Russian literature and cultural criticism

Instructor(s): Svetlana Mamaluy

Course abstract:

The course is based on 20th century Russian literature. It introduces the major, often radical, literary trends, such as symbolism, acmeism, futurism, imaginism, socialist realism. There will be references to the historical events that marked the development of the country, the political and social changes that they brought about as well as the destinies and the lives of the Russian poets and authors (censorship, massive persecutions, gulag, Stalinism, dissidents, perestroika, glasnost, the collapse of the soviet regime and the USSR, etc.).

Meanwhile, and in the spirit of the Russian heritage from the 18th and 19th centuries, a representative thematic analysis will be attempted on social as well as cultural phenomena, such as:

  • The unique phenomenon of ‘bookworms’ in soviet Russia, as a sign of extreme fondness for reading by the Russians
  • Psychological reactions and social signs of resistance, subversion, satire, etc. (e.g. politicians in jokes, Russian bard-poets)
  • Juxtaposition of value systems (the soviet regime versus the traditional Russian values)

Finally, the course will focus on commenting extremely important concepts for Russian literature such as ‘freedom’, ‘homeland’ and ‘love’.

The aim of the course is the study, analysis and interpretation of selected literary works which represent a wide range of literary genres expressing social and cultural experiences. The ultimate educational objective remains, however, the training of the student-readers on a novel (or its movie version), a short story, a poem, a song or a play. In other words, familiarization of the students with the ‘art’ of reading Russian literature following the routes of psychological, emotional and/or critical understanding.

Indicative bibliography:

Μ. Αλεξανδρόπουλος. Η Ρωσική Λογοτεχνία, Τ.Α, Β, Γ, Κέδρος, 1978

Ν. Καζαντζάκης. Ιστορία της Ρωσικής Λογοτεχνίας, Εκδ. Καζαντζάκη

Ν. Μίρσκι. Ιστορία της Ρωσικής Λογοτεχνίας, Αθήνα, 1977

Μ. Σταφυλάς. Ρώσοι συγγραφείς, Αθήνα, 2003

Orlando Figes. Ο χορός της Νατάσας, Τ. Α, Β, εκδ. Ηλέκτρα, 2006

Jonathan Culler. Λογοτεχνική θεωρία, ΠΕΚ, 1998

Η λογοτεχνική θεωρία του εικοστού αιώνα. Ανθολόγιο κειμένων, ΠΕΚ, 2013

Βarry Peter. Γνωριμία με τη θεωρία. Μια εισαγωγή στη λογοτεχνική και πολιτισμική θεωρία, εκδ. Βιβλιοράμα, 2013

Σ. Ιλίνσκαγια. Κ. Καβάφης και η ρωσική ποίηση του “Αργυρού αιώνα”, Αθήνα, 1995

Б. Парамонов. Конец стиля, М., изд-во Аграф, 1999

Русский Эрос, или Философия любви в России, М., изд-во Прогресс, 1991

Literature study texts. Excerpts from:

Α. Αλεξάνδρου. Διάλεξα, Αθήνα, 1984

Α. Αχμάτοβα. Ρέκβιεμ, Εκδ. Αρμός, 2007

Κ. Δρόσου. Ι. Μπρόντσκι. Εκδ. Υψιλον, 1998

Β. Μαγιακόφσκι. Σύννεφο με παντελόνια. Εκδ. Αρμός, 2008

Μ. Μπουλγκάκοφ. Ο Μαίτρ και η Μαργαρίτα. Εκδ. Θεμέλιο, 1991

Μ. Μπουλγκάκοφ. Η καρδιά ενός σκύλου. Εκδ. Στοχαστής, 1983

Δ. Χαρμς. Γαλάζιο τετράδιο. Εκδ. Νεφέλη, 2010