Slavic 39L: Seminar: Russian Short Fiction

TuTh 3:30-5, 187 Dwinelle. Instructor: Luba Golburt.

Units: 2-4 Satisfies L&S Arts & Literature breadth requirement.

When one thinks of Russian prose, the bulky 19th- and 20th-century novels inevitably come to mind, making one’s initiation into Russian literature seem arduous, even if ultimately rewarding. Taking a different approach to introducing students to the Russian canon, this course offers a rich sampling of short stories and novellas by more than a dozen famous Russian writers, spanning a century and a half: from the sentimentalist Nikolai Karamzin (1766-1826) through such milestones as Pushkin, Turgenev, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Nabokov, Babel, and Platonov to the contemporary writer Lyudmilla Petrushevskaya (1938-). Our discussions will focus on both the internal organization and meaning of individual stories and the historical evolution of Russian prose and its changing political and cultural contexts. This course should be of particular interest to prospective and current majors in Russian and other literatures as well as to students interested in creative writing.

Class is conducted in English; no knowledge of Russian required.

Gogol, The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol, trans. Richard Pevear, Larissa Volokhonsky, Vintage.
Turgenev, First Love and Other Stories, trans. Richard Freeborn, Oxford.
Dostoevsky, The Best Short Stories of Fyodor Dostoevsky, trans. David Magarshack, Modern Library.
Chekhov, Stories of Anton Chekhov, trans. Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, Bantam.
Nabokov, The Stories of Vladimir Nabokov, Vintage.
Babel, The Red Cavalry and Other Stories, trans. David McDuff, Penguin.
Platonov, Soul and Other Stories, trans. Robert Chandler

Additional readings available through bcourses.

Prerequisites: Freshman or sophomore standing; consent of instructor.