Russian literature is famous for its passion, its raw psychological intensity, its unparalleled philosophical introspection—its tendency to question everything.
In this course we will analyze a wide array of short stories by some of the most important writers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The course is intended both as an introduction to Russian literature and culture and, more generally, as an introduction to literary analysis as a powerful form of critical thinking. Emphasis will be placed on examining the evolving aesthetics of the short story in relation to the dynamics of Russian cultural history. In turn, we will attempt to conceptualize Russian cultural history as something like a history of desire. Knowledge of Russian NOT required.