Russian Literature


Great works of literature bear gifts that continue giving
well beyond their time and place. Personages in the
great Russian classics continue to fascinate and speak
to us, as do Shakespearean characters or those fashioned
by Jane Austen. We come to care about them.
The fact that a literary work inspires multiple film versions,
TV mini-series, operas, rock musicals, ballets and
other adaptations attests to its ability to challenge, interest
and speak to individuals through the passage of time
and across cultures and languages.

We will spend a class period each on Pushkin’s Eugene
, Tolstoy’s War and Peace, Dostoevsky’s Crime
and Punishment
, and Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago. We will
spend some time exploring these works in other genres.

Reading all four of these novels entails more than 3,000
pages. There are several chapter summaries available
online for each novel. It might be helpful to read these even if
you read the book. Consulting a cast of characters for each
work and keeping it handy is also a good idea since each
character may be referred to by four or five different names.


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