Slavic R5B, Section 3: The Anxious Male: Modernism and Masculinity

TT 3:30-5, 255 Dwinelle. Instructor: Piper Wheeler.

Units: 4

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 second half or the “B” portion of the Reading and Composition requirement.

For this tour of Russian literature (1835-1930s), we will take as our far-from-intrepid guide an enduring hero of novels and stories in Russia and beyond: the anxious male. Wracked by apprehensions, unsure of his place in society, at times too timid to complete a sentence and at times overcompensating with fevered monologues, the anxious male has drawn the interest of generations of writers who wished to explore the competing demands of rapidly-changing urban milieus, labor markets and social structures during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We will trace the path of the anxious male through Gogol, Dostoevsky, Leskov and Nabokov, with additional readings in the short stories of Franz Kafka, Isaak Babel’ and James Joyce. Significant attention will be directed toward English and American poetry, most notably of T.S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens and W.B. Yeats. We will also discuss brief selections from theories of modernity and of masculinity (Sigmund Freud, Eve Sedgwick, Marshall Berman).

Course Requirements: The goal of this course is to improve your research and writing skills. To that end, you will write several papers, including a final research paper; participate in class discussions and peer reviewing activities; deliver presentations; and read both primary and secondary texts (not to exceed 100 pp. per week).

Required texts:
Michael Harvey, The Nuts and Bolts of College Writing. 2nd Edition. Hackett Publishing Company. ISBN 978-1603848985.
Fyodor Dostoevsky, Notes from Underground. Trans. Pevear and Volokhonsky. Vintage Classics. ISBN 978-0679734529.
Vladimir Nabokov, Despair. Vintage International. ISBN 978-0679723431.
Yuri Olesha, Envy. Trans. Marian Schwartz. NYRB Classics.  ISBN 978-1590170861.
Leo Tolstoy, The Kreutzer Sonata. Trans. Isai Kamen. Modern Library Classics. ISBN 978-0812968231.
Course Reader, to include short works by Nikolai Gogol, Nikolai Leskov,  James Joyce, T.S. Eliot, W.B. Yeats and others.

Prerequisite: Successful completion of the “A” portion of the Reading and Composition requirement or its equivalent. Students may not enroll in or attend R1B/R5B courses without completing this prerequisite.