Slavic 45: Nineteenth Century Russian Literature

MWF 12-1, Barrows 140. Instructor: Lyubov Golburt.

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

We will read some of the celebrated works of the Russian nineteenth century, from Pushkin through Lermontov, Gogol, Turgenev, Dostoevsky and Tolstoy to Chekhov.

It is the nineteenth century that poses the decisive questions of Russian modernity: the quest for an identity for the nation and its language, the problem of literary realism, the responsibilities of literature as an agent of social change, the status of the writer within changing social hierarchies, the correlation of the personal and the collective, the political and the metaphysical. These are decades of formal exploration and cultural anxiety, existential doubt and political denunciation. To define the nineteenth century and its questions and make them speak to us will be our goal this semester.


Pushkin, Eugene Onegin, trans. James E. Falen, Oxford UP; ISBN: 0192838995

Lermontov. A Hero of Our Time, trans. Paul Foote, Penguin Classics; ISBN: 0140447958

Gogol. The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol, trans. Richard Pevear, Larissa Volokhonsky; Vintage Classics; ISBN: 0375706158

Turgenev. Fathers and Children. Trans. Michael R. Katz, Norton Critical Edition; ISBN: 0393927979

Dostoevsky. Notes from Underground, Ed. and Trans. Michael Katz, Norton Critical Edition; ISBN: 0393976120

Tolstoy, The Cossacks and Other Stories, Trans. David McDuff, Penguin Classics; ISBN: 0140449590

Tolstoy, Childhood, Boyhood, Youth. Trans. Judson Rosengrant, Penguin Classics; ISBN: 0140449922

Chekhov. The Portable Chekhov. Edited by Avrahm Yarmolinsky, Viking Portable Library; ISBN: 0140150353


This course is a requirement for the major in Russian Language and Literature, and a prerequisite for the minor in Russian Literature, and is recommended for prospective graduate students in Slavic. No knowledge of Russian is required; the classes and readings are in English.