Spring 2011

Russian Lives

Listed in: Russian, as RUSS-18


Catherine A. Ciepiela (Section 01)


In this course we will study modern Russian cultural history by attending to how key social actors have been represented. Beginning with the 17th-century religious schism and continuing up through the present day, we will study the lives of the saint, the aristocrat, the peasant, the poet, the intellectual, the revolutionary, the exile, the leader, and the merchant. We will draw on memoirs and eyewitness accounts such as Archpriest Avvakum’s “autobiography,” the first example of the genre in Russia, Alexander Herzen’s My Life and Thoughts (alongside Tom Stoppard’s renovation of his story as a recently staged trilogy of plays, Coast of Utopia), the testimony of women terrorists like Vera Figner, and the diaries of average Soviet citizens during the Stalin era. We also will consider fictional renderings of typical or historical figures in various media, works like Ivan Turgenev's A Huntsman's Sketches, Sergei Eisenstein’s film Ivan the Terrible, and Alexander Solzhenitsyn's One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. No acquaintance with Russian language or culture is assumed. 

Spring semester. Professor Ciepiela. 


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2011, Fall 2013