Course:RUSS 207

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Twentieth-Century Russian Writers in Translation
Instructor: Professor Peter Petro

Office: Buchanan Tower 212
Office Hours: TBA
Class Schedule: Mon Wed Fri 11:00 - 12:00
Classroom: Buchanan D218
Important Course Pages
Lecture Notes
Course Discussion
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The course deals with major 20th century Russian writers, their works, lives, thought and impact in the West. While broader literary context is provided, particular attention is paid to Zamyatin, Bulgakov, Pasternak, Solzhenitsyn, Nabokov and Tolstaya.

The course begins with a brief introduction to the historical, social, political and cultural background, as no prior knowledge of Soviet history or Russian literature is assumed. The introduction takes the form of an overview of the most important historical, social and cultural events between the rule of Lenin (1917-1922) and Gorbachev (1985-1991). The rest of the course is devoted to the presentation and discussion of selected works of the major writers. Lectures are supplemented with student class presentations and discussion. Students will write a short “diagnostic essay” at the beginning of the course, and the most interesting of the essays will be read in class, so as to establish the basic requirements of essay composition. Class participation is a major feature of the pedagogy of the course designed to make the work of the Russian writers relevant to students.


Diagnostic essay ( 3 pages, not marked ), class presentations (voluntary), 2 term papers (6-8 pages), class participation.

Paper format: double spaced.


  • Class participation: 20%
  • 1st term paper 40%
  • 2nd term paper 40%

Required Books

Title Author ISBN
Doctor Zhivago (Trans Pevear) PASTERNAK 9780307390950
Master & Margarita (Trans Pevear) BULGAKOV 9780140455465
One Day in The Life of Ivan Denisovich SOLZHENITSYN 9780553247770
Portable Twentieth Century Russian Reader BROWN 9780142437575
We (Trans Randall) ZAMYATIN 9780812974621