Russian Literature 1 LM. Forms, genres, and critical approaches (2018/2019)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Sara Paolini
Sara Paolini
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

During the course the analyses of specific topics and critical approaches related to Russian literature will be carried out. At the end of the course students will be able to: 1) gain the necessary critical knowledge to understand the literary issues focused on during the course and in particular referring to narrative and poetical forms and genres; 2) carry out a deep and coherent textual and comparative analysis using the acquired knowledge; 3) express autonomous and complex opinions about specific moments in Russian literary history and its methodological issues.


The course will deal with the analysis of a non-codified, hybrid literary form that can be found at the intersection of several genres traditions. It will explore its complex critical paths and address the genre issue. Students will learn to characterise the form of the examined text, to link it to literary traditions, making their own the concept of intertextuality.

Forms, genres and traditions in Dostoevsky’s “Writer’s Diary”
For many reasons Dostoevsky's "Writer’s Diary" is a unique work on the Russian literary scene. It is a non-continuous text, published monthly in the last years of the writer's life, including pages of a purely argumentative-journalistic character, but also short stories, memoirs and letters. The “Writer’s Diary” was rediscovered by the critics in relatively recent times and from the Seventies of the last century many scholars have dealt with the genre issue, attempting to find out an interpretative formula able to express its absolute uniqueness. The course will deepen the knowledge of this work and its relationship with other Dostoevsky’s works. Extracts from the “Writer’s Diary” and criticism in Russian will be read in class and an attempt will be made to trace a genre line demonstrating its originality.

Students will be provided on the e-learning platform with extracts in Russian from the “Writer’s Diary” to be read and examined in class.

During the course the students will be asked to give a presentation of an in-depth analysis of some aspects of the work or of the criticism upon agreement with the teacher.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
AA.VV. Dostoevskij i žurnalizm Dmitrij Bulanin 2013
K. Močul’skij Dostoevskij. Žizn’ i tvorčestvo Respublika 1995
M. Bachtin Problemy poetiki Dostoevskogo  

Assessment methods and criteria

Assessment through oral examination.

The evaluation will consider the following aspects:
- the possession of the fundamentals of history, culture and literature of the period concerned and the ability of understanding the phenomena
- the ability to carry out a critical analysis of the works in the programme
- the quality of personal rework and proper use of the language.

During the interview the students will be also asked to read, translate and comment the texts in Russian language analysed in class.

Attending students' final assessment will take the presentation into account. Non-attending students will have to prepare a short essay developing a topic given by the teacher.