Spring 2008


Listed in: Russian, as RUSS-28


Jane A. Taubman (Section 01)


Lev Tolstoy's life and writings encompass self-contradictions equaled in scale only by the immensity of his talent: the aristocrat who renounced his wealth, the former army officer who preached nonresistance to evil, the father of 13 children who advocated total chastity within marriage and, of course, the writer of titanic stature who repudiated all he had previously written, including War and Peace and Anna Karenina. We will read these two masterworks in depth, along with other fictional and publicistic writings (Childhood, The Death of Ivan Ilyich, Kreutzer Sonata, What Is Art?), as we explore both the nature of his artistic achievement and his evolving views on history, the family, war, death, religion, art, and education. Conducted in English, all readings in translation, with special assignments for students who read Russian. Two class meetings per week. Second semester. Professor J. Taubman.