This course approaches pre-revolutionary Russian cultural history by attending to how key social actors have been represented. We will study the lives of tsar, saint, aristocrat, peasant, poet, intellectual, revolutionary, merchant and exile as represented in letters, memoirs, fiction, verse, painting and performance. Examples of life-writing will include seventeenth-century archpriest Avvakum’s “autobiography” (the first example of the genre in Russia), revolutionary Alexander Herzen’s My Life and Thoughts (alongside Tom Stoppard’s renovation of his story as a recently staged trilogy of plays, Coast of Utopia), the memoirs of women terrorists, and the testimonial of a nineteenth-century serf. Alongside these we will consider fictional and operatic representations such as Pushkin's Eugene Onegin, Lermontov's A Hero of Our Time, Turgenev's Fathers and Sons, Goncharov's Oblomov and Glinka's A Life for the Czar. No acquaintance with Russian language or culture is assumed.