(in English translation)

Russian V3222, 3.0 pts, Spring 2005

Prof. David A. Goldfarb

TR 4:10-5:25, 302 Milbank

18 January—Introduction

20 January—Dostoevsky: Biography and background.

25, 27 January—Dostoevsky, Poor Folk (1844)

8 February—Tolstoy: Biography and background.

10, 15, 17 February—War and Peace (1863-69)

1, 3, 8 March—War and Peace (cont’d). Bakhtin, “Epic and Novel”

10 March—Selections from Chernyshevsky, What is to be Done? (1863)

12-20 March—SPRING BREAK. At least one paper or a proposal for a longer paper is due in the first class after break.

22, 24 March—Dostoevsky, The Notes From Underground (1864)

29, 31 March—Tolstoy, “The Kreutzer Sonata” (1889)

5, 7, 12, 14, 19 April—Dostoevsky, The Idiot (1868-69)

21, 26 April—Tolstoy, “Hadji Murad” (1896-1904)

28 April—Conclusions, overspill, and discussion of final papers.


Readings above are listed as they will be discussed in class and should be read in advance of the day they we will cover them.

Grades will be weighted as follows:

      Papers        90%
      Participation 10%


All assignments are optional for auditors.


The amount of reading for this course is substantial. It is assumed that any student who registers for this course knows that Tolstoy and Dostoevsky wrote “loose baggy monsters,” as Henry James called them, and welcomes the opportunity to study these works in a careful way. Please budget your time accordingly. You have 14 weeks and about 3000 pages. Read 30-35 pages every day (this will entail some reading ahead), and you’ll have no problem!


At least 20 pages of formal writing are required for this course, which you may divide into three, two or with permission one paper. As there is no exam, your papers must demonstrate a substantial understanding and knowledge of each of the works covered. Specifically, you must write about War and Peace, The Idiot, The Notes from Underground, and at least two of the shorter works by Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. You may divide the territory any way you wish, e.g.: Tostoy/Dostoevsky, spiritual themes/narrative techniques, psychology/aesthetics, long works/short works, early works/late works, War and Peace/The Idiot/everything else, etc., so long as you discuss all texts as required. Most students in the class should choose to write two or three papers.

Juniors or Seniors majoring in a humanities field may write a formal proposal of 1-2 pages to request permission to write a single, longer term paper. If you are not a Junior or Senior, you must write two or three papers. If you are a Junior or Senior, but not in a humanities field but would like to write one paper, you should discuss it with me before writing a proposal. If you would like to write a longer paper with a focus on the theoretical issues in the course, and you have demonstrated through your participation that you have a solid understanding of all the fictional works in the course, then I may make exceptions to the rule that you write about all three books and two shorter works.

All papers must be written in English, typed and double spaced. Please use parenthetical citations with a list of works cited as described in the MLA Handbook 6/e. You will be evaluated on the logic and clarity of your argument and the solidity of your evidence for that argument. Specifics will be discussed in class.

Due dates are somewhat flexible, depending on your paper topics. If you wish to write a single term paper, you must turn in a proposal by the end of Spring Break. If you plan to write two papers, the first is due in the first class after Spring Break. If you plan to write three papers, I would strongly recommend handing in one of them before Spring Break, but you must turn in at least one by the first class after Spring Break. If you are concerned that you might not be prepared for this course, and you would like a graded assignment back before the drop date, you are welcome to turn the first paper in early.

Computer problems are no excuse for late assignments. Extensions will be granted for delays due to computer failure, only if you can produce a backup or printout containing at least 80% of the assignment.


This portion of your grade includes your productive oral participation in class, attendance, any ungraded in-class assignments, the extent to which your written assignments reflect that you are listening actively in class, and the improvement in your work over the course of the semester. Students enroll in the class with varying degrees of preparation. Even if you enter the class with a strong background in the subject, you must demonstrate that you are learning something from this class in order to do well in it. If you are studying the subject for the first time, do not fear that you will forever be lagging behind the more advanced students. Hard work will be rewarded!

You are strongly encouraged to discuss your papers, as well as all of the assignments, with me at my office hour. There will be no opportunities for extra credit, but if you would like to improve your performance on the written assignments, I will always accept drafts in advance, to be returned ungraded with comments and suggestions. You are not required to submit formal proposals unless you are applying to write one term paper for the course, but it would be a good idea to do so in any case. Most students who turn in drafts and take the suggestions seriously learn a good deal about their writing and improve their assignments by one-half to a full grade. If you would like feedback on your final papers before handing in the final draft, I will accept drafts for comment up to one week before each paper is due.

Required Texts

Dostoevsky, Fyodor. The Idiot. Trans. Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. New York: Vintage, 2003.

__________. The Notes from Underground. Trans. Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. New York: Knopf, 1994.

__________. “Poor Folk” and Other Stories. Trans. David McDuff. New York: Penguin, 1988.s

Tolstoy, Leo. The Kreutzer Sonata and Other Stories. Trans. Louise and Aylmer Maude, J. D. Duff. Ed. Richard Gustafson. New York: Oxford U. Pr., 1999

__________. War and Peace. Trans. Louise and Aylmer Maude. Ed. George Gibian. Norton Critical Edition. New York: Norton, 1996.

Secondary Sources

Bakhtin, M. M. The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays. Ed. Michael Holquist. Trans. Michael Holquist and Caryl Emerson. University of Texas Press Slavic Series 1. Austin: U of Texas P, 1981.

__________. Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics. Ed. and trans. Caryl Emerson. Introd. by Wayne C. Booth. Theory and History of Literature. Minneapolis: U. of Minnesota Pr., 1984.

Bayley, John. Tolstoy and the Novel. Chicago: U. of Chicago Pr., 1988.

Berlin, Isaiah. The Hedgehog and the Fox: An Essay on Tolstoy’s View of History. Clarion. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1970.

Berman, Marshall. All That is Solid Melts Into Air, The Experience of Modernity. New York: Penguin, 1988.

Christian, R. F., ed. Tolstoy’s Letters. 2 vols. New York: Scribner’s, 1978.

__________. Tolstoy’s Diaries. New York: Scribner, 1985. 2 vols.

Dostoevsky, Fyodor. Sobranie sochinenij (Collected Works). Ed. L. P. Grossman. Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe Izdatel’stvo Khudozhestvennoj Literatury, 1956. 10 vols.

__________. Notes from Underground: A New Translation, Backgrounds and Sources, Responses, Criticism. Norton Critical Edition. New York: Norton, 1989.

Fanger, Donald. Dostoevsky and Romantic Realism: A Study of Dostoevsky in Relation to Balzac, Dickens, and Gogol. Chicago: U. of Chigago Pr. <Phoenix>, 1967.

Frank, Joseph. Dostoevsky: The Seeds of Revolt, 1821-1849. Princeton: Princeton U. Pr., 1976.

__________. Dostoevsky: The Years of Ordeal, 1850-1859. Princeton: Princeton U. Pr., 1983.

__________. Dostoevsky: The Stir of Liberation, 1860-1865. Princeton: Princeton U. Pr., 1986.

__________. Dostoevsky: The Miraculous Years, 1865-1871. Princeton: Princeton U. Pr., 1995.

__________. Dostoevsky : The mantle of the prophet, 1871-1881. Princeton: Princeton U. Pr., 2002.

Freeborn, Richard. The Rise of the Russian Novel, Studies in the Russian Novel from Eugene Onegin to War and Peace. Cambridge: Cambridge U. Pr., 1973.

Gifford, Henry. The Hero of His Time, A Theme in Russian Literature. London: Arnold, 1950.

Goldfarb, David A. Introduction to Leo Tolstoy. “The Death of Ivan Ilych” and Other Stories. New York: Barnes and Noble Classics, 2004.

Gustafson, Richard F. Leo Tolstoy Resident and Stranger: A Study in Fiction and Theology. Princeton: Princeton U. Pr., 1986.

Gutkin, Irina. “The Dichotomy Between Flesh and Spirit: Plato’s Symposium in Anna Karenina.” In the Shade of the Giant: Essays on Tolstoy. Ed. Hugh McLean. Berkeley: U. of California Pr., 1989. 84-99.

Holquist, Michael. Dostoevsky and the Novel. Evanston, Il.: Northwestern U. Pr., 1986.

Jackson, Robert Louis. The Art of Dostoevsky: Deliriums and Nocturnes. Princeton: Princeton U. Pr., 1981.

__________. Dialogues with Dostoevsky: The Overwhelming Questions. Stanford: Stanford U. Pr., 1993.

__________. Dostoevsky’s Underground Man in Russian Literature. Slavistic Printings and Reprintings. The Hague: Mouton, 1958.

Layton, Susan. Russian Literature and Empire: Conquest of the Caucasus from Pushkin to Tolstoy. Cambridge U. Pr.: Cambridge, 1994.

Mandelker, Amy. Framing Anna Karenina: Tolstoy, the Woman Question, and the Victorian Novel. Columbus: Ohio State U. Pr., 1993.

Mathewson, Rufus W. The Positive Hero in Russian Literature. 2nd ed. Stanford: Stanford U. Pr., 1975.

Mirsky, D. S. A History of Russian Literature. New York: Vintage, 1958.

Mochulskii, Konstantin. Dostoevsky: His Life and Work. Trans with an introd by Michael A. Minihan. Princeton: Princeton U. Pr., 1967.

Morson, Gary Saul. Hidden in Plain View: Narrative and Creative Potentials in “War and Peace”. Stanford: Stanford U. Pr., 1987.

Moser, Charles A. Esthetics as Nightmare: Russian Literary Theory, 1855-1870. Princeton: Princeton U. Pr., 1989.

Motyleva, T. L., Ed. Khudozhestvennye proizvedeniia L. N. Tolstogo v perevodakh na inostrannye iazyki (Literary Works of L. N. Tolstoy in Foreign Translations). Moscow: Izd-vo Vses. knizhnoi palaty, 1961. [An excellent resource for locating works of Tolstoy in English or other translations. The index and entries are accessible in English.]

Nabokov, Vladimir. Lectures on Russian Literature. Ed. Fredson Bowers. New York: Harvest/HBJ, 1982.

Orwin, Donna Tussing. Tolstoy’s Art and Thought, 1847-1880. Princeton: Princeton U. Pr., 1993.

Paperno, Irina. Chernyshevsky and the Age of Realism: A Study in the Semiotics of Behavior. Stanford: Stanford U. Pr., 1988.

Riasanovsky, Nicholas Valentine. A History of Russia. New York: Oxford U. Pr., 1963.

Shestov, Lev. Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, and Nietzsche. Introd. by Bernard Martin. Athens, Oh.: Ohio U. Pr., 1969.

Shklovsky, Victor. Lev Tolstoy. Trans. Olga Shartse. Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1978.

Šilbajoris, Rimvydas. Tolstoy’s Aesthetics and His Art. Columbus: Slavica, 1991.

Simmons, Ernest J. Leo Tolstoy. New York: Vintage, 1960

Steiner, George. Tolstoy or Dostoevsky: An Essay in the Old Criticism. 1959. New York: Dutton, 1971.

Terras, Victor. Belinskij and Russian Literary Criticism: The Heritage of Organic Aesthetics. Madison: U. of Wisconson Pr., 1974.

__________, ed. Handbook of Russian Literature. New Haven: Yale U. Pr., 1985.

Tolstoy, Leo. Anna Karenina. Ed. George Gibian. Trans. Louise and Aylmer Maude . Norton Critical Edition. New York: Norton, 1970.

__________. The Kingdom of God is Within You: Of Christianity not as a Mystical Teaching but as a New Concept of Life. Trans. Leo Wiener. Introd. by Kenneth Rexroth. New York: Noonday, 1961.

__________. Sobranie sochinenij: v dvadsati tomakh (Collected Works). Ed. et al N. N. Akopovoi. Moscow: Khudozh. Lit., 1960-65. 20 vols.

__________. What is Art? Trans. Aylmer Maude. Introd. by Vincent Tomas . Library of Liberal Arts. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1960.

__________. Writings on Civil Disobedience and Non-violence. New York: Signet-New American Library, 1967.

Wasiolek, Edward. Tolstoy’s Major Fiction. Chicago: U. of Chicago Pr., 1978.

Wilson, A. N. Tolstoy. New York: W. W. Norton, 1988.

All required texts have been ordered by Labyrinth Books. If you can read the texts in Russian, you are welcome and encouraged to do so, but you may still wish to acquire the assigned texts, since many of them contain critical material and notes that will be useful. Even if you have read some of the works already in other versions, it is wise to acquire the assigned texts so that you can follow along in class. Abridgements are unacceptable. Some of these books may be offered in other classes. Make sure you use the editions listed for this class.

If you are concerned about the cost of the books, you are advised to buy them early, in order to obtain used copies. Other good sources for used books for this course are Barnes & Noble on 18th & 5th, The Strand on 13th & Broadway, The Columbia Bookstore on 115th and Broadway, The Last Word on 118th and Amsterdam, and online sources such as Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and Most of the books are also commonly available in libraries in the recommended editions.


25 September 2005