Spring 2020

Russian Lives

Listed in: Russian, as RUSS-332


Catherine A. Ciepiela (Section 01)


This course approaches pre-revolutionary Russian cultural history by attending to how key social actors have been represented. We will study the lives of tsar and tsarina, saint, aristocrat, salon hostess, peasant, revolutionary and merchant as represented in letters, memoirs, fiction, verse, painting and performance. Examples of lifewriting will include seventeenth-century archpriest Avvakum’s “autobiography” (the first example of the genre in Russia), revolutionary Alexander Herzen’s My Life and Thoughts (alongside Tom Stoppard’s renovation of his story as a trilogy of plays, Coast of Utopia), the memoirs of women terrorists, and the testimonial of a nineteenth-century serf. Alongside these we will consider fictional representations such as Pushkin's Eugene Onegin, Lermontov's A Hero of Our Time, Karolina Pavlova's A Double Life, and Tolstoy's "Master and Man." Knowledge of Russian history and culture is not assumed, and all course materials are in English. Students studying the Russian language will be provided with excerpts from the originals.

Spring semester. Professor Ciepiela.


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


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