INTRODUCTION TO RUSSIAN STUDIES:
The Silver Age, 1881-1927
Prof. Shoshana Keller TTh 1 - 2:15
Office: KJ 236 telephone: x4358 e-mail: skeller
Office hours: Monday 2 - 3:30
Thursday 10 - 11:30
A team-taught introduction to the civilization of Russia through an examination of its historical, cultural, artistic, and political development. The Silver Age was a period of explosive cultural change. Russian music, dance, literature, and fine arts in this period astonished the world, while Russian political and social experiments terrified it. We will study Russia at its most glorious and its most bloodthirsty, and try to understand how such creativity and destruction can co-exist. Writing Intensive: you will write four 4 - 5 page essays on assigned topics and one 10-page essay or research paper on a topic of your choice. There will be no exams.
Grade breakdown: Attendance and participation: 15%
Four essays: 15% each
Final paper: 25%
Hans Rogger. Russia in the Age of Modernisation and Revolution, 1881-1917. London: Longman Group Limited, 1983.
Soloman Volkov. St. Petersburg: a cultural history. New York: The Free Press, 1995.
January 21 – 25: Introduction
Tuesday: Introduction to course
video: Le sacre du printemps as reconstructed by the Joffrey Ballet, 1991.
Thursday: Learn the Cyrillic alphabet [John Bartle]
Reading: Volkov, Preface and Chpt. 1. Alexander Pushkin, “The Bronze Horseman.” (AJT84>, “;,*>Z6 &F"*>48”) Hear Lora Paperno read the poem, at http://184.108.40.206/horseman/index.htm
Jan. 28 – February 1: Literature after the Great Reforms
T: The Great Reforms transform Russia
Th: The Cherry Orchard [J. Bartle]
WRITING ASSIGNMENT No. 1
Reading: Rogger, Chpts. 1 and 2. Anton Chekhov: The Cherry Orchard (Q,N@&: %4T>,&Z6 F"*) Elena Molokhovets, A Gift to Young Housewives (;@:@N@&,P: A@*"D@8 <@:@*Z< N@2b68"<) translated by Joyce Toomre. Pages 33-40, 47-51, plus sample recipes
February 4 – 8: Fine arts and music
T: Revolution in painting: the Wanderers (A,D,*&40>484)
Th: Tchaikovsky and the “Mighty Five” (Q"68@&F846 4 “;@(R"b 8JR8"”)
Reading: Volkov, Chapter 2 “Pikovaia dama,” final scene “Boris Godunov,”  coronation scene and Act II, scene 2 “the clock scene” “The Nutcracker,” Act II entertainments scene
Feb. 11 – 15 : Political and social experiments
T: Radicals on the left and right
Th: New society
WRITING ASSIGNMENT No. 2
Reading: Rogger, Chpts. 6 and 7. Primary writings by Figner, Pobedonostsev, Kanatchikov
(from James Cracraft, ed. Major Problems in the History of Imperial Russia)
Feb. 18 – 22: Revolution and its theories
T: The Russo-Japanese War and 1905
Th: Theories of revolution
Reading: Rogger, Chpts. 8 and 10. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto (1848). Lev D. Trotsky, excerpt from Results and Prospects (1906, Chpts. 4-8)
Feb. 25 – March 1: Art Avant-garde
T: Wild Art: Constructivism and Suprematism [Frank Sciacca]
Th: Musical explosion: Igor’ Stravinsky (3(@D\ EHD"&4>F846) [Heather Buchman]
reading: Volkov, Chapter 3. Rogger, Chpt. 11
March 4 – 8: Russia in Paris
T: Diaghelev and the Ballets Russe [Catherine Kodat]
Th: Dance and the Devil
Reading: Volkov, Chpt. 4 Kristi Goberg, “‘The Shade of Lucifer’s Dark Wing’: Satanism in Silver Age Russia,” from Beatrice Glatzer Rosenthal, ed. The Occult in Russian and Soviet Culture. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1997, pp. 99-134
March 11 – 15: The Last Tsar
T: Nicky and Sunny in 1916-7
Th: What happened to the royal family?
WRITING ASSIGNMENT No. 3
Reading: Rogger, Chpts. 12 and 13. Romanov packet: Material from The Letters of the Tsaritsa to the Tsar (pp. 404-411); Radzinsky, The Last Tsar (pp. 357-373, + misc.); Steinberg and Khrustalov, The Fall of the Romanovs (pp. 297-366); William Maples, Dead Men Do Tell Tales (pp. 251-268, plus pictures)
MARCH 18 – 29 SPRING BREAK
April 1 – 5: Avant-garde opera
T: Maiakovskii, Malevich, and “Victory Over the Sun.” ASSIGNMENT DUE
Th: Slavic research at Hamilton - meet your library
Reading: Maiakovskii, Victory Over the Sun. Re-creation of 1913 performance, directed by Robert Benedetti, 1980. PG 3476.K767 P613 View Act I, group reading of Act II. Robert Benedetti, “Reconstructing Victory Over the Sun,” The Drama Review Vol. 28, No. 3(Fall 1984): pp. 17–31.
April 8 – 12: New Soviet film
T: Revolution in film: Vertov and Eisenstein
Th: Man with a Movie Camera; October; The Battleship Potemkin [excerpts]
Reading: Sergei Eisenstein, “The Montage of Attractions (1923)”; “The Montage of Film Attractions (1924)”; and Denise Youngblood, Movies for the Masses, Introduction and chapters 1 and 2.
April 15 – 19: Two steps forward, one step back
WRITING ASSIGNMENT No. 4
Reading: V. I. Lenin, Speech at the 10th Party Congress; Nikolai Bukharin and Evgenii Preobrazhenskii: The ABC of Communism [=. #JN"D4>, +. AD,@$D"0,>F846: !2$J8" 7@<<J>42<"], Chpt. 6 “The Soviet Power”; Chpt. 11 “Communism and Religion.” Richard Stites, Revolutionary Dreams: Utopian Vision and Experimental Life in the Russian Revolution Chpt. 3, “Revolutionary Iconoclasm.”
April 22 – 26: New Soviet People
T: Love, sex, and religion
Th: Socialism, technology and magic
Reading: Stites, Chpt. 5, “Godless Religion.” Wendy Z. Goldman, “Working Class Women and the “Withering Away” of the Family,” in Russia in the Era of NEP, 1991. Paraskeva Ivanova, “Why I do Not Belong in the Party,” from Fitzpatrick and Slezkine, eds., In the Shadow of Revolution: Life Stories of Russian Women from 1917 to the Second World War. Princeton: Princeton UP, 2000, pp. 213-218. Excerpt from Mess-Mend by )04< )@::"D (Marietta Shaginian). Anthony Vanchu, “Technology as Esoteric Cosmology in Early Soviet Literature,” in Beatrice Glatzer Rosenthal, ed. The Occult in Russian and Soviet Culture. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1997, pp. 203-222.
April 29 – May 3: The workers’ paradise?
T: The death of St. Petersburg, the birth of Leningrad
Th: You are Gosplan [Sharon Rivera]
Reading: William J. Chase, Workers, society, and the Soviet state : labor and life in Moscow, 1918-1929. Chpt. 5, “Daily Life in Moscow, 1921-1929.”
May 6 – 10: Cultural Revolution
T: Elite vs ordinary culture
Th: End of experiments
Reading: Volkov, Chpt. 5 to p. 416. Stites, Chpt. 11, “War on the Dreamers.” J. V. Stalin, Foundations of Leninism, Chpts. 4-6.
FINAL PAPERS DUE WEDNESDAY, MAY 15 AT 5 PM