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

Postgraduate Course: The Great Russian Novel (ELCR11004)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course facilitates a critical engagement with the Russian novel of the 19th century. In 19th century Russia, the novel, both as an art form and an expression of the human condition reached as extraordinary level of development within a very short space of time. Whilst the remarkable works of fiction produced in this period form a unique picture of a society in a period of rapid change and flux, they are much more than this - they belong rightly to world literature and they have long been regarded as amongst the finest in their genre as well as pushing further the boundaries of the genre.
Following the brief 'Golden Age' of Pushkin and his gifted contemporaries, such remarkable writers as Gogol, Turgenev, Goncharov, Dostoevsky and Tolstoy had established themselves as important authors and thinkers. They are widely known in Russia and abroad. The course will study selected works by some of these authors while paying particular attention to how in the absence of recognizable civil institutions in Russia, the novel and its associated body of literary polemics became the focal point for a debate about the whole range of human experience. Emphasis will be given to the role of the writer, the novels' reflection on development of Russian society and the place of Russia in the world.
Course description The course comprises a detailed study of the novels penned by Pushkin, Gogol, Goncharov, Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, including "Eugene Onegin", "Dead Souls", "Oblomov", "War and Peace", "Anna Karenina", "Devils" (one chapter from "The Brothers Karamazov" (The Great Inquisitor) is recommended for additional reading).

The course also incorporates some important secondary sources and teaches students to apply different approaches to the novels scrutinised in the course. Therefore it provides a good opportunity to students to apply different skills to their analysis and close reading of the novels. It complements other courses offered by MSc in Comparative literature programme that focus on literary theory and research methods. The texts will be studied in translation. MSc students in Translation Studies will be able to write an essay on different translations of the novels studied in the course.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs Some texts can be purchased.
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  4
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) One essay - 3,000 to 4,000 words.
Feedback Students will receive ongoing informal feedback on their engagement with readings in seminars.
For student essay outlines students will receive written feedback within 2 weeks. Student essays will receive detailed written feedback on their return of grades, within the schedule set out by the School.
Students are encouraged to consult with staff on essay choice and research as well as on secondary sources and library holdings.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a detailed understanding of the development and defining characteristics of the nineteenth-century Russian novel.
  2. Articulate and provide examples of major Russian and European literary trends and contexts during the nineteenth century.
  3. Analyse the nineteenth-century Russian novel's contribution to the formation of national identities and canons.
  4. Apply literary theory and a comparative approach to Russian nineteenth-century novels.
Reading List
Essential reading:
Pushkin Eugene Onegin
Gogol Dead Souls
Goncharov Oblomov
Tolstoy War and Peace
Tolstoy Anna Karenina
Dostoevsky Devils

Malcolm Jones and Robin Feuer Miller, eds. The Cambridge Companion to the Classic Russian Novel (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998). (Available online via DiscoverEd.)
Emerson, Caryl. Introduction to Russian Literature, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 2008.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Students will enhance their skills related to literary analysis and critical thinking, as well as their ability to work in the are of comparative studies.
Special Arrangements Jointly taught with undergraduate students (ELCR10002)
Study Abroad n/a
Course organiserDr Alexandra Smith
Tel: (0131 6)51 1381
Course secretaryMr Craig Adams
Tel: (0131 6)50 3646
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