Soviet & Post-Soviet Lit

One hundred years on, the Bolshevik Revolution continues to exert a powerful influence on global politics and culture. Understanding this legacy requires deep engagement with that crucial vector of Revolutionary, Soviet, and post-Soviet thought: Russian literature. This course explores the “Red Century” and its aftermath through readings in twentieth- and twenty-first-century prose, drama, and poetry. Departing from the breakneck pace of modern life, we will focus on close reading and interpretation, with regular student-led forays into historical and biographical context. Featured authors include Babel, Zamiatin, Akhmatova, Bulgakov, Platonov, Kharms, Ginzburg, Solzhenitsyn, Erofeev, Tolstaya, Petrushevskaya, Pelevin, and Goralik.

This course is an introduction to Russian 20th-century fiction, concentrating on the two periods of greatest cultural ferment: 1920s modernism and late/post-Soviet postmodernism. After the 1917 revolution, Bolshevik ideology held that the Old World would be utterly destroyed, to be replaced by a new society populated by New Soviet Men. The experience of Russia in the 20th century can be viewed as the failed attempt to put radical theory into everyday practice, a grand scheme of social engineering that would inevitably be reflected in the country?s literature.

Course Information



4 Points

Term Section Instructor Schedule Location

Spring 2018

Maya V Vinokour
TR: 2:00 PM - 3:15 PM 19UP 224