Slavic Languages and Literatures 39, Section 1

Russian Short Fiction (2 units, LG)

Professor Robyn Jensen
Wednesday 10:00-12:00, 104 Dwinelle Hall, Class number: 33390

While the expansive Russian novel looms large in the history of Russian prose, this course offers an introduction to Russian and Russophone literature through the rich tradition of the short story. We will read a number of major 19th-century writers, including Nikolai Gogol, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Lev Tolstoy, and Anton Chekhov, as well as 20th-century and contemporary writers, such as Vladimir Nabokov, Isaac Babel, Andrei Platonov, Lyudmilla Petrushevskaya, and Yevgenia Belorusets. With care, nuance, and attention, we will examine the inner workings and meaning of each story, as well as its place within a wider tradition. How does the short story work? How does one story respond to others that came before it? How does the short story form develop from the 19th century to today? We will consider a range of topics, including war and revolution, love and death, the everyday and the supernatural, as well as the comic and absurd. This course should be of interest to anyone who likes to read, and also for students interested in creative writing.

Instructor Bio

Robyn Jensen is Assistant Teaching Professor in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures. Her teaching and research interests include the relationship between literature and other art forms, Russian emigre culture, theater and performance studies, as well as critical prison studies. She is currently writing a book about Vladimir Nabokov and photography.