Russian Literature 2 (2018/2019)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Stefano Aloe
Stefano Aloe
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Other available courses
Academic sector
Language of instruction
I semestre dal Oct 1, 2018 al Jan 12, 2019.

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

This course is a natural prosecution to the course of Russian literature hold in the first year because it focuses on those topics connected with history, culture and arts in the contemporary Russia (XIX and XX centuries).

On successful completion of the module, students must be able to:

1) know the main events of Russian history and to understand the essential elements of modern Russian culture, focusing on 20th century;
2) apply the acquired knowledge in analysing the texts studied during the course, using the given references;
3) develop a personal opinion concerning the main topics covered in the course and to express them in a coherent and proper form.


“«The Lady and the Hooligan»: the figure of the criminal in the XIX century soviet literature”

Russian culture, especially in the 20th Century, has granted a very particular status to the character of the “outsider”, especially the so-called “Hooligan”. Russian literature, cinema and music has widely exploited this topic, creating meaningful “blatnoy” characters and patterns which are still really popular. The course will focus on the typological and historical-conceptual analysis of some of these “hooligans”: the outcast in the works of S. Esenin and V. Mayakovsky, the jewish smugglers in Babel’s, Il’f & Petrov’s and L. Utyosov’s Odessa, the blatnye heroes in V. Vysocky and V. Shukshin. We shall trace their prototypes back in F. Dostoevsky’s and N. Leskov’s works. During the course, the complex relation between volija and svoboda in Russian culture will be explored and examine.

The first language of the course will be the Italian language, we shall use texts in Russian as well, reading and translating them in class. Only a small part of the provided materials will be in Italian or in English.

An anthology of texts will be avalable at the beginning of the cours.
Furthermore, every student has to read and study dovrà leggere e studiare at least one of the following works:
o Isaak Babel’, Odessa Tales (Исаак Бабель, Одесские рассказы)
o Fedor Dostoevsky, The House of the Dead (Федор Достоевский, Записки из мертвого дома)
o Il’ja Il’f & Evgenij Petrov, Twelve Chairs (Илья Ильф, Евгений Петров, Двенадцать стульев)
o Leonid Leonov, The Thief (Леонид Леонов, Вор)
o Vasilij Šukšin, The Read Snowball Tree and other tales (Василий Шукшин, Калина красная и другие рассказы)
o Lev Tolstoj, Resurrection (Лев Толстой, Воскресение)

- Барышня и хулиган (1918), реж. В. Маяковский, Е. Славинский
- Калина красная (1974), реж. В. Шукшин
- Двенадцать стульев (1971), реж. Л. Гайдай
- Брат (1997), реж. А. Балабанов

S. Aloe, Il ‘Tea-džaz’ di Leonid Utesov fra jazz e ‘klezmer’: la parabola incompiuta del ‘soviet dream’, in Nei territori della slavistica: Percorsi e intersezioni. Scritti per Danilo Cavaion, a cura di Cinzia De Lotto e Adalgisa Mingati, Padova-Verona [2006], pp.3-18
G.P. Piretto, Il radioso avvenire. Mitologie culturali sovietiche, Torino, Einaudi 2003
Storia della letteratura russa, diretta da E. Etkind, G. Nivat, I. Serman e V. Strada. Il Novecento, Vol.III, Torino, Einaudi, 1989.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
G. P. Piretto Il radioso avvenire. Mitologie culturali sovietiche Einaudi 2003
E. Etkind, G. Nivat, I. Serman e V. Strada (a cura di) Storia della letteratura russa, Il Novecento, Vol.III Einaudi, Torino 1990 Una scelta di capitoli sarà indicata a lezione

Assessment methods and criteria

Aims: the aim of the exam is to verify:
- The acquisition by the students of the basic space-temporal and conceptual coordinates learned in the course
- The appropriate knowledge concerning the topic and the instruments analysed during the course and/or planned in the programme
- The ability to value independently e with a full knowledge of the situation the peculiar historical, social and cultural phenomena of Russia, above all those ones concerning the period analysed in the course.

The exam will be about the contents included in the programme and about the literary, artistic and historic cultural materials analysed during the course.

Methods for conducting:
The exam is oral and is an interview during which the student must present with precision and showing the ability to judge independently about what has been learned during the course and the individual preparation. The programme is the same for both the attending and non-attending students: the last ones can find the necessary materials to study in the programme, in the lecture notes and on the e-learning internet page; they could ask the professor for additional material or explanations during the office hours if needed.

Arrangements for evaluating:
Single vote in thirties.