Russian Literature 1 LM. Forms, genres, and critical approaches (2017/2018)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Daniele Artoni
Daniele Artoni
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Other available courses
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Semester 1 dal Oct 2, 2017 al Jan 20, 2018.

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

This course aims to develop in students:
1. a critical view on the Classical, Soviet, and Post-Soviet Russian Literature in accordance to the Orientalist, Colonial, and Post-Colonial models.
2. an understanding of the positive and negative aspects of assuming the interpretative and critical approaches that were shaped in European and American environments being transferred to the Russian context
3. a thorough knowledge and deep comprehension of texts and contemporary literary models
4. an ability to critique texts and contemporary literary models.

This course will be based on a variety of texts, in the form of novels, poems, short stories, film, composed during the period from the 19th century up to the present.


The textual analysis will be conducted on the following works:

1. Лермонтов, Герой нашего времени – Lermontov, A Hero of Our Time
2. Пушкин, Южные поэмы (Кавказский пленник, Цыганы, Бахчисарайский фонтан) – Pushkin, Southern Poems (The Prisoner of the Caucasus, The Gypsies, The Fountain of Bakhchisaray)
3. Бодров, Кавказский пленник (фильм) – Bodrov, The Prisoner of the Mountain (film)
4. Платонов, Джан – Platonov, Soul (Dzhan)
5. Айлисли, Каменные сны – Aylisli, Stone Dreams


Classes will be conducted with the aid of projected slides, all of which will be uploaded on the e-learning page after the lecture. Attending students will be asked to prepare presentations which will be held during workshops.
Non-attending students will substitute the presentation with a short essay on a topic previously agreed upon with the lecturer.


Alongside with the abovementioned literary works, students are requested to read the following critical essays:

Imposti G. (2002). Post-colonial Theory. The Case of Former Soviet Union. In Albertazzi S., Possamai D. (a cura di), Postcolonialism and Postmodernism. Padova: Il Poligrafo, pp. 43-48.
Layton, S. (2001). Nineteenth-Century Russian Mythologies of Caucasian Savagery. In Brower, D.R., Lazzerini, E.J. (eds), Russia’s Orient. IN, USA: Indiana University Press, pp. 80-99.
Magarotto, L. (2015). La conquista del Caucaso nella letteratura russa dell’Ottocento. Firenze: Firenze University Press,cap. 1-2-3-6, pp. 1-128, 177-192.
Puleri, M. (2016). Narrazioni ibride post-sovietiche. Firenze: Firenze University Press, cap. 1, pp. 13-38.

Students with a limited knowledge of Italian will be provided with alternative materials in other languages.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
L. Magarotto La conquista del Caucaso nella letteratura russa dell’Ottocento Firenze University Press 2015
M. Puleri Narrazioni ibride post-sovietiche Firenze University Press 2016
S. Albertazzi, D. Possamai (a cura di) Postcolonialism and Postmodernism Il Poligrafo 2002
D.R. Brower, E.J. Lazzerini Russia’s Orient Indiana University Press 2001

Assessment methods and criteria

The aims of the exam are to verify:
- The knowledge of texts and critical approaches presented and discussed during the course;
- The mastery of appropriate terminology, presentation skills, and the tools to conduct a critical analysis of texts;
- The ability to evaluate independently the analysis form the various texts, with reference to the approaches studied in the course.

The exam consists of two parts:
1. Presentation to be held in workshops OR essay
2. Oral exam

Students are required to prepare an in-depth analysis on a topic relevant to the programme. This analysis will be in the form of either a presentation of about 45 minutes to be delivered during the course, OR an essay of 2,000-4,000 words. This section will be evaluated for a maximum of 15/30.

The oral exam will cover all the topics in the programme, with a particular focus on the ability of analysing the original text and on the critical approach to the topics studied in the course. This section will be evaluated for a maximum of 15/30.

The final mark (XX/30) is the sum of the marks received in the two abovementioned sections.