TWENTIETH-CENTURY PROSE WRITERS:
SHORT FICTION OF THE 1920s & ‘30s

 

Russian V3467

Spring 2006

TR 10:35-11:50

227 Milbank

Prof. Rebecca Stanton

226D Milbank, x4-3313

rstanton@barnard.edu

Office hours: Thurs. 3:30-5:30 and by appt.

 


COURSE DESCRIPTION

In this course we will perform a close study, in the original, of some of the justly celebrated short fiction of the decade-and-change we might call the “long 1920s,” beginning with the Revolutions of 1917 and ending with the normalization of Soviet Russian cultural production under the rubric of Socialist Realism in 1934. The 1920s were an exciting time to be a Russian writer, but far from a comfortable one; the author, in his traditional (for Russia) capacity as prophet and avatar, was burdened with the task of assessing and defining the direction to be taken by society, and the loosing of the ship of culture from the moorings of tradition and canon made this task especially difficult and dangerous for the writers charged with creating Soviet literature. They rose to the challenge admirably, however, as the stories on the syllabus show; we’ll pay close attention both to their literary design and to their political and cultural context. Readings must be done in Russian; class discussion will be in English.

 


REQUIREMENTS:

  • Careful preparation of readings (checked by occasional in-class quizzes) and participation in class discussion. Occasional short assignments such as the preparation of discussion questions or brief translations will factor into the classwork grade.
    ........…........................................……………... …..45%
  • 3 out of 4 short essays (one for each author) responding to a published critical article on one of the works we have read by that author. I will hand out a bibliography for each author with suggestions. These essays should be 2-3 pages long, and in English.
    ………………..................................................…….30%
     
  • Final critical paper, approx. 8 pp. (in English or Russian), on a topic chosen in consultation with me.  
    ................................………………………………….25%

 


READINGS

There are no books to buy for this course. Readings will be distributed in photocopy. There may be a small charge for some readings, depending on the quantity of pages.

 


SCHEDULE

 

Date

Topics and Readings

January

 

Tu 17

Introduction.

Babel, “Avtobiografiia”

 

Life and Art: the “autobiographical” story.

Th 19

Babel, “Detstvo. U babushki”
 

Tu 24

Babel, “Istoriia moei golubiatni”

Th 26

Babel, “Pervaia liubov’”
 

Tu 31

Babel, “V podvale”

 

February

 

Th 2

Babel, “Probuzhdenie”

 

Tu 7

Babel, “Guy de Maupassant”

Th 9

Olesha, “Tsep’”

 

Tu 14

Olesha, “Vishnëvaia kostochka”

Th 16

Olesha, “Ia smotriu v proshloe” and “Chelovecheskii material”

 

Tu 21

Olesha, Tri tolstiaka, Ch. 1-3 (pp. 97-109)

Th 23

Tri tolstiaka, Ch. 4 (pp. 111-124)

 

Tu 28

Tri tolstiaka, Ch. 5-7 (pp. 125-145)

 

March

 

Th 2

Tri tolstiaka, Ch. 8-10 (pp. 147-165)
 

Tu 7

Tri tolstiaka, Ch. 11-epilogue (pp. 167-188)

Th 9

No class

 


11-19


SPRING BREAK

 
Tu 21 Olesha, “Liubov’” and “Liompa”

 

Th 23

Skaz.

Zoshchenko, “Sobachii niukh” and “Lekar’”


MON 27


[DINNER]
Zoshchenko, “Ne nado imet’ rodstvennikov” and “Aristokratka”

 

Tu 28

Zoshchenko, “Bania” and “Montër”

Th 30

Zoshchenko, “Krizis” and “Pushkin”

 

April

 

Tu 4

Babel, “Korol’”

Th 6

Babel, “Kak eto delalos’ v Odesse”
 

Tu 11

Babel, “Otets”

Th 13

Babel, “Liubka Kazak”

 

 

Tu 18

Satire and humor.

Bulgakov, Rokovye Iaitsa, Ch. 1-7

Th 20

Bulgakov, Rokovye Iaitsa, Ch. 8-12

 

Tu 25

Ilf & Petrov, “Liubiteli futbola” and “Kak sozdavalsia Robinson”

Th 27

Ilf & Petrov, “Sluchai v kontore” and “Blagoobraznyi vor”

  FINAL PAPER AND ANY OUTSTANDING SHORT ESSAYS DUE