Spring 2024

Strange Russian Writers: Gogol, Dostoevsky, Bulgakov, Nabokov, et al

Listed in: Russian, as RUSS-317

Faculty

Stanley J. Rabinowitz (Section 01)

Description

A course that examines the stories and novels of rebels, deviants, dissidents, loners, and losers in some of the weirdest fictions in Russian literature. The writers, most of whom imagine themselves to be every bit as bizarre as their heroes, include from the nineteenth century: Gogol (“Viy,” “Diary of a Madman,” “Ivan Shponka and His Aunt,” “The Nose,” “The Overcoat”); Dostoevsky (“The Double,” “A Gentle Creature,” “Bobok,” “The Dream of a Ridiculous Man”); Tolstoy (“The Kreutzer Sonata,” “Father Sergius”), and from the twentieth century: Olesha (Envy); Platonov (The Foundation Pit); Kharms’ (Stories); Bulgakov (The Master and Margarita); Nabokov (The Eye, Despair); Erofeev (Moscow Circles); Pelevin (“The Yellow Arrow”). Our goal will be less to construct a canon of strangeness than to consider closely how estranged women, men, animals, and objects become the center of narrative attention and, in doing so, reflect the writer Tatyana Tolstaya’s claim that “Russia is broader and more diverse, stranger and more contradictory than any idea of it. It resists all theories about what makes it tick, confounds all the paths to its possible transformation.” All readings in English translation.

Not open to first-year students. Limited to 15 students. Spring semester. Professor Emeritus Rabinowitz

How to handle overenrollment: Majors receive preference. All other Amherst students are decided by lottery

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: (e.g., emphasis on written work, readings, independent research, oral presentations, group work, in-class quizzes or exams, artistic work, field work or trips, quantitative work, lab work, instruction in languages other than English, visual analysis, aural analysis)

Cost: $22.00 ?

Offerings

Other years: Offered in Fall 2020, Spring 2022