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Unit information: Hedgehogs and Foxes (TB2) in 2020/21

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Unit name Hedgehogs and Foxes (TB2)
Unit code RUSS20053
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Coates
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Russian
Faculty Faculty of Arts


In this unit, students will study five of the best-known classic Russian novels, by writers including Dostoevsky, Tolstoy and Turgenev. They will explore the social, intellectual and artistic contexts that inform the works, while focusing particularly on analysis of the key themes and artistic approaches in each novel. Students will also trace through the works the development in Russian literature of certain key ideas, including the superfluous man, the portrayal of women, ideas of love, freedom, heroism, truth, justice and redemption, the purpose of literature, and the idea of Russia past, present and future.

Intended learning outcomes

Successful students will be able to demonstrate:

1. a thorough understanding of the key themes and preoccupations of major works by some of Russia and the world’s most distinctive and influential novelists;

2. skills of analysis in respect of the novels studies in the contemporaneous social, intellectual and artistic contexts of Russia and Europe;

3. an ability to locate and understand the place of the novels studies in the subsequent development of Russian and world literature;

4. knowledge and understanding of how to define novel form and its development in Russia;

5. skills of academic written presentation appropriate to level I;

6. teamwork skills to produce a collaborative presentation or other group project on nineteenth-century Russian literature of a standard appropriate to level I.

Teaching details

Teaching will be delivered through a combination of synchronous sessions and asynchronous activities, including seminars, lectures, and collaborative as well as self-directed learning opportunities supported by tutor consultation.

Assessment Details

1 x 2000-word essay (60%), testing ILOs 1-5

1 x group presentation with 500-word individual report (40%), testing ILOs 1-6

Reading and References

Lermontov – A Hero of Our Time Gogol – Dead Souls Dostoevsky – Crime and Punishment Tolstoy – Anna Karenina Richard Freeborn, The Rise of the Russian Novel, London, 1973. Malcolm V. Jones et al. (eds), The Cambridge Companion to the Classic Russian Novel, Cambridge, 1998.