Studies in World Literatures

Students interested in Studies in World Literatures may select RUSS 250 or RUSS 263.

RUSS 250
Madness in Russian Literature and Culture
Common Area: Literature

From current events in post-Soviet Russia to classic Russian literature madness is an ubiquitous element of the Russian experience. We will cover a broad range of works -- from medieval to post-Soviet masterpieces --to investigate the evolution of madness in Russian culture. The protagonists of the novels, plays, and short stories we will explore range from holy fools to everyday madmen to chronically troubled spirits. The reading will include Griboedov's The Trouble with Reason, Pushkin's The Queen of Spades, Gogol's The Diary of a Madman, Dostoevsky's The Idiot, Chekhov's The Black Monk and Ward No 6, Nabokov's The Defense, Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita, and Pelvin's Buddha's Little Fingers. We will also examine manifestations of fictional insanity in film, opera, and the visual arts. Conducted in English.

RUSS 263
Soviet Art and Literature
Common Area: Arts or Literature

In addition to propaganda, the Soviet Socialist Realism produced a rich  tradition of art and literature and introduced the "New Soviet Person." This course introduces students to the wealth of Socialist Realist art and ways to interpret its hidden meanings. It also explores the development of the "positive hero" in Soviet literature and art. In addition, we discuss the merits and the dangers inherent in the relationship between art and Soviet society, one that allowed a nation on its knees to rebuild and modernize as well as one that silenced countless artists and authors. Finally, students are also asked to discern how, in satirical or subversive works, the tenets of Socialist Realism are subverted and their values questioned and why there is a growing nostalgia (and market) for Socialist Realist art in today’s Russia. Conducted in English.


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