Slavic R5A, Section 1: Reading and Composition: Misfits in Literature (REVISED 7/31/2015)

MWF 8-9, 221 Wheeler. Instructor: Brian Egdorf.

Units: 4

Please note the course description and texts have been revised as of 7/31/2015.

All Reading & Composition courses must be taken for a letter grade in order to fulfill this requirement for the Bachelor’s Degree. This course satisfies the first half or the “A” portion of the Reading and Composition requirement.

This course will explore theme of the misfit in Russian and English literature.  Through our reading, we will attempt to grasp the myriad ways that literature gives rise to misfits: charcters who are outsiders, ideas that resist societal norms, and narratives that antagonize the reader.  At the core of our exploration will be several canonical authors of Russian literature (Gogol, Dostoevsky, Bulgakov, and Pelevin) brought into dialogue with contemporary English-language literature (A.M. Homes, David Foster Wallace, Dave Eggers, Hanif Kureishi, George Saunders).   We will attempt to show literature as a fundamental vehicle for writers (and characters) who resist, react to, and transform their own culture.

The goal of this course is to develop the skills necessary to read critically and to write clear, persuasive, well-structured papers. Students will be expected to read approximately 50-60 pages per week and to come to class prepared to actively participate in discussion. Over the course of the semester, students will write several papers and participate in peer review sessions.


Required Books (available at the bookstore):

Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Double & The Gambler, Vintage Classics (2007), ISBN: 0375719016

Mikhail Bulgakov, Heart of a Dog, Grove Press (1994), ISBN: 0802150594

Viktor Pelevin, Yellow Arrow, New Directions Paperback (2009), ISBN: 0811213552

Michael Hackett, The Nuts and Bolts of College Writing, Hackett Pub. Co., (2003) ISBN: 0872205738


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