SCHEDULE (In Progress) Spring 2012

M-W-F 10:50-11:50 in H216

(will be adjusted and refined as needed in class--it's up to you to keep abreast of any changes)


Mon Jan 23
Introductions and organization
Lecture: 19th-century Russia; historical-cultural background

Homework for Wed:
*Familiarize yourselves with the web syllabus, buy your texts.

Illustrations from: N. V. Gogol, Vechera na khutore bliz Dikan'ki (Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka) by A. Laptev, Moscow: Gos. Izd. Khudozhestvennoi literatury, 1960

Wed Jan 25
Lecture: Historical -cultural background, continued;
Gogol, biographical context I

Read for Fri:
* Gogol's biography "Gogol-on-a-page"
*Gogol,"Ivan Fyodorovich Shponka and His Aunt," in The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol, pp.106-31

Illustration to "Ivan Fyodorovich Sphonka and his Aunt" in N. V. Gogol, Vechera na khutore bliz Dikan'ki (Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka) by A. Laptev, Moscow: Gos. Izd. Khudozhestvennoi literatury, 1960




Fri Jan 27
Lecture: Gogol biography, conclusions.
Discussion: Gogol's Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka: "Ivan Fyodorovich Shponka and his Aunt"

Read for Mon:
Gogol, "Old World Landowners," in The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol, pp. 132-54
*ORAL PRESENTATION# 1: Putney article: Gitta (Moodle Readings)

Mon Jan 30
Discussion: Gogol "Old World Landowners"
Putney article (Gitta)

Read for Wed:
*Gogol, "Viy," in The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol, pp.155-93

Wed Feb 1
Discussion: Gogol, "Viy"

Read for Fri:
*Gogol, "The Story of How Ivan Ivanovich Quarreled with Ivan Nikiforovich," in The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol , pp. 194-241

Fri Feb 3
Discussion: Gogol, "The Story of How Ivan Ivanovich Quarreled with Ivan Nikiforovich"

Pictures from Imperial St. Petersburg
(click icon for picture series)

Read for Mon:
Gogol: "Nevsky Prospect" in The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol , pp.245-78

Gogol's St. Petersburg
(click icon for picture series)

Mon Feb 6

Discussion: Gogol, "Nevsky Prospect"


Read for Wed:
Gogol: "The Nose" in The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol, pp. 300-26.


Gogol's "The Nose" as imagined by children's book illustrator Gennadii Spirin
(click icon for picture series)


Wed Feb 8 (Meet in Library room 206 on the second floor)
Bibliographical instruction by Johan Oberg--your attendance is REQUIRED!!

The library staff has constructed a resource page for this specific class--check it put! (

Read for Fri:
*"The Nose"
Gasparov article: Mackenzie Ellis (Moodle Readings)

Fri Feb 10
Discussion: Gogol, "The Nose"

ORAL PRESENTATION #2: Gasparov article (Mackenzie Ellis)


Read for Mon:
Gogol, "Diary of a Madman," The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol , pp. 279-300

Read if you want:
Spieker, Sven, "Writing the Underdog. Canine Discourse in Gogol's Zapiski sumasshedshego and its Pretexts," in Wiener Slawistischer Almanach,28 (1991): 41-56 (see me if you'd like a copy)
Ziolkowski, Theodore, "Talking Dogs: The Caninization of Literature," Ch. 3 of his Varieties of Literary Thematics, Princeton, Princeton U Press, 1983 (Mac library: PN45.Z487 1983)

Project decisions due: Long or Short projects?

Mon Feb 13
Discussion: Gogol, "Diary of a Madman"

Read for Wed:
* Gogol, "The Overcoat" in The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol , pp. 394-424
*ORAL PRESENTATION #3 Eikhenbaum article: Amelia Fedo (Moodle Readings)
Tschizewskij article: David Kent (Moodle Readings)

Wed Feb 15
Discussion: Gogol, "The Overcoat"
Eikhenbaum article (Amelia Fedo)
ORAL PRESENTATION #4: Tschizevskij article (David Kent)

Read for Fri:
Start reading:

*Gogol, Dead Souls

Discussion topics:
1. Genre: The Adventures of Chichikov, or Dead Souls. Epic poem.
2. Souls--dead and alive
3. Narration: walk-on characters & Gogol's "life-generating syntax" (Nabokov)
4. Narrative digressions, esp. those on Russia and the Russian language
5. The Landowners and how they are described
6. Chichikov & his peripherals: snuff box, mahogany case, Selifan & Ivan.
7. Special discourses: rumor, gossip, speculations, flattery (& their life-generating magic)

Tues evening 2/ 21 at 6 pm dinner(vegetarian mostly) at my house (1814 Lincoln Ave) screening of Metropolitan opera sets for Gogol's "Nose" and possible screening of "The Overcoat" (Dir. A.Batalov, Roland Bykov in the role of Akakii Akakievich, black and white, 73 mins. If this is not techically possible at my house we'll figure out either collective screening or individual ones in the Media Center.
As you watch the film, pay attention to what is changed from the written text--what did the director expand, omit, invent? How did he render cinematically (camera angle, point of view, use of space, use of visual effects, use of sound, plot structuring, etc.) what Gogol rendered as written text? Where is the viewer in the film?

Fri Feb 17
Discussion: Dead Souls

Finish reading for Mon:
*Gogol, Dead Souls

Short Project # 1 due: Mac-Overcoat

Mon Feb 20
Discussion: Dead Souls

Finish reading for Wed:
* Gogol, Dead Souls, Part I
Suggested reading:
*Holquist article
(Moodle Readings)

Ladies "agreeable in all respects" in Gogol, as imagined by A. Laptev, illustrator of N. V. Gogol, Vechera na khutore bliz Dikan'ki (Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka), Moscow: Gos. Izd. Khudozhestvennoi literatury, 1960


Wed Feb 22
Lecture: Gogol biography, Part II.
Begin discussion of Dead Souls; Holquist article
(check out the title page Gogol designed by clicking on icon below)

Chichikov and his box (Left) as imagined by Petr Sokolov, illustrator for Gogol, N. V. Mertvye Dushi. Poema. Chast' pervaia. (Dead Souls. Epic Poem. Part One.), Moscow-Leningrad: OGIZ Gos. Izd. Khudozhestvennoi literatury, 1947.

Finish reading by Mon (if you haven't by now):
Gogol, Dead Souls

Read for Mon:
Epshtein article: Hilary Lakin (Moodle Readings)
Fri Feb 24
Discussion: Dead Souls
Short Project # 2 due: Obituary on Gogol character

Mon Feb 27
Conclude discussion of Dead Souls
ORAL PRESENTATION #5 Epshtein article (Hilary Lakin)

Read for Wed:
* Familiarize yourselves with the outline of Dostoevsky's life and works "Dostoevsky-on-a-page"!
Start Reading:
Dostoevsky, Poor Folk (in House of the Dead and Poor Folk)

Long Project: Topic Decisions

Wed Feb 29
Lecture: Dostoevsky, biographical & cultural context Dostoevsky & Gogol, connections--general remarks

Study for Midterm exam
Keep Reading: Dostoevsky: Poor Folk
Short Project # 3 due: Comic strip Dead Souls

Fedor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky: Oil portrait by V. Perov, 1872

Nikolai Vasil'evich Gogol
(as reproduced in V. V. Gippius, Gogol, Ann Arbor, Ardis,1981)

Dostoevsky's St. Petersburg
(click icon for picture series)

Fri Mar 2
MIDTERM EXAM (material on Gogol)

Read for Mon:
Poor Folk

Mon Mar 5
Discussion: Poor Folk : Dostoevsky as critic of Gogol
Read for Wed:
* Poor Folk
Suggested reading:
Leatherbarrow article (Moodle Readings)

Wed Mar 7
Discussion & conclusions: Poor Folk; Leatherbarrow article

Read for Fri:
*Dostoevsky, The Double in Great Short Works
Suggested Reading:
*Belknap article (Moodle Readings)

Fri Mar 9
Conclusions: The Double; Belknap article

Read for Mon:
* Dostoevsky, The Double


SPRING BREAK Sat March 10- Sun March 18

Mon Mar 19
Discussion of The Double--conclusions

Read for Wed:
* Dostoevsky, The Village of Stepanchikovo

Wed Mar 21
Lecture: Biographical update. The Petrashevsky circle & exile.
Discussion: The Village of Stepanchikovo

Finish reading:
* Dostoevsky, The Village of Stepanchikovo

Fri Mar 23
Discussion of The Village of Stepanchikovo--conclusions

* Dostoevsky, Notes from Underground in Great Short Works (at least Part I)
Bakhtin article: Charles (Moodle Readings)

Mon Mar 26
Lecture: Background and The Turgenev & Chernyshevsky connections
Discussion: Notes From Underground: Philosophy, Part I.
: Bakhtin article (Charles Nesler)

Read for Wed:
*Dostoevsky, Notes from Underground in Great Short Works (Part II)
Suggested Reading:
*Weisberg article (Moodle Readings)

* the full text to Nekrasov poem

Wed Mar 28
Discussion: Notes from Underground: Illustrations of philosophy (Part II and the Nekrasov connection); Weisberg article

Finish reading for Fri:
*Dostoevsky, Notes from Underground (Part II)

Fri Mar 30
Discussion: Notes from Underground

Read for Mon:
*The Gambler
Suggested reading:
*Christa article (Moodle Readings)
Discussion themes for The Gambler:
1. Russia versus Europe (England, France, Germany, Poland)
2. The poetry of gambling (how & why do different personages gamble)
3. Love/power triangles & plot structure (scandals, esp.)
4. Narration

Mon Apr 2
Concluding discussion: Notes
Lecture:The Gambler and continued biographical information

Read for Wed:
*The Gambler

Wed Apr 4--CLASS MOVED TO TUES evening: 6-8 pm in H 212.
Screening (and concluding discussion):
The Gambler, A Mark Vlessing production of a Karoly Makk film (1997, 97 min., starring: Michael Gambon, Jodhi May, Polly Walker, Dominic West, John Wood, Johan Leysen, and Luise Rainer). Based on Dostoevsky's biography: a young woman who takes a job as a stenographer for Dostoevsky, who dictates his novel to her . . .and we know how that ends! Mac: PG3326.G363 2002 videotape

After we've screened the film it will be available for screening in Media Services

Read for Mon:
* Dostoevsky, The Idiot

Holbein, "The Dead Body of Christ in the Tomb," a copy of which adorns Rogozhin's house in Dostoevsky's The Idiot. From: Holbein. Des Meisters Gemälde, Stuttgart and Leipzig: Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 1912.
(click icon for blow-up)

Discussion themes:
1. Myshkin: his biography and his self-presentation (castration)
2. Myshkin as perceived by other personages
3. Dostoevsky's use of subtexts (newspapers, paintings, literary texts)
4. Texts within the text (personages' narratives)
5. Apocalypse & the Bible (Revelation)
6. Beauty
7. Love & death (murder, suicide)
8. Russia & Russianness


DUE: WEDNESDAY (by e-mail)

Short Project # 4 due: contemporary theme in Notes style


Long Project: last day for feedback on bibliography and outline

ON RESERVE IN MEDIA CENTER: FILMS of Crime and Punishment (which we will not read in this class!)

FULL SCREENING of the French version, This is one of the masterpieces of Pierre Chenal, (1935, black & white, 110 minutes) with Pierre Blanchard as Raskolnikov and Harry Baur as the detective, Porfiry--both superb performances. French with English subtitles Mac: PG 3326.P74714 1989 videotape

AND sample clips from:

Lev Kulidzhanov, Crime and Punishment, Russian version (1970, 224 mins black & white, starting at 6pm) the print is bad: no sound, illegible subtitles skinny rectangle on square screen. . . Still this is the version I'd recommend as the closest to Dostoevsky's original and with great acting by Georgi Taratorkin as Raskolnikov and (esp.!) Innokenty Smoktunovsky as Porfiry. Russian with (illegible) English subtitles. Mac: PG3326.P747 1989 videotape, pt. 1-2

Josef von Sternberg, Crime and Punishment (Columbia Pictures, 1935, 88 min). This version takes us far afield from Dostoevsky, from Rodion Romanovich to Roderick, from Svidrigailov to "Grilov," from the axe to a poker as the murder weapon, etc. etc.--amusing in its own way, but NOT Dostoevsky. Memorable mostly for Peter Lorre's vivid over-acted terrific Raskolnikov (both in his coolest and his maddest aspects) and Edward Arnold as the memorable detective. This one is in English.

The recent Bravo/Gala Film version, directed by Julian Jarrold, produced by David Snodin, starring: John Simm, Iam McDiarmid, Shaun Dingwall, etc. etc.(4 hours taped with commercials, alas)

All will be placed on Media Services Reserve after our screenings, should you want to see more.

For Mon:
Start reading The Idiot

Fri Apr 6
Crime and Punishment

Read for Wed:
* Dostoevsky, The Idiot

The Pavlovsk Park where much of the action in Dostoevsky's The Idiot takes place
(click icon for picture series)

Mon Apr 9
Lecture: Dostoevsky, Biographical update: travel abroad, financial situation, plans for The Idiot
Discussion: The Idiot

Wed Apr 11:
Discussion: The Idiot

Read for Fri:
* Dostoevsky, The Idiot
ORAL PRESENTATION #7: Collin Crane: Johnson article (Moodle Readings)
FILM held in Media Services for individual (or joint??) screening on the Mac premises:
Akira Kurosawa's The Idiot
(Japan 1951, 166 min, b&w.) Kurosawa has stated that Dostoevsky is his favorite author and he transposes The Idiot to post-war Japan and sets it among raging blizzards and claustrophobic madly lit interiors. He fashions an expressionistic vision of passion and, by the end, a heartbreaking plea for simplicity and goodness (all the above according to the video jacket). We meet the main character Myshkin/Kameda 10 days after he has been mistaken for a war criminal, sentenced to death by mistake, and then released from an American prison camp. The near-death experience has shaken him menttally and induced epilepsy/madness. Other characters:
Rogozhin - Akana
The Epanchins - Onos (less one sister)
Ganya Ivolgin - Kayama
Totsky - Tohata
Nastasya Filippovna - Taeko Nasu
Aglaia - Ayako
Kolya Ivolgin - Kaori
St. Petersburg - Hokkaido
Moscow - Tokyo

Fri Apr 13
Discussion: The Idiot
ORAL PRESENTATION: Collin Crane: Johnson article


Read for Mon:
Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov Part I
Selected discussion themes for Part I:
(Caution: the themes I suggest overlap, recur throughout the novel, and hence can't easily be separated as neatly as it looks--I suggest reading through all the themes for all parts now and keeping them all in mind as you read the novel)
1. The epigraph, John 12:24
2. The mothers K and other female characters
3. The Brothers and the father and their "texts" (a theme we we'll follow for all parts for sure); in Part I we'll look at Fedor's text: anecdotes and one of Ivan's texts: the article
4. Scandal # 1: "Why is a man like that alive?" and scandals in general as a Dostoevskian device.

*Text for the Lermontov poem mentioned on p. 8 (read this esp. if you're writing on "The Mothers K")


Long Projects: last day for feedback on drafts

Mon Apr 16
Discussion: The Brothers K, Part I
We won't get to deep discussions of ALL the themes listed and will jointly decide where to focus--this goes for the whole Brothers K discussion.

Read for Wed: The Brothers Karamazov, Part II
Discussion themes for Part II:
1. Father Zossima's precepts (Alyosha's text: a Saint's Life)
2. Miracles
3. Alyosha and the schoolboys--pride and revenge
4. Infernal woman: Katerina Ivanovna and her "love"--pride and revenge
5. Ivan's text" "The Grand Inquisitor"--Laura Bush's favorite text!

Wed Apr 18
: The Brothers K.

Read for Fri:
The Brothers K

Suggested reading:
*Jones article (Moodle Readings)

Fri Apr 19
Discussion: The Brothers K

Read for Mon:

The Brothers K, Parts III and IV
Discussion themes for Part III:
1. Grushenka's text: the apocryphal onion story
2. Mitya's texts: Schiller, etc.
3. Mitya's torments and secrets

Long projects: Final copy due

Mon May Apr 23
Discussion: The Brothers K


Read for Wed:
The Brothers K, Part IV
Discussion themes
1. Children
2. Smerdyakov's text: popular romances
3. Ivan's meetings with Smerdyakov
4. Ivan & the Devil
5. Crime and punishment & "60s questions"
6. Saints, peasants and children

Short Project # 5 due: Mothers K
Wed Apr 25
Discussion: The Brothers K
Read for Fri:
The Brothers K
Fri April 27
Discussion: The Brothers K
Finish reading for Mon: The Brothers Karamazov
Suggested reading:
*Malcom Jones article (Moodle Readings)
Mon April 30
Discussion, further thoughts, and conclusions of The Brothers K; Malcom Jones article
Study for Final Exam on Saturday May 5, 10:30-12:30 in H216
Wed May 6: STUDY DAY
Saturday May 5 at 10:30- 12:30   
FINAL EXAM   in our usual room H216

Last modified: 3/30, 2012