RUSSIAN 346 - Russian Literature from Romanticism to Realism
Winter 2021, Section 001 - Anna Karenina: Tolstoy's Novel in Context
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  Online (see other Sections below)
Subject: Russian (RUSSIAN)
Department: LSA Slavic Languages & Literatures
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Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:


In the 1870s, Leo Tolstoy wrote a novel now acclaimed as one of the unparalleled masterpieces of world literature. Anna Karenina tells a dramatic story of love and demise, erotic temptations and affectionate devotion, traumatic childhood and religious conversion, political clashes and economic challenges. This many-stranded narrative, with its universally important themes, keeps appealing to readers across chronological and national borders. But what did it mean for the society that read Anna Karenina as its own portrait? How did Tolstoy reflect and evaluate the imperial Russia of his day? What major historical developments underlie the novel? This course explores Russian history and culture through the lens of Anna Karenina. We will trace how the novel not only captures but also confronts the major social, artistic, religious and political developments of the 19th century. By analyzing Tolstoy’s masterpiece against a wide chronological backdrop, we will examine the defining elements that have distinguished Russian culture from Western civilization. The approach will be interdisciplinary. Topics include reform and stagnation, sexuality and religion, violence and repentance, utopia and modernity, capitalism and suicide. All readings are in English translation. No prior knowledge of Russian literature, culture, or language is necessary.

Class Format:

The course will be taught in a synchronous format (no pre-recorded lectures). Testing for this course (two papers) will be asynchronous.

This course will use Canvas for all asynchronous online components. Mandatory synchronous meetings with the instructor will be conducted through Zoom. Students should have access to a camera and microphone.


RUSSIAN 346 - Russian Literature from Romanticism to Realism
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
MW 4:00PM - 5:30PM

Textbooks/Other Materials

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