Russian Literature 2 (2020/2021)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Stefano Aloe
Stefano Aloe
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Other available courses
Academic sector
Language of instruction
I semestre (Lingue e letterature straniere) dal Sep 28, 2020 al Jan 9, 2021.

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

The course aims at improving the fundamental knowledge of Russian cultural history acquired by students during the first year. At the end of the course students will 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.


«Theatre as a Mirror of Russian Reality»

Theatre came to Russia late – just after the half of the 17th century. However it was welcomed with a big enthusiasm which never failed up to nowaday. We can consider it as a mirror, faithful notwithstanding it can be distorting, of Russian reality; theatre is impressively representative of the culture and history of this country. The first remarkable pieces date back to the 2nd half of the 18th century, as far as the main works of Russian dramaturgy are based on 19th and the beginning of 20th centuries. Right bridging the two centuries Russia will gain a pivotal role in the history of world theatre, non only thanks to its authors (Čechov, Gor'kij, Blok, Majakovskij, Bulgakov...), but also because of the birth in Moscow of the director’s theatre and of the scenic experiments which are at the base of most of contemporary scene’s experiences. The course will focus on the key moments of Russian theatrical history, by one hand with an analysis of a choice of the best dramatic texts, and putting them into their cultural and social context by the other hand. Namely at the centre of the attention will be the following aspects:
- the Aristocratic theatrical culture of the 1st half of 19th century
- Gogol’s role in the birth of grotesque at theatre
- Cechovian theatre and the birth of Stanislavskij’s and Nemirovič-Dančenko’s MChT
- Directors’ experiments of the 1st half of 20th century between hyperrealism and biomechanics
- Revolutionary “agit-prop” and theatre
- Soviet theatrical academism

Mandatory reading (in original or translation):
- An anthology of texts will be avalable at the beginning of the cours.
- A. Puškin, Mozart and Salieri / А.С. Пушкин, «Моцарт и Сальери»
- N. Gogol’, The Inspector General / Н.В. Гоголь, «Ревизор»
- A. Čechov, The Seagal / А.П. Чехов, «Чайка»
- A. Čechov, Oncle Vania / А.П. Чехов, «Дядя Ваня»
Optional reading: every student has to read and study at least one of the following works:
- D. Fonvizin, The Adolescent / Д.И. Фонвизин, «Недоросль»
- A. Griboedov, Woe from Wit (L’ingegno che guaio) / А.С. Грибоедов, «Горе от ума»
- A. Puškin, Little tragedies / А.С. Пушкин, «Маленькие трагедии»
- A. Ostrovskij, The Storm (or: Wolves and Sheep) / А.Н. Островский, «Гроза» (или «Волки и овцы»)
- A. Čechov, Three Sisters А.П. Чехов, «Три сестры»
- M. Bulgakov, The days of the Turbins (М.А. Булгаков, «Дни Турбиных»)
- V. Majakovskij, The Bedbug (or: The Bathhouse) В.В. Маяковский, «Клоп» (или «Баня»)

- AA.VV., Storia della letteratura russa. Il Novecento, diretta da E. Etkind, G. Nivat, I. Serman e V. Strada, Torino, Einaudi 1989.
- A.M. Ripellino, Il trucco e l’anima, Torino, Einaudi, 1974 e ristampe
- E. Lo Gatto, Storia del teatro russo, Firenze, Sansoni, 1963
- Ju.M. Lotman, La scena e la pittura come dispositivi codificatori del comportamento culturale…, in Ju.M. Lotman, B.A. Uspenskij, Tipologia della cultura, Milano, Bompiani, 1975 (e successive ed.)
- Ju.M. Lotman, Il teatro e la teatralità nel sistema della cultura all’inizio del XIX secolo, in Id., Da Rousseau a Tolstoj, Bologna, IL Mulino, 1984
- Ю. М. Лотман, Беседы о русской культуре. Быт и традиции русского дворянства (XVIII – начало XIX в.). Спб., Искусство-СПб., 1994 (e successive ed.)

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.