Russian Writers: Major/Marginal

Schools of Public Engagement: Humanities

Liberal Arts

Undergraduate Course

Degree Students

Russian Writers:Major/Marginal

Fall 2020

Taught By: Val Vinokur

Section: A

CRN: 8875

Credits: 3

Russian literature as a whole finds itself in the odd position of being on the geographical, economic and cultural fringes of the West, while at the same time (boasting the likes of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky) being at its spiritual core. Of course, writers themselves are often rather “marginal” figures––ethnically, socially, stylistically, psychologically. While the 19th and early 20th century Russian literary class was overwhelmingly aristocratic, the most iconic figure to arise out of this class (and still probably the most revered poet in Russia), Alexander Pushkin, also boasted an African ancestor. Among the finest prose artists in the Russian language, one finds Isaac Babel (a Jew from Odessa), Fazil Iskander (an Abkhazian Muslim), and Sergei Dovlatov (a Jewish-Armenian who immigrated to Queens). This seminar will also focus on marginal literary styles, such as skaz (the folksy, orally-inflected narratives of Leskov and Zoshchenko), and may include texts by Gogol, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Kharms, Olesha, Erofeev, Vapnyar, and Petrushevskaia. We will consider how estranged men, women, animals, and objects become the focus of narrative attention, and how “marginal” writers in a “marginal” culture are central to an appreciation of life’s rich complexity. (In the event of campus closure, this course will meet synchronously online.)

College: Schools of Public Engagement (NS)

Department: Humanities (NHUM)

Campus: Online (DL)

Course Format: Seminar (R)

Max Enrollment: 22

Add/Drop Deadline: September 14, 2020 (Monday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: November 22, 2020 (Sunday)

Seats Available: Yes

Status: Closed*

* Status information is updated every five minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 8:52am 2/27/2021 EST

Meeting Info::

Days: Thursday

Times: 1:55pm - 3:45pm

Building: Online Course

Date Range: 9/3/2020 - 12/17/2020