Russian Short Story
This course studies the development of 19th and 20th century Russian literature through one of its most distinct and highly recognized genresthe short story. The readings include great masters of fiction such as Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Solzhenitsyn, and others. The course presents the best works of short fiction and situates them in a literary process that contributes to the history of a larger cultural-political context.
Students will learn about the historical formation, poetic virtue, and thematic characteristics of major narrative modes such as romanticism, utopia, realism, modernism, socialist realism, and post-modernism. We critique the strategic use of various devices of literary representation such as irony, absurd, satire, grotesque, anecdote, etc. Some of the main topics and issues include: culture of the duel; the role of chance; the riddle of death; anatomy of madness; imprisonment and survival; the pathologies of St. Petersburg; terror and homo sovieticus.