Marina Rojavin, Ph.D.
Spring 2006 (Russian 115)
THE MANY FACES OF THE RUSSIAN LITERARY ANECDOTE
This new course will explore the nature and evolution of the Russian
anecdote that originated in ancient times in Old Rus. From Ivan the Terrible
through Peter the Great, the anecdote persisted in spite of governmental
censorship. The heyday of the Russian literary anecdote came in the first half
of the nineteenth century. At that time, aristocrats told
each other funny or curious stories and even rumors, describing various events,
particularly about prominent figures in Russian culture and history. Whether it
was about Katherine the Great and her favorites, or about her son romantic tsar
Pavel I and his … nose, or about the greatest Russian poet Aleksandr Pushkin,
who also kept a diary where he re-told stories heard at literary salons, balls,
and friends’ parties, all of these people were personages of anecdotes.
We will read the anecdotes and stories from
chronicles and diaries of contemporaries of the Russian tsars, short stories of
N. Gogol, F. Dostoevsky, L. Tolstoy that were based on real facts and were
transformed into anecdotes. We will come full circle to the chronicles of the
Soviet and post-Soviet times by S. Dovlatov and M. Veller about the realities
of serving in the Red Army and the curious life on Nevsky Prospekt, the main
street of St.-Petersburg.
will watch the films “Ivan
Vasil’evich changes his occupation” and “How Czar Peter the Great married off his moor” based on Pushkin’s novel
that in its turn is based on real facts. We will learn how the same subject
goes from one story to another, losing certain details and acquiring the new ones.
Prof. Marina Rojavin