Slavic R5A, Section 2: Literature for Scientists

TuTh 8-9:30, Dwinelle 206. Instructor: Brian Egdorf.

Units: 4

What can a scientist gain from reading literature? Using this as our guiding question, we will investigate several examples of Russian and English literature from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries which engage with science implicitly and explicitly. We will encounter botched experiments, scientists as characters, dangerous scientific ideas, evolution, scientific expedition and travel, patients, doctors, dissection of frogs, brain science, and more. The course will investigate the meaning of the genre “science fiction” and expand its scope. We will take a look more broadly at how scientific ideas are absorbed into literature, including writers who themselves identify as scientists and those who question the motives of science.

This course is primarily intended to develop college writing and critical reading skills. Over the course of the semester, students will write expository essays and practice developing strong arguments through close reading.

Texts: (Important: You must have these paper editions; others are unacceptable).
Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, ISBN: 0393927938 (Norton Critical Edition)
George Eliot, Silas Marner, ISBN: 0141439750 (Penguin Classics)
Ivan Turgenev, Fathers and Children, ISBN: 0393927970 (Norton Critical Edition)
Fyodor Dostoevsky, Notes from the Underground, ISBN: 0393976122 (Norton Critical Edition)
Yevgeny Zamyatin, We, ISBN: 0140185852 (Penguin)
Vladimir Nabokov, The Eye, ISBN: 067972723X (Vintage)
(Supplementary readings will be posted on bCourses)

Prerequisite: Successful completion of the UC Entry Level Writing Requirement. Students may not enroll in nor attend R1A/R5A courses without completing this prerequisite.

Due to the high demand for R&C courses we monitor attendance very carefully. Attendance is mandatory the first two weeks of classes, this includes all enrolled and wait listed students. If you do not attend all classes the first two weeks you may be dropped. If you are attempting to add into this class during weeks 1 and 2 and did not attend the first day, you will be expected to attend all class meetings thereafter and, if space permits, you may be enrolled from the wait list.