Class 13 and 14 Notes Russ 280
Class 13 and 14 Notes Russ 280 Russ 280
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Madeline Lacman on Sunday February 28, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Russ 280 at University of South Carolina taught by Prof. Kalb in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 50 views. For similar materials see Intro to Russian Civilization in Russian at University of South Carolina.
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Russ 280 Class 14: Turgenev The European Russian Lived much of his life abroad in France and Germany Dostoevsky caricatured him Seen at times as an outsider: believed in the ideals of Western, liberal humanism Struck his Western European contemporaries as the most Western of Russians Read hugely in English, French, German, and Spanish literature Translated Shakespeare, friend of Henry James and Gustave Flaubert Upbringing Grew up on brutal, cruel, wealthy mother’s estate Father was a penniless, handsome officer Typical university education, then to Europe Said Russia must learn from the West Novels, Notes of a Hunter, and “Bezhin Meadow” When Turgenev began writing novels, there was no tradition of Russian novel writing Pushkin had written his verse narratives Lermontov had written A Hero of Our Time Gogol had written short stories and then Dead Souls (1842: “epic poem in verse”) Turgenev instrumental in creating Russian novel 1 Russian writer famous in the west Turgenev’s first literary sensation (1852) Serfdom in Russia Serfdom and the landowning gentry: millions of native Russians enslaved to landowners – or to the state “Freeze” under Nicholas I (rules 1825-1855) following Decembrist rebellion police- bureaucratic dictatorship Reforms of Alexander II (rules 1855-1881) o Tutored by Zhukovsky Emancipation of the serfs – 1861 Turgenev’s book appears 1847-1851 Intellectual Trends in 19 thcentury Russia: Slavophiles v. Westernizers Slavophiles v. Westernizers 1840’s: Slavophiles v. Westernizers – important trend in Russian culture that is ongoing 1860s o Turgenev’s best nove (1862), Fathers and Children, develops this theme o Radicals 1860s Bazarov clashes with gentle liberals of 1840s o Bazarov denigrates artistic feeling, romantic love, healing beauty of nature, and sanctity of individual personality – all that Turgenev’s 1840s generation valued o Bazarov rejects all aesthetic, moral, and religious convictions – Nihilism o Bazarov eventually recognizes his isolation and emptiness o Turgenev agrees with father’s generation Sketches from a Hunter’s Album, 1847-1851, 1852 Narrative voice: intelligent, interested but uncommitted observer Lucid, clear-cut, pictorial aspect contributed by Turgenev, the writer and artist At the same time, a sociological aspect: he is a member of the nobility, of the landowning class, and thus both a stranger in the world of the peasants and a frankly curious observer anxious to describe this world to his readers Who are the peasants he describes? How would you characterize them? Pavel dies Russ 280 Class 13 Gogol: A Bridge from Romanticism to Realism Peter the Great’s 1722 Table of Ranks Puts the Nobility to work Prefer not to work Democratizes society by almost saying ‘anyone can be a noble if they work hard enough’ Nobility complains after Peter isn’t tsar anymore The table of ranks remains in place for almost 200 years Akaky Akakievich: Titular Councillor, Rank 9 Matters because the differences between ranks and such provide material for writers Russian Realism 19 century Russian lit (Post Romanticism, so 1840-1880s) known as Realist Present life as it is rather than romantically presenting emotions and feelings How to describe people, places? Focus on details, slice of life, setting, nature, believable dialogue that reflects social classes Focus on Russian reality, particularly people, social institutions, social needs Novels in particular as vehicles of social action, social change “An unpleasant and unpatriotic truth has here to be faced. No English novelist is as great as Tolstoy – that is to say has given so complete a picture of man’s life, both on its domestic and heroic side. No English novelist has explored man’s soul as deeply as Dostoevsky” –writer E.M. Forster “Realism is perhaps the first major literary development whose Russian version is not a more or less belated response to ideas generated in Western Europe…” –scholar Hugh McLean Nikolai Gogol, 1809-1852 From Ukraine to St. Petersburg Renderings of Ukrainian folktales win praise of Pushkin Writes epic novel, Dead Souls Long stay in Rome, then back to Russia Religious fervorburns second volume of Dead Souls Fastsdeath “The Overcoat” (1842) Akaky Akakievich Bashmachkin Name: kaka/caca Famous “little man” in literature: meek, up against unfeeling bureaucracy Reaction to idea of promotion? Change throughout story, from acceptance to desire for coat, brief triumph, and then… Petrovich the Tailor Diabolical figure luring Akaky to temptation? Called “one-eyed devil” Words for “devil” surround mentions of him in the text The “Person of Consequence” Represents all that is wrong with heartless bureaucracy Represents some people’s cruelty to others Represents hypocrisy Office Mates Teasing and bullying – vs. “I am your brother” Narrator Sometimes mocking, sometimes sympathetic Asides, extra information Do you trust this narrator? No St. Petersburg: City and Myth Remember Pushkin’s Evgeny in the “Bronze Horseman”? Compare to Akaky Akakievich What about the mood of the city? Which of Pushkin’s Petersburgs do we see here? Misty, untrustworthy city that can deceive and even kill, also a place of mystery and magic Legacy of Gogol’s “Overcoat” Dostoevsky: “We all emerged out of Gogol’s Overcoat” Scholar David Magarshack on Overcoat: With this story Gogol began a new chapter in Russian literature in which the underdog and social misfit is treated not as a nuisance, or a figure of fun, or an object of charity, but as a human being who has as much right to happiness as anyone else Gogol as a bridge from Romanticism (magic, escapism, fantasy) to Realism (through this depiction of “little man” up against cruel society)
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