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CODE 65283
  • 12 cfu during the 1st year of 9265 LINGUE E LETTERATURE MODERNE PER I SERVIZI CULTURALI(LM-38) - GENOVA
  • 6 cfu during the 1st year of 9265 LINGUE E LETTERATURE MODERNE PER I SERVIZI CULTURALI(LM-38) - GENOVA
  • 12 cfu during the 1st year of 9265 LINGUE E LETTERATURE MODERNE PER I SERVIZI CULTURALI(LM-37) - GENOVA
  • 6 cfu during the 1st year of 9265 LINGUE E LETTERATURE MODERNE PER I SERVIZI CULTURALI(LM-37) - GENOVA
  • MODULES This unit is composed by:


    This 6-credit 36-hour course is aimed at the Master's students of the LM37/38 program and available to others as an elective. It corresponds to three different code numbers:

    • 65283 (1st year, 6 credits) -- this is also the number I tend to use for programs online, Aulaweb, etc.

    • 65284 (2nd year, 6 credits)

    • 65285 (1st and 2nd year, 12 credits). Students with 12 credits of Russian literature in their study plan will need to combine this exam (2021/2022) with next year's exam (if you're in your first year) or last year's exam (if you're in your 2nd year) for a single grade.



    LEARNING OUTCOMES (permanent text) -- These courses examine moments and problems of Russian literary and cultural tradition from its beginnings until today in the literary and cultural context of Europe. Coursework includes the reading and translation of selections from Russian writers of significance and from relevant critical texts.


    This course will provide students (1) familiarity with the basic tools of literary analysis; (2) a thorough knowledge of several works by Lev Tolstoy with their themes and problems; (3) an introduction to problems linked to the formation of a writer; (4) familiarity with the technique of ostranenie (defamiliarization).


    Some familiarity with the Russian language.


    The course content will be delivered via classroom lectures with the support of Aulaweb.


    We will examine in detail some of Lev Tolstoj's stories and short novels in the context of his life, his thought and his century: his technique of auto-analysis, his use of the Crimea and Caucasus (familiar to him from his personal experiences) as literary backdrops, his interest in the figure of the Other; the Tolstoyan approach to moral and existential problems, together with its contradictions.

    The second semester, for students taking 9 credits, will be dedicated to the novel Anna Karenina.


    The necessary texts will be available in the copy shop (NonSoloCopie halfway up via Balbi) and/or in various libraries, bookstores and online. NB. Insofar as these are classic texts, they are available in multiple editions, both in Russian and in translation and you are free to choose what you prefer. Obviously, students who can read Russian are encouraged to do so; others are encouraged to compare passages from their translations with the Russian source text.

    BIBLIOGRAPHY - for alterations in the program, see AULAWEB!!! 

    Tolstoj, selection from "The Diaries" (gli anni 1847-1851) – NonSoloCopie

    Viktor Šklovskij, “Art as Device” – NonSoloCopie, pp. 16-23 (in Italian).

    Tolstoj, Childhood” (1852) 

    Tolstoj, "The Raid” (1853) – NonSoloCopie, circa 30 pp.

    Tolstoj, “The Sevastopol Stories” (1855-56)

    Tolstoj, “The Cossacks” (1863)

    Tolstoj, “The Death of Ivan Ilič” (1886)

    Tolstoj, “Father Sergius” (1898)

    Tolstoj, "The Devil” (1889, 1909) 

    Further reading – on Tolstoj's era in generale:

    Nicholas V. Riasanovsky, History of Russia (relevant pages)

    Roger Bartlett, History of Russia (relevant pages)

    on Tolstoj in general (ask the instructor for similar recommendations in English):

    Ettore Lo Gatto, Profilo della letteratura russa dalle origini a Solženicyn (Mondadori, 1975), pp. 221-42, 258-76.

    Marija Pljuchanova ,“Tolstoj”, in AA.VV., Storia della civiltà letteraria russa (Utet, 1997), pp. 690-721.

    Dmitrij Mirskij, Storia della letteratura russa (Garzanti, 1995), pp. 217-32, 250-72.




    Tuesday, 17 October 2017.



    2021/2022 -- oral and written assignments and/or a written exam.


    2021/2022 -- This course has been conceived as a laboratory requiring students' active participation. Those who participate regularly will be able to skip the final oral exam (in lieu of a brief chat about their work). "Active participation" means (1) attending at least 67% of the classes (24 hours); (2) completing assigned homework and projects (whether individual or in groups) with care and in a timely fashion (before the end of February 2022). These projects will be explained in class and on Aulaweb and, in part, elaborated together. At the conclusion of these projects, the results will be discussed in a brief conversation with the instructor.

    Students who attend at least 67% of the classes but cannot or do not wish to complete the assignments may opt (a) to discuss their individual situation with the instructor in the hope of finding other "discounts" or extensions and/or (b) to take the oral exam.

    Students who attend LESS than 67% of the classes but who adequately complete the assignments will have a lighter oral exam.

    Students who attend LESS than 67% of the classes who choose not to complete the assignments (or complete them inadequately) will have an oral exam with additional reading. Alternatively, they can opt to take this course next year with a different syllabus.

    The final oral exam (as well as both oral and written assignments) may be conducted in Italian, Russian, or English at the discretion of the student. Students may sign up for the exams via the university website.

    The exam will test a basic knowledge of the historical context, a careful reading of the literary texts on the syllabus, and students' ability to offer a critical interpretation of these. The discussion of excerpts from the original Russian texts will be part of the exam. The quality of the students' self-expression in presenting their ideas and their correct use of relevant scholarly terms will figure into the grade. More details about the exam will be communicated in class and/or made available on Aulaweb.

    Exams will be held in Jun/Jul 2022, Sept 2022, and Jan/Feb 2023, after which exams may be held by appointment. This program "expires" in February 2023.

    2021/2022 FURTHER INFORMATION --

    Attendance is strongly recommended. Given the nature of this course, which is based on discussion in the classroom, student preparation for each class is essential.

    Students must follow the course on Aulaweb as well (for updates on the syllabus, the lectures, and the exam).


    Attendance is strongly recommended. Please come to class prepared so that we can actually discuss these texts. 

    In addition, please sign up for the course on Aulaweb in order to stay updated.

    There may be optional assignments from time to time that will reduce the size of the final exam or even replace it.