Slavic 134G: Tolstoy and Dostoevsky

TuTh 3:30-5, LeConte 385. Instructor: Irina Paperno.

Units: 4 Satisfies L&S Arts & Literature breadth requirement.

We will read two great novels, Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina and Dostoevsky’s The Idiot, focusing on concerns literature shares with philosophy, ethics, religious thought and psychology. Analyzing the workings of the literary form (character, plot, genre, narrative, intertextuality, symbolism), we will discuss how novels deal with such issues as love, marriage, and divorce; the body and sexuality; crime, suicide, and madness; the workings of the mind and the unconscious; and more. It has been suggested, by literary scholars and ethical theorists alike, that such things are so complex that they can only be explored by novels. This is a central concern of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky.

Prerequisites: None. Readings and lectures are conducted in English.

Requirements: Intense reading (100 to 150 pages per week); regular attendance and participation in classroom discussions; written homework assignments; take-home midterm and in-class final (focused on close reading of texts).

Books: Please purchase the following editions (in book form; not electronic texts):

Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, the Maude translation, George Gibian, ed. A Norton Critical Edition, Second Edition; ISBN-10: 0393966429; ISBN-13: 978-0393966428

Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Idiot. Translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, Vintage Classics (Random House), 2001, 2003.
Paperback: ISBN-10: 0375702245; ISBN-13: 978-0375702242

Additional options:

With concurrent enrollment in Slavic 100L, Advanced Readings in Russian, students can earn an additional 1 unit for reading in Russian. Consent of instructor required.

With concurrent enrollment in Slavic 100R, Research in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, students can earn an additional 1 unit for a research paper on a topic of individual choice. Consent of instructor required.

Prerequisites: None. Readings and lectures are conducted in English.