Spring 2017

Love and Death: the Big Questions of Russian Literature

Listed in: Russian, as RUSS-212

Formerly listed as: RUSS-22


Boris Wolfson (Section 01)


Who is to blame?  What is to be done?  How can we love, and how should we die?  In an age when such larger-than-life questions animated urgent debates about self and society, Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Anton Chekhov and other writers whose famous shorter works we’ll read in this course reinvented the idea of literature itself.  Political terrorism and non-violent resistance, women’s rights and imperial expansion, quests for social justice and personal happiness:  as nineteenth-century Russian authors explored the cultural anxieties provoked by these challenges of modernity, their ambition was not to mirror experience but to transform it by interpreting its deepest secrets.  This is an introduction to the daring, contradictory visions of life and art that forever changed how we do things with words.  No familiarity with of Russian history or culture expected.  All readings in English.

Spring semester. Professor Wolfson.

Cost: 85 ?


Attention to Issues of Class, Attention to Issues of Gender and Sexuality, Transnational or World Cultures Taught in English


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2022