(in Translation)

RUSS 021/LITR 021R

Fall 2003

Sibelan Forrester Office Hours:
Kohlberg 340 M 9:30-10:20
(610-328-) 8162 Th 10:30-11:30 F 11:30-12:30 …or by appointment


Fyodor Dostoevsky had an enormous influence on modern Western culture and civilization: reading his works is one way to understand the many writers and thinkers who learned from him. At the same time, he is one of the most “Russian” writers, and his writing reveals a distant era, society and set of concerns. The combination of familiarity and difference makes reading him particularly challenging and rewarding. Besides literature and literary studies, his writing connects with philosophy, psychology and religion.

This course will emphasize both our individual encounters with Dostoevsky and his presence in history, culture and scholarship -- spheres that come together in class discussion and your writing. You will write three papers, one 5 pages, one 8-10 pages, and one 10-12 pages; in each case, a rough draft is due about two weeks before the paper itself. I’ll hand out lists of possible topics and offer suggestions of critical or theoretical secondary sources. You will receive comments on the rough draft from me and will meet with your Writing Associate; grades on the papers reflect your progress during the process of revision. There is also a take-home final examination.

Grade break-down:  
Attendance and participation: 25%
Rough drafts and work with WA: 15%
First paper: 10%
Second paper: 15%
Comments on classmate’s draft of third paper: 5%
Third paper: 15%
Final examination: 15%

Our WAs for the class will be Ana Kolendo and Sam Bell. I’ll consult with them closely in determining the part of your class grade that will reflect your work with the WAs.

To buy in the Bookstore:
Great Short Works of Dostoevsky
The House of the Dead
Crime and Punishment
The Idiot
The Brothers Karamazov

If you already own any of these works or prefer to check them out from the library, feel free, but you will need to be flexible, since the translations vary a great deal, and of course the page numbers will be different. Dostoevsky has been out of copyright for a while, so there are several competing versions of some of the novels out there. There will be a small charge for photocopying the handouts we’ll use in class where noted below; I will let you know how much it is once I know.

Recommended sources for background reading: If you’ve already done the reading, don't scorn the Cliff's Notes; they often give very insightful comments as well as useful reminders of who is who (important in a long novel with lots of names). You may consult the books on reserve for Russian 104, the seminar on Dostoevsky, also being taught this semester -- especially the multivolume biography by Joseph Frank. Other critics or scholars will come up in class as appropriate.

For information on other authors mentioned in discussion or in your reading, see in the Reference section of McCabe:

If you enjoy browsing the library stacks, the Russian literature section’s call numbers begin with PG.


Week 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | End

(Where page numbers are given in square brackets, that indicates that they do not correspond to the edition for sale in the Bookstore and are given only to give you a sense of the relative lengths of the passages assigned.)

September 1
Introduction; "Poor Folk" (handout)

September 3
"White Nights," pp. 145-201 (the whole story)

September 5
"The Double," pp. 1-44 (Chapters 1-5)

September 8
"The Double," pp. 44-111 (Chapters 6-10)

September 10
"The Double," pp. 111-144 (Chapters 11-13)

September 12
The House of the Dead, pp. 7-18; 20-95 (Translator’s introduction; Introduction and Part I, Chapters 1-4)

September 15
The House of the Dead, pp. 95-258 (Part I, Chapters 5-11; Part II, Chapters 1-3)

September 17
The House of the Dead, pp. 258-362 (Part II, Chapters 4-10 and Notes)

September 19
Notes from (the) Underground, pp. 261-297 (Part II)
Rough draft of first paper due (2 copies: one for me, one for your WA)

September 22
Notes from (the) Underground, pp. 297-377 (Part II)

September 24
Crime and Punishment, Part I [pp. 1-74]

September 26
Crime and Punishment, Part II [pp. 75-165]

September 29
Crime and Punishment, Parts III and IV [pp. 166-303]

October 1
Crime and Punishment, Part V [pp. 304-369]

October 3
Crime and Punishment, Part VI and Epilogue [pp. 370-465]
First paper due

October 6
The Idiot, pp. 7-117 (Translator’s Introduction and Part I, Ch. 1-7)

October 8
The Idiot, pp. 117-208 (Part I, Chapters 8-16)

October 10
The Idiot, pp. 209-293 (Part II, Chapters 1-7)


October 20
The Idiot, pp. 293-498 (Part II, Chapters 8-12; Part III)

October 22
The Idiot, pp. 499-579 (Part IV, Chapters 1-6)

October 24
The Idiot, pp. 580-661 (Part IV, Chapters 7-12)
Rough draft of second paper due (2 copies)

October 27
The other novels (handouts)

October 29
The other novels (handouts)

Oct. 31 Diary of a Writer — handouts

November 3
"A Gentle Creature," pp. 667-714

November 5
(The) Brothers Karamazov, Introduction; “From the Author;” Part I, Books 1-2 [pp. xi-xx, 1-91]
Second paper due

November 7
(The) Brothers Karamazov, Part I, Book 3; Part II, Book 4, Chapters 1-4 [pp. 92-185]

November 10
(The) Brothers Karamazov, Part II, Book 4, Chapters 5-7; Books 5 and 6 [pp. 186-324]

November 12
(The) Brothers Karamazov, Part III, Books 7 and 8 [pp. 327-444]

November 14
(The) Brothers Karamazov, Part III, Book 9 [pp. 445-512]

November 17
(The) Brothers Karamazov, Part IV, Book 10 [pp. 515-562]
Rough draft of third paper due: 3 copies, one for me, one to your WA, one for someone else in class.

November 19
(The) Brothers Karamazov, Part IV, Book 11 [pp. 563-655]

November 21
Pause in reading to WA each other’s rough drafts (note: do NOT toss the copy with your classmate’s comments once you’ve read them. They'll receive part of their grade on those comments -- save it to hand in with your final draft)

November 24
(The) Brothers Karamazov, Part IV, Book 12 [pp. 656-753]

November 26
(The) Brothers Karamazov, Epilogue and Notes [pp. 757-796]


December 1
(The)Brothers Karamazov, catch-up (if needed) and discussion

December 3
Diary of a Writer (reprise) -- handouts

December 5
"The Dream of a Ridiculous Man," pp. 715-738
Final paper (10-12 pages, 2 copies) due -- one to me, one for your WA -- plus the copy of the rough draft with your classmate’s comments

December 8
Last class -- discussion; hand out final exam

The final examination will be a take-home 3-hour exercise, handed out the last day of class and due to me ON PAPER (i.e., not in electronic format) by Friday, December 19.

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