Spring 2020

Modernism and Revolution

Listed in: Russian, as RUSS-215


Boris Wolfson (Section 01)


We will examine the revolutionary upheavals of early twentieth-century Russia through the lens of three modernist texts: Andrei Bely’s experimental novel Petersburg (the failed revolution of 1905), Isaac Babel’s story cycle Red Cavalry (the civil war that followed the Bolshevik takeover in 1917) and Mikhail Bulgakov’s phantasmagorical masterpiece The Master and Margarita (the “cultural revolution” of 1929-32 and the rise of Stalinist society). Reshaped by the crises that they confronted in their works, these Russian writers reached beyond literature – to the images, sounds and ideas of their Russian and European contemporaries – to reimagine the place of artistic innovation and esthetic tradition in times of trouble, and so revolutionized the very idea of what literature can do in negotiating the relationship between text and experience. All readings and discussion in English. No familiarity with Russian history or culture is assumed.

Spring semester. Professor Wolfson.


Attention to Issues of Class, Attention to Issues of Gender and Sexuality, Attention to Issues of Social Justice, Transnational or World Cultures Taught in English


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2014, Spring 2020