RUSS-473 19th-Century Heroines and Antiheroes
Offered academic year 2014-2015
In 19th-century Russian culture and literature, it became fairly clear, fairly early on, that the truly heroic would be all women. Men had two options left — to be villains or wimps, sometimes with a rather attractive Hamlet-like allure. As a result, Russian literature made one thing clear for Western literature as well: the Romantic Hero was in fact an anti-hero, inherently. This discovery and clarification had huge implications for Russia in 19th and 20th centuries but also for the West. The course covers material pertaining to Russian Romanticism, nascent Realism, and the way both stem from a pattern suggested by Russian Sentimentalism — in Karamzin’s “Poor Liza”. This translates to, roughly, the following authors — mostly but not exclusively their prose: Pushkin, Lermontov, Gogol, Odoevsky, and Griboedov. Most likely works to be covered are Pushkin’s Belkin’s Tales and ‘The Queen of Spades’, Lermontov’s Hero of Our Time, Gogol’s Dead Souls and Petersburg Tales, V.F. Odoevsky’s “Opere dei Cavalleri Giambattista Piranesi” and The Salamander, and Griboedov’s “Woe from Wit”, or “Trouble with Reason” (depending on the translation you use). An in-class midterm essay and a final paper are required, as well as many questions to be answered on close readings by email. These and class participation are included in your final grade. As class participation is vital, more than one unexcused absence would automatically lower your grade by 5% per absence.
(Taught in English; satisfies the HUMW-II requirement.)
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