Slavic 134C: Dostoevsky

TuTh 5-6:30, 88 Dwinelle. Instructor: Irina Paperno.

Units: 4 Satisfies L&S Philosophy & Values OR ARts & Literature breadth requirement.

In this course, we will read Dostoevsky’s major works, Notes from Underground, Crime and Punishment, The Brothers Karamazov, focusing on concerns literature shares with psychology, philosophy and ethics. Analyzing aspects of literary form (character, plot, genre, narrative, intertextuality, symbolism), we will discuss how Dostoevsky’s novels explore the workings of the human mind, the drama of interpersonal intimacy, conceptions of self, the relationship between self and other, the choice between faith and nonbelief, the idea of transgression, crime, justice, and redemption, and more.

Dostoevsky’s novels are not only profound examinations of the human condition: they are also exciting, nasty, ironic and often funny, and in this class students enjoy reading books.

Prerequisites: none. Readings and lectures are conducted in English; advanced speakers of Russian are encouraged to read in the original.

Requirements: intense reading (about 150 pages per week); regular attendance and participation in classroom discussions; take-home midterm and in-class final (focused on close reading of texts); paper on a topic of individual choice.

Books: please purchase the following editions:

Fyodor Dostoevsky, Notes from Underground, Michael R. Katz, editor and translator. Norton Critical Edition. Paperback. 2nd ed. ISBN 978-0-393-97612-0.

Fyodor Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment ed. George Gibian, the Coulson translation. Norton Critical Edition. Paperback. ISBN 0-393-95623-7

Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, Susan McReynolds, ed. Constance Garnett, translator. Norton Critical Edition. 2nd edition. ISBN: 978-0-393-92633-0