Professor Emily Van Buskirk

In English. No prerequisites.  

Throughout the 19th century, literature and literary criticism lay right at the heart of the Russian Empire's attempt to forge a modern national, cultural, and political identity. Leading writers were preoccupied with a pressing set of "accursed questions," many of which still remain vital for Russia today:  Are we Western or are we not? What does it mean to be, and not to be, "Russian"? What is freedom and what is progress? What is science and where is God? This course surveys some of the high points of 19th-century Russian-language realism: novels, stories, and plays by Pushkin, Gogol, Lermontov, Turgenev, Chernyshevsky, N. and S. Khvoshchinskaya, Leskov, Tolstoy, Chekhov, and others. We will use these works both as a window into a crucial period of Russia's cultural history, and an entrypoint into the enduring artistic and philosophical problem of what it means to represent reality. 

All readings in English. Satisfies Core Requirement AHp.