Slavic 214: Medieval Orthodox Slavic Texts

TuTh 9:30-11, 6115 Dwinelle. Instructor: David Frick.

Units: 4

The course will have two major goals.  The first will be to build upon to student’s knowledge of OCS in acquiring fluency in reading and interpreting the more varied texts of the Orthodox Slavic Middle Ages; in this instance, the focus will be on Kievan Rus’.  We will read closely three classic works of this period from three quite different genres, Metropolitan Ilarion’s Sermon on Law and Grace; the anonymous Lives of St. Boris and Gleb; and portions of medieval historiography excerpted from the so-called Primary Chronicle or Tale of Bygone Years.  Thus part of each session will be devoted to translation and puzzling over the grammatical and rhetorical problems each text presents.  The second will be to begin a more in-depth study of the place of writing in early Kievan society.  Our guide here will be Simon Franklin’s magisterial Writing, Society and Culture in Early Rus, c. 950–1300 (Cambridge, 2010; ISBN–10:  0521129028; ISBN–13:  978-0521129022).

A scanned reader of primary sources and Franklin’s Writing, Society and Culture.
Course Requirements:  Reading, attendance, and participation.  Three in-class translation/parsing exams; a final project, a close reading of a text of the student’s choosing, in consultation with the instructor, focusing on the rhetorical strategies employed by the author(s).

Prerequisites:  Slavic 210, or equivalent.