RUSS 367 -Dostoevsky and Gogol

Spring 2012
MWF 10:50-11:50, H 216




Gitta Hammarberg
Office: H 209 B; 651-696-6556
Office hours: M & W 12-1 & by appointment
Home phone 651-698-7947

Colin Crane

Mackenzie Ellis

Amelia Fedo

David Kent
Hilary Lakin
Charles Nesler








Oral presentations


Dostoevsky had a major impact on writers and thinkers from Nietzsche to Coetzee. He himself payed tribute to Gogol's fantastic imagination. Course readings will range from the absurdist ravings of Gogol's madmen to the existential dilemmas of Dostoevsky's murderers. Discussions will cover the haunted and haunting city of Petersburg, saints, prostitutes, infernal women, holy fools and Russian Orthodoxy, as well as critical views ranging from Russian Formalists to Freud on parricide to Bakhtin's ideas of dialogical speech. Students will be exposed to major 19th century philosophical currents and a variety of literary movements and genres. From Gogol's Ukrainian tales, Petersburg tales and Dead Souls, the readings move to Dostoevsky's early humorous works, his major novels, and conclude with The Brothers Karamazov. The course will include visual images of the relevant sites and art works and Russian, Japanese, and other film versions of the works. In English.


We will study two authors in depth, starting with Gogol and concluding with Dostoevsky. My lectures will give background information about the Russian literary & cultural climate in the 19th century as well as biographical information about the authors and their works and theoretical approaches to analyzing them. The major part of the class will consist of structured class discussions. The most important thing for you is to read the works closely, take notes as you go, jot down specific points (for content, style, hilarity, shock value, historical & cultural insights or limitations, links to other works, peculiarities, ridiculous or "deep" topics, etc., and in general things that jar you in some way). Come prepared to class to make specific points about the works--I'll give you discussion guidelines for the longer works. Try to finish each work by the time it appears in the schedule unless otherwise indicated. Oral reports, films, written projects, midterm & final exams are part of the class.

Last update 1/8-12