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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : European Languages and Cultures - Russian Studies

Undergraduate Course: The Golden Age of Russian Literature (ELCR08011)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 2 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course focuses on the most important 19th-c. Russian writers with the view to introduce students to their works and ideas. It will examine the main socio-political and cultural trends in Russia and in Europe that influenced such writers as Pushkin, Gogol', Turgenev, Dostoevsky and Tolstoy. This course is idea-led: it will examine in depth several key themes clearly outlined at the beginning of the course. The list of main themes includes these points: the legacy of the Enlightenment and the representation of madness in Russian literature; the inter-relationship between the author and the government; the representation of St Petersburg in literature and the construction of Russian national identity; the criticism of Russian imperial policies; the emergence of nihilism and positivism in Russia; and the ongoing dialogue between Russia and the west. The course develops students' literary analytical skills, and enables them to gain deeper insights into the major themes explored by Russian most influential 19th-c. writers as well as into the techniques employed in their works.
Course description The course's outline: Pushkin "The Bronze Horseman" (weeks 1-2); Gogol "The Overcoat" and "The Nose" (weeks 3-4); Turgenev "Fathers and Sons" (weeks 5-6) ; Dostoevsky "Crime and Punishment" (7-8); Tolstoy "After the Ball" (week 9); group presentation -- week 10. The course will comprise 10 2-hour seminars accompanied by lecture notes on Learn and short introductory points about methodology, main themes of the texts and main literary devices used in them provided by the lecturer/tutor. Most of the classes will be based on workshop-style group discussions. A dossier will be provided by the course organiser in advance of the course with points for discussion and other important information that will be helpful for class discussion. In week 2 students will need to confirm their topics for group presentation during week 10. The group presentations will be focused on general themes and will encourage students to compare 2-3 works. A list of topics will include such broad themes as the legacy of the Enlightenment and the representation of St Petersburg in Russian 19th-c. literature; the construction of masculinity and femininity in Russian 19th-c. literature; the construction of Russian national identity through literature; the use of religious themes in the works of 19th-c. writers; the representation of madness; the responses to political and social changes in Russia; the use of satirical devices in Russian 19th-c. texts; the representation of natural versus urban environment in the texts studied in the course. The take-home exam topics will be available to students during week 8, and they will be expected to submit their essays (2,500 words) by the end of week 11.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  53
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 196 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 100% Coursework
Group Presentation 20%
Blog Participation 20%
Take-Home Essay 60%
Feedback Students will be given a detailed oral and written feedback for each piece of assessment.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Construct a clear and coherent argument that will demonstrate an understanding of key concepts of the course.
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of texts, films and other cultural production, and the historical conditions under which Russian transnational culture developed since the 18th century.
  3. Appraise literary texts and films in the transnational context, using appropriate critical approaches, scholarship, theoretical underpinnings, and terminology.
  4. Use the appropriate theory when conducting the analysis of primary material.
  5. Produce comparative analysis of various cultural productions across the geographical spaces and historical periods.
Reading List
Essential reading: Pushkin "The Bronze Horseman"; Gogol' "The Overcoat" and "The Nose; Turgenev "The Fathers and Sons"; Dostoevsky "Crime and Punishment", and Tolstoy "After the Ball".
Recommended reading:
*Malcolm V. Jones; Robin Feuer Miller, eds. The Cambridge Companion to the Classic Russian Novel (Cambridge: CUP, 2006);
*Gary Rosenshield. Pushkin and the Genres of Madness (Wisconsin: Wisconsin Centre for Pushkin Studies, 2003).
*Richard Peace. The Enigma of Gogol: An Examination of the Writings of N.V. Gogol and Their Place in Russian Literary Tradition (Cambridge: CUP, 1981), pp.94-150.
*Jane Tussey Costlow. Worlds within World. The Novels of Ivan Turgenev (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University, Press, 1990), pp.105-137.
*Harriet Murav. Dostoevsky's Novels and the Poetics of Cultural Critique (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1992), pp.51-70.
*Anna Schur. "Beyond Moral Evangelism: On the Rejection of Punishment in Late Tolstoy", Tolstoy Studies Journal, vol.20, 2008, 38-52.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills During this course, students will further develop graduate attributes and personal and professional skills in the following areas: research and enquiry, analytical thinking; critical thinking; knowledge integration and application; handling complexity and ambiguity. Personal and intellectual autonomy: self-awareness and reflection; independent learning and development; creative and inventive thinking. Personal effectiveness: planning, organising and time management; assertiveness and confidence; flexibility. Communication: interpersonal skills; verbal and written communication.
Additional Class Delivery Information Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4
Directed and Independent Learning 196
Total 200 Hours
KeywordsRussian literature,19th century,Golden age
Course organiserDr Alexandra Smith
Tel: (0131 6)51 1381
Course secretaryMr Craig Adams
Tel: (0131 6)50 3646
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