literature 413. Not offered 2006-07.

Russian 421 - Russian Romanticism in its West European Context

Full course for one semester. This course examines and contextualizes the philosophical and aesthetic ideas and artistic conventions that characterize Russian literature from the period roughly between 1780 and 1840 within the Western European cultural movements of sentimentalism and romanticism. The readings are organized around a set of central issues: the renegotiation of the boundary between poetry and philosophy, the conception of the human personality, cultural pluralism, the sublime, romantic irony, and romantic nationalism. Texts include the writings of Radishchev, Karamzin, Pushkin, Odoevsky, Pavlova, Gogol, Lermontov, and Turgenev, among the Russians; and Rousseau, Sterne, Burke, Goethe, Schiller, Hoffman, Tieck, Constant, and Byron, among the Western Europeans. Prerequisite: students who wish to take the course for Russian credit must have completed Russian 220 or obtain the consent of the instructor. Conference. Cross-listed as Literature 421. Not offered 2006-07.

Russian 425 - Twentieth-century Russian Jewish Literature and Culture: Text, Canvas, Screen

Full course for one semester. This course examines the problem of Jewish literature and the Jewish artist in the twentieth century through investigating the Russian Jewish literary, artistic and intellectual imagination since the early 1900s. While the Russian Jewish twentieth-century artists felt themselves to be completely in and of the Russian tradition, shaping and revising it, their understanding of this tradition and the role of the Russian writer was challenged and complicated both by their sense of their Jewishness, and the overall project of modern Jewish artistic self-fashioning. We shall examine how these artists creatively approached their Jewishness and conceived of their place in Russian (and Soviet) literature and culture. We shall ask whether the Russian Jewish texts can be seen as forming a separate tradition and scrutinize various methodologies of defining a literary text in a non-Jewish language as Jewish. We shall pay close attention to ideological, historic, cultural, linguistic, and aesthetic contexts of the discourses involved: Russian modernist, Hebrew and Yiddish modernist, Soviet, dissident, and post-Soviet. Readings from Jabotinsky, Knut, Dubnow, Mandelshtam, Bagritsky, Babel, Ehrenburg, Grossman, Gorenshtein, and Slutsky among others. Prerequisite: students who wish to take the course for Russian credit must have completed Russian 220 or obtain the consent of the instructor. Lecture-conference. Cross-listed as Literature 425.

Literature 425 Description

Russian 435 - Introduction to Russian Film

Full course for one semester. The course provides an introduction to the history and poetics of Russian film from the double perspective of Russian cultural contexts and the development of cinema as an artistic medium. While studying the masterpieces of Russian film, we will pay special attention to silent cinema, from Bauer and Kuleshov to Protazanov, Pudovkin, Vertov, and Dovzhenko. Sergei Eisenstein’s films will be considered in detail, as well those by Andrei Tarkovsky, Sergei Paradzhanov, and Nikita Mikhalkov. The readings will focus on the works of film theory and film history. Prerequisite: students who wish to take the course for Russian credit must have completed Russian 220 or obtain the consent of the instructor. Conference. Cross-listed as Literature 435.

Literature 435 Description

Russian 470 - Thesis

One-half or full course for one year.

Russian 481 - Independent Study

One-half or full course for one semester. Prerequisite: approval of instructor and division.




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