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RUSS 252
Spring 2008
Section: 01  
Crosslisting: REES 252, COL 262

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries when Tolstoy wrote his novels and stories, literature was viewed in Russia as the intelligentsia's primary medium for debating its big questions (such as how to resolve the inequalities that had been institutionalized under serfdom, or how to choose between new and old values as Russia experienced modernization). Writers like Tolstoy and Dostoevsky willingly assumed the responsibility to address a broad range of political, historical, and philosophical-religious questions in their fiction, and they wrote novels with radical formulations as well as solutions to these questions. However, they also viewed literature, particularly the novel, as a medium with rich potential for innovative formal experimentation; and so they resisted the call for conventional ideological novels. Each of Tolstoy's best works is an innovative formal experiment that creates an unprecedented, new type of novel. Who in Russia could have expected a novel like WAR AND PEACE in the 1860s, ANNA KARENINA in the 1870s, THE KREUTZER SONATA in the 1880s, RESURRECTION in the 1890s, or HADZHI MURAD on the eve of Russia's 1905 Revolution? This course will study how Tolstoy's writings both responded to and transcended their times by creating new novelistic forms and new truths within those forms.

Essential Capabilities: Intercultural Literacy, Interpretation
Tolstoy's novels enter into a dialogue with the political, historical, philosophical, and religious discourses that compose 19th century Russian culture. To understand the novels we must study not only the conventions of Russian literary history but also these other discourses with which Tolstoy's novels are speaking.

All of Tolstoy's best works are radical experiments in style and genre. We study the conventions of these styles and genres and then how Tolstoy changes them and recombines them in his writing.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA RUSS
Course Format: Lecture / DiscussionGrading Mode: Student Option
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (COL)(REES-MN)(REES-Lang/Lit/C)
Past Enrollment Probability: Not Available

Last Updated on JUN-17-2024
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