Russian literature of the 19th century is among the richest, most profound, and most human traditions in the world. This course explores this tradition by focusing on four giants: Ivan Turgenev, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Leo Tolstoy, and Anton Chekhov. Their works had an enormous impact on Russian understanding of the human condition. And, just as importantly, these works have been one of Russia’s most significant exports: Turgenev, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, and Chekhov have become part of our literary heritage. And our understanding of the novel is based in large part on the masterpieces of Dostoevsky and Tolstoy, while Chekhov has defined modern notions of the short story. In this course, Knapp acquaints you with the authors, their lives and their times, and their most important works.
Lecture 1 Fiction, Love, and Death
Lecture 2 Ivan Turgenev: A Russian Novelist at Home and Abroad; Relations in Fathers and Sons
Lecture 3 Bridging the Generation Gap in Turgenev’s Fathers and Sons: Love and Death
Lecture 4 Fyodor Dostoevsky: Writing for Life
Lecture 5 In and Out of the Underground (A Reading of Dostoevsky’s Notes from the Underground)
Lecture 6 Calculating Murder in Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment
Lecture 7 The Power of Compassion in Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment
Lecture 8 Leo Tolstoy and the Search for Meaning in Life
Lecture 9 Entering the Labyrinth of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina
Lecture 10 Anna Karenina and the Tangled Skein of Plot
Lecture 11 Love and Death in Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina
Lecture 12 Anton Chekhov: Writer, Doctor, Humanist
Lecture 13 Chekhovian Compassion: Revisions of Peasant Life and Adulterous Love
Lecture 14 Love and Death and the Russian Point of View
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