The novel We, short fiction, plays, and critical essays. In-depth textual analysis and study of Russian, American, and European criticism on Zamyatin, including his role in science fiction and anti-utopian literature in Russia and the West. Readings in Russian and English. Final research project required. One course.

Tolstoy and the Russian Experience

Historical approach to Tolstoy's depictions of major societal and ethical issues (e.g., war, peace, marriage, death, religion, relationships). Culture of salons, print culture, censorship, and changing political climate. Central questions on the relationship of fiction and history: uses of fiction for understanding history and dangers of such an approach. Readings include selected fiction of Tolstoy, excerpts from journals and letters, and critical and historical accounts of nineteenth-century Russia. Similar to RUSSIAN 325 but requires additional assignments. One course.


Introduction to life, works, and criticism. Readings include: Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, and The Brothers Karamazov. Taught in English. Readings in Russian. One course.

Russian Modernism

Russian culture between the 1890s and the 1920s, including visual, musical, literary arts, and developments ranging from Neo-Christian mysticism, cosmism, synthesis of the arts, and revolutionary activism. Focus on literary-philosophical thought of that period. Taught in English. One course.

The Russian Novel

Close reading of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, Dostoevsky's Possessed, Andrey Bely's Petersburg, Bulgakov's Master and Margarita, Nabokov's The Gift, and Makine's Memoirs of My Russian Summers. Discussions will focus on these representative writers' changing perceptions of, and responses to social and ethical issues and of creativity, itself, as the genre evolved in the modern times between the 1870s and now. Final research paper required and can include in-depth discussion of one of the works or the comparison of one or more aspects of several texts. Taught in English. Readings in Russian.

Women and Russian Literature

Issues of gender and society in women's writing in Russian from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries. Both autobiographical writings and prose fiction. Discussions of whether Russian women's writings constitute a tradition and what role these works have played in Russian literature and culture. Taught in English. Readings in Russian. One course.

The Struggle for Justice and Faith: Russian Literature and Culture, 1855-1900

Considers how Russian writers, artists, and activists addressed 19th-century Russia's cursed questions of “who is to blame” and “what is to be done”: specifically, how to reform an increasingly reactionary autocracy; how to bear witness for an impoverished underclass; what roles women should play in culture and politics; how to resist or improve on a soulless West; how to justify the existence of God in an unjust world. Course texts may include fiction and memoirs by Turgenev, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Kovalevskaia, Figner; works of fine art, drama, and opera. One course.