RUSSIAN 450 - Twentieth-Century Russian Literature
Winter 2021, Section 001 - St. Petersburg: the City and its Texts
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  Online (see other Sections below)
Subject: Russian (RUSSIAN)
Department: LSA Slavic Languages & Literatures
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Other Course Info:
Taught in English.
May not be repeated for credit.
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St Petersburg is one of the most mythologized cities in the world, with a rich legacy of intriguing cultural incarnations, expressive of its paradoxical status as: (for two hundred years) the capital of an empire that it did not resemble, either in its un-Russian design or its evident modernity; a city of magnificence and grandeur on its main streets, with squalor and poverty in its side streets; an embodiment of western-European “reason” and the Enlightenment, in which the demonic reigns and madness is an ever-present risk; a city where the wealthy and powerful live in luxury, while the alienated, solitary resident is likely to be crushed.

This course will examine, chapter-by-chapter and week-by-week, Andrei Belyi’s outstanding novel Petersburg, which many readers nowadays place beside the modernist masterpieces of Joyce, Proust, Kafka, and Faulkner. In parallel with Belyi’s novel, other literary and cultural statements of the city’s paradoxical nature will be examined—including some of the most famous Petersburg works of Pushkin, Gogol’, Dostoevskii, Blok, Mandelstam, Brodsky, and others. Guest lecturers—including some joining the class from the city itself—will look at other aspects of St Petersburg culture, including issues of race and identity in twentieth-century treatments of the city (with particular attention paid to the Yiddish novelist Sholem Asch and his Petersburg).

The course will be taught in English, with all readings available in English, although Russianists are encouraged to read as much as possible in Russian.

Course Requirements:

Students in the 450 sections will be required to write three short papers and a longer, final paper; students in the 582 section will be required to participate in regular online forums, record two presentations on work in progress, and submit a final project of approximately 8,000 words in length.

Class Format:

This course is taught in “online” and “flipped” format—students participate in live class meetings online; most lectures are recorded and posted in advance. Students watch the recorded lectures and then, during class meetings, participate in informal discussion of assigned materials and lectures.


RUSSIAN 450 - Twentieth-Century Russian Literature
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM

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