Slavic 287: Topics in Russian Poetry: The Russian Nature Lyric

Tu 2-5, 6115 Dwinelle. Instructor: Luba Golburt.

Units: 4

This course proposes to use the capacious thematic rubric of the “nature lyric” to constitute and analyze a corpus of diverse texts from the Russian poetic tradition, spanning some 270 years from Mikhail Lomonosov and Gavrila Derzhavin in the eighteenth century to Anna Glazova and Polina Barskova in the twenty-first. Focusing on the representations of nature and the poet as both within and apart from nature, as drawing inspiration from it as well as articulating its contours in language would allow us to conceive of the lyric as a project that engages – in a uniquely condensed form – with questions posed by several branches of philosophical inquiry (epistemology, phenomenology, metaphysics, aesthetics).  In the first half of the course, we will perform close readings of texts by different poets and begin to pose both philosophical and formal questions about poetry’s capacity for apprehending the external world. The second half of the course will be devoted to a closer examination of several case studies of authors whose oeuvre consistently invokes nature. These 5-6 case studies will be selected from Alexander Pushkin, Evgenii Baratynskii, Fyodor Tiutchev, Afanasii Fet, Boris Pasternak, Osip Mandelshtam, Nikolai Zabolotskii, Joseph Brodsky, and Elena Shvarts. The course will also introduce students to some of the crucial scholarship on the Russian lyric as well as key texts and important recent critical discussions in lyric theory.

 Prerequisites:  Graduate standing; consent of instructor.