Twentieth-Century Russian Prose

Russian V3221 3.0 points, Spring 2000

Prof. David Goldfarb

TTh 1:10-2:25, 237 Milbank Hall

18 Jan.—Introduction.

15 Feb.—Ivan Bunin (selected stories)

20 Jan.—Aleksandr Blok, “The Twelve”

25 Jan.—Andrei Bely, Petersburg

27 Jan—Bely

1 Feb.—Bely

3 Feb.—Bely

8 Feb.—Evgeny Zamiatin, We

10 Feb.—Zamiatin

17 Feb.—Valentin Kataev, Time, Forward!

22 Feb.—Kataev

24 Feb.—Isaac Babel, “The Story of My Dovcote,” “First Love,” “The Awakening”

29 Feb.—Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita

2 Mar.—Bulgakov


9 Mar.—Boris Pasternak, “Arial Tracks”


21 Mar.—Pasternak, Doctor Zhivago

23 Mar.—Pasternak

28 Mar.—Pasternak

30 Mar.—Pasternak

4 Apr.—Andrei Sinyavsky (pseud., Abram Tertz), “On Socialist Realism”

6 Apr.—Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

11 Apr.—Solzhenitsyn

13 Apr.—Tatiana Tolstaya, ---

-18 Apr.—Tolstaya

20 Apr.—Victor Pelevin, The Life of Insects

25 Apr.—Pelevin

27 Apr.—Conclusions


Grades will be weighted as follows:

 Participation    15%
 Short Essays     20%
 Midterm Exam     25%
 Final Exam       40%


READING—The readings above are listed as they will be discussed in class and should be read in advance of the day they we will cover them. All materials except for Blok and Babel will be available at Labyrinth Books. Be sure to use the editions assigned. It is important to note that along with the issue of the quality of different translations, other editions may vary in content due to Soviet censorship reflected even in English translations produced at various times.

If you know or are learning Russian, you are welcome to read in the original. Some of the works on the list should be quite accessible to students in the third-year course. If you would like some advice in this regard, please see me during the office hour.

Detailed assignment sheets will be provided in class for the papers:

SHORT ESSAYS—Brief essays on individual works will be assigned throughout the term as a way of developing close reading skills required for the understanding of literary texts on an advanced level.

EXAMS—The exams will be in essay format covering all the readings in the course. The questions will be comparative in nature and will require careful reading of individual works as well as connections between works. Some works from the first half of the term will appear on the final exam as well as the midterm, so be sure to include them in your review.


This portion of your grade includes your productive oral participation in class, attendance, the extent to which your written assignments reflect that you are listening actively in class, and the improvement in your work over the course of the semester. Students enroll in the class with varying degrees of preparation. Even if you enter the class with a strong background in the subject, you must demonstrate that you are learning something from this class in order to do well in it. If you are studying the subject for the first time, do not fear that you will forever be lagging behind the more advanced students. Hard work will be rewarded!

You are strongly encouraged to discuss the assignments with me at my office hours or in e-mail. There will be no opportunities for extra credit, but there is ample opportunity for extra preparation, if you sense that you are having particular difficulty with the material.


25 September 2005