Short class assignments in boldface below are written charts or paragraphs, or questions to be asked in class. These are part of your class participation assignment and are to be handed in at the end of (or asked during) class.
Jan 21 Introduction to the course; a short history of Russian literature
Read: Pushkin, The Bronze Horseman *
Bely, Petersburg, Prologue; Chapter 1
26 Russian Cultural Myths and The Bronze Horseman
Read: Chapters 2, 3
28 Symbolism and Bely
Read: Chapter 4, 5
Write: a chart of as many doublings as you can find, citing text
Feb 2 Motifs and doubles in Petersburg; Apollo/Dionysus
Read: Chapters 6, 7
Prepare: pick a passage to explicate related to neo-classical
themes (in class, orally)
4 Caryatids and the tooth of time
Read: Petersburg, Chapter 8, Epilogue
Write: a chart of parallels between Revelation and
Petersburg made up of the texts
9 Revelation and Petersburg: synthesis?
Read: A Slap in the Face of Public Taste*
Blok, The Stranger, The Twelve*
11 Blok, Bely and the Russian Revolution
Read: On Party Policy*
Five Zoshchenko stories*, two from Brown**
16 Literary schools and politics of the 1920s
Read: Babel, Five stories from Red Cavalry*; three from
PAPER #1 DUE: Trace a motif from Petersburg
(see guidelines for motif papers)
18 The Red Army, the Jews, Intellectuals
Presentations: a motif in Red Cavalry
Read: Zamyatin, We (1/2)
Poems by Dmitri Prigov
23 Visiting lecturer Susanne Fusso: Prigov
The narrator of We?
Motifs in We: the color system
Presentations: color motifs
Finish: We (1/2)
Read: Genesis 1-4
25 Utopias and anti-utopias :
Presentations: Calculus in We
Genesis and We
Plato's Republic and We
Read: Olesha, Envy, Part I**
Prepare: a passage revealing Kavalerov's psyche
February 26: Reading by Dmitri Prigov, 4:15, Russell House
March 1 A close reading of Kavalerovs mind
Read: Finish Envy
Make a chart of parallel characters from Hamlet or Oedipus
3 Envy and Hamlet/Oedipus: subtexts?
Presentation: Who wrote what letters?
Why is Part II in the 3rd person?
Read: The Gospel According to Saint Matthew, chapters 26-28
The Master and Margarita, Chapters 1-6
Make a chart of points in common between the Moscow and
the Jerusalem Chapters made up of citations (chapters 1 and 2)
22 The Gospels; Bulgakov the playwright
Read: The Master and Margarita, chapters 7-13
24 Compare the Affair at Griboedovs and the scene in the Variety
Read: The Master and Margarita, chapters 14-23
29 M&M and Goethes Faust Part I
Presentation: Faust and M&M
Read: chapters 23-end
31 Satans ball, severed heads, musical motifs
Presentation: musical themes
The Gospel According to Saint Matthew:
Compare it to Bulgakovs treatment of the passion story
Presentation : Is there a new evangelist?
Presentation: Who wrote which manuscript?
Read: A Day In the Life of Ivan Denisovich , "Matryona's Home"
April 5 Brick-laying, the camp artists, hierarchies (Ivan Denisovich)
The mice behind the wallpaper ("Matryona")
Read: Shalamov, three stories; Sinyavsky, "Pkhentz"**
7 PAPER #2 DUE : do a subtext study (see guidelines for subtext papers)
Raw materials; isolation; the freak
Read: Aksenov, The Victory*
Write one sentence: who won what game?
Read: Life in Windy Weather*
Write: a brief outline of the wind motif citing crucial comparisons
from the text: with what is it associated?
12 The Victory--whose? Interpreting the wind motif
Read: Bible: Daniel; Iskander, Belshazzars Feasts*
Write: outline points of contact between the two texts
Read: Aleshkovsky, From the Book of Final Statements*
P. Meyer, "Skaz in the work of Yuz Aleshkovsky"*
Prepare: one juicy question about the tale, Aleshkovskys
career, or Soviet-Russian life/literature/politics
14 The author will answer your questions
Read: Tolstaya, Date With a Bird, Sonya*
Write: an outline of the eggs in Date and a sentence of
Interpretation of their meaning in the story
Read: Petrushevskaya, The Time: Night (1/2)
19 Analysis of Tolstaya's stories
Read: Finish The Time: Night
Write: one question about the novel
21 Reliable narrator?
Visiting lecturer: Andrei Zorin, Moscow State Humanities
University, "The 1990s"
Read: Ludmila Ulitskaya, The Funeral Party (1/2)
26 PAPER #3 DUE: write a parody of any author/style we've read
Read: The Funeral Party (finish)
Zinovy Zinik, "A Chance Encounter"*
Read: Victor Pelevin, "Sleep"*
May 3 The metaphor of "Sleep"
Finale: the theme of writing in the semesters readings:
the distorting effect of enforced dialogue
* In course packet
** In Clarence Brown, The Portable Russian 20th Century Reader
* In course packet
** in Clarence Brown, The Portable Russian 20th Century Reader