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CODE 61285
  • 9 cfu during the 2nd year of 8740 LINGUE E CULTURE MODERNE (L-11) - GENOVA
  • 6 cfu during the nd year of 8740 LINGUE E CULTURE MODERNE (L-11) - GENOVA
  • 9 cfu during the nd year of 8740 LINGUE E CULTURE MODERNE (L-11) - GENOVA
  • 9 cfu during the 1st year of 9918 LETTERATURE MODERNE E SPETTACOLO (LM-14) - GENOVA
    LANGUAGE Italian
  • SEMESTER Annual


    This 54-hour (nine-credit) course is designed for students enrolled in the LCM program at the Department of Foreign Languages and Cultures or in a program of study at DIRAAS. The course will be taught in person for 2 hours per week during the first semester and 3 hours per week during the second semester.

    N.B. This is NOT the required course for TTMI students (104355).



    Our first-year course introduces students to Russian literature and culture from its medieval origins to the mid 1800s; in the second year, students focus more specifically on problems of literary style and evolution by examining texts from the 19th and 20th centuries that are linked by a particular theme; students who take the third-year course will go still more deeply into the literature and culture of a more specific historical period (such as the first half of the 20th century or The Thaw).


    This course aims to provide students (1) familiarity with some of important 19th-century Russian writers; (2) thorough knowledge of some of their important works; (3) the basic tools of literary analysis; (4) general knowledge of the main cultural figures and events from the period in question.




    This course will be conducted in person. In the case of problems such as pandemics or metereological alerts, we will meet online via Teams. Moreover, if available, we will take advantage of opportunities for streaming and/or recording. The code for the Team will be available on Aulaweb together with details, updates, materials, and announcements. In order to keep pace with the course, it is necessary to sign up on Aulaweb.

    Students with certification of learning or other disabilities should inform the instructor (who is also the Departmental contact for the Inclusion of Students with Learning and Other Disabilities) in order to discuss possible accommodations.


    Course Title: Space and the Self in Russian Literature

    In this course we will read and analyze various texts from the 19th century, when Russian literature became internationally known and from the first quarter of the 20th century in the period of the Revolution of 1917. We will examine problems relating to the struggles of various literary characters who clash against the limits imposed upon them by the society of their time and its social practices. Of particular interest are themes such as: arranged marriage; the relative weight of social estates and official ranks, together with the advantages of wealth, social connection and education; problems of gender; the link between space (from the ballroom to the battlefield) and identity (Russian, Jewish, Ucrainian); materiality and spirituality; obsession and crime; power and violence. We begin with the social problematics of the “svetskaja povest’” (society tale) and women’s writing, read the brief texts of Neelova, Rostopčina, Turgenev, Leskov, Chvoščinskaja, Dostoevskij, Čechov, Tolstoj, Babel’ and Zamjatin, and conclude with a long novel by Bulgakov. Tolstoj.


    N.B. This reading is not “recommended”, but mandatory!

    The texts required for this course, as will be detailed on Aulaweb, are available in e-format (pdfs on Aulaweb) or in hard copies that can be found in the copy shop (NonSoloCopie on via Balbi), in libraries, in the Bozzi bookstore (via S. Siro, 28/r, off via Cairoli, 010.246.1718) or other bookstores, or elsewhere.

    Obviously, students able to read the texts in Russian are encouraged to do so, while those who manage to look only at a few passages in the original and compare them with the translated versions will find details useful both for their studies of literature and of the Russian language. Precise instructions regarding the specific editions of the original text to be used for this course will be furnished on Aulaweb.

    For alterations and details during the semester (such as exam dates), see Aulaweb.

    Riasanovsky, The History of Russia (selected pages)

    Neelova, Leinard and Termilija (Лейнард и Термилия, 1784)

    Rostopčina, Rank and Money (Чины и деньги, 1838)

    Tolstoj, Sevastopol Stories (Севастопольские рассказы, 1855-56)

    Turgenev, “First Love” (Первая любовь, 1860)

    Petrov, "My Love" (Моя любовь, 2006) – short film (optional)

    Leskov, “Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District” (Леди Макбет Мценского уезда, 1864)

    Čechov, "The Cherry Orchard” (Вишнёвый сад, 1904)

    Dostoevskij, “The Meek One” (Кроткая, 1876)

    Chvoščinskaja, “Madame Ridnevа” (Риднева, 1875)

    Čechov, “The Betrothed” (Невеста, 1903)

    Babel’, “The Story of My Dovecote” (История моей голубятни, 1920)

    Bulgakov, The White Guard (Белая гвардия, 1923)

    ADDITIONAL READING: For those interested in specific periods and authors, we recommend the following literary histories: Storia della civiltà letteraria russa, vol. 2 (UTET, 1997); Ettore Lo Gatto, “Profilo della letteratura russa dalle origini a Solzenicyn” (Mondadori, 1975); and others. Please ask the instructor for specific recommendations in English.

    N.B. While the quality of the information found in these volumes greatly surpasses that found easily online, these texts are not required. Since this course aims to develop students’ capacities to interact directly with the texts in question, uncovering information about them found in other sources is less important than your own individual involvement in the process of reading and reflection.





    The week of 3 October 2022.



    Oral exam at the end of the course. Students will have the option of taking a partial exam for 3 credits at the end of the first semester. Normally, one signs up for the exam on the unige site, but for the partial exam in January/February, we will work out another system.

    After that, there will be exams in Jun/Jul 2023, Sept 2023, and Jan/Feb 2024. No additional exams are planned, so please pay attention to the exam calendar and PLAN accordingly for your specific deadlines regarding travel (including Erasmus) or scholarships. Normally

    This program “expires” in February 2023. Students who have not passed the entire exam by that time will be examined on the course program for 2023-24.


    The exam may be taken in Russian, Italian, or English, at the student’s discretion. The exam will test whether or not students have actually (and recently) read the literary texts on the syllabus and will evaluate students’ ability to offer a critical interpretation of these. The quality of the students’ self-expression in presenting their ideas and their correct use of relevant scholarly terms will figure into the grade.

    This program "expires" in February 2023. Students who have not passed the entire exam by that time will be examined on the course program for 2022-23.


    Attendance is strongly recommended since the course is based on the individual analysis of the texts, on the assignments, and on the discussions held in class. As a result, those who do not attend regularly or who do not complete the assignments may have difficulty passing the exam. Having read the texts on the syllabus once upon a time is not sufficient for this exam.

    AULAWEB: As noted above, students must follow the course on Aulaweb to receive automatic updates via email and information regarding the syllabus, the lectures, and the structure of the final exam. Please note that the course on Aulaweb is open for consulation without registration, but if your name is not visible among the “Participants”, you are not registered and will not receive course announcments.