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Unit information: Introduction to Russian Literature in 2020/21

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Unit name Introduction to Russian Literature
Unit code RUSS10037
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Sutton-Mattocks
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Russian
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This unit aims to introduce some major figures and themes in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Russian literature through the study of classic verse and short stories by about eight leading writers. Classes will focus on close analysis of paradigmatic texts as a means of illustrating the more general themes, preoccupations and techniques of the author concerned, while discussion will also place these themes, preoccupations and techniques in the broader context of the development of modern Russian short fiction and poetry and in their socio-historical context.

Formative: Additionally, students will be required to submit a plan, thesis
statement and annotated bibliography in advance of writing the essay. This
will be assessed formatively of which students are required to pass.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of this unit, students will be able to:

1. demonstrate a sound understanding of the historical development of modern Russian short fiction
and poetry within the context of literary, cultural, and social history;
2. identify and interpret the themes and approaches of a number of Russian writers;
3. select and apply key analytical approaches to verse and prose text;
4. advance and illustrate their reading skills in Russian, appropriate to level C/4;
5. formulate an independent research topic on Russian literature, making
appropriate use of library and digital resources.

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 1,500 word commentary exercise (50%), testing ILOs 2-4

1 x 1,500 word essay (50%), testing ILOs 1-5

Reading and References

  1. Neil Cornwell (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Russian Literature, New York: Routledge, 2001.
  2. Caryl Emerson (ed.), The Cambridge Introduction to Russian Literature, Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2008.
  3. Charles A. Moser, The Russian Short Story: A Critical History, Boston: Twayne, 1986.
  4. Lyudmila Parts (ed.), The Russian Twentieth-Century Short Story: A Critical Companion, Brighton, MA: Academic Studies Press, 2010.
  5. Michael L. O'Toole, Structure, Style and Interpretation in the Russian Short Story, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1982.
  6. Michael Wachtel (ed.), The Cambridge Introduction to Russian Poetry, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004