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Russ 280 Class 15 and 16 Notes

by: Madeline Lacman

Russ 280 Class 15 and 16 Notes Russ 280

Marketplace > University of South Carolina > Russian > Russ 280 > Russ 280 Class 15 and 16 Notes
Madeline Lacman

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About this Document

These notes cover Dostoevsky, Chekhov, and Tolstoy.
Intro to Russian Civilization
Prof. Kalb
Class Notes
russian, russ, russ 280, dostoevsky, chekhov, Tolstoy, russian lit, Russian Literature
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Madeline Lacman on Tuesday March 15, 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 11 views. For similar materials see Intro to Russian Civilization in Russian at University of South Carolina.


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Date Created: 03/15/16
Russ 280 Class 15 Dostoevsky, “The Meek Woman” Tolstoy, “Holstomer” Fyodor Dostoevsky, 1821-1881  One of the most important novelists who ever lived  Novelist and much more (typical of Russian writer) o Teacher of politics, religion, psychology, ethics  Freud said Dostoevsky anticipated all his major insights  Nietzsche said no one had influenced him more than Dostoevsky  Religious beliefs influenced Russian philosophers  Existentialists saw him as forerunner of new Christianity (in France after WWII) o Camus and Sartre were influenced by him Dostoevsky’s Life  Difficult childhood with sometimes abusive father (doctor) and loving, religious mother  Attended school in Petersburg, then entered military  Read widely: loved Western literature, hugely influenced by it  Entered literary world of Petersburg with translation of Balzac’s Eugenie Grandet  Developed epilepsy  Started gambling, money troubles Dostoevsky’s Arrest and Imprisonment  1846 joins Petrashevsky Circle, accused of revolutionary activity  Czar feared repeat of 1825 Decembrist Rebellion  Arrested in 1849, mock execution  Siberian exile with hard labor for 4 years o Becomes a nationalist during this camp o All about Russia, supports every reactionary thing that the Czar does After Siberia  1859 back to Petersburg  Notes from the House of the Dead 1860-1862  Travels through Europe o To escape a creditor o Continues to take care of sickly wife  Conservative Slavophile: Peter the Great’s reforms enriched Russia but Russia must now turn back to its past  Godless West vs. Holy Russia  Prejudices  Meets Ana who becomes his second wife and collaborator  Tons of kids  She manages the money  Manages his legacy after he dies The Novels  Dostoevsky known for his great novels: o Crime and Punishment 1866 o The Idiot 1868 o The Devils/The Possessed 1872 o The Brothers Karamazov 1880  “The Legend of the Grand Inquisitor”: a debate between executioner during the Inquisition and Christ, returned. Grand Inquisitor says people would rather give up their freedom than have to think for themselves; Christ represents freedom The Meek Woman, 1876  Part of Diary of a Writer  Major themes: o Corrupting nature of power and money o Spiritual debasement vs. purity o Need for spiritual sustenance  She was 16 when they got married o She was poor and lived with her cruel aunts that were going to force her to marry another man for money o Her marriage is all about the man wanting power  She meets palmbroker when she’s selling her mother’s things o First interactions are all about her stuff and how much money he can give her  She’s described as meek in the beginning but then becomes defiant and eventually points a gun at him  Does he love her? o He loves that he’s the one in charge  She won’t look at him, has little smirk that drives him insane  She starts to sing o Freaks the husband out  She kills herself – Why? o She wants to show that she has power over something o Right after he tells her things are going to be different o Should the husband be held responsible for the death of his wife? Leo Tolstoy, 1828-1910  Hugely important and famous writer  One of the greatest novelists ever  More than a writer: seen as prophet, religious sage  Inspired many including Gandhi  Background and early life o From aristocratic, rich family  He was a count  His mother was a princess o Owned estate, Yasnaya Polyana o Attended university but didn’t graduate  Joined army  Began literary career in army  Marries a woman 17 years younger than him o Before they marry he has her read his diaries  He makes her keep a diary too o Both strong-minded people, so they clash  They use their diaries as weapons o They have 13 children o She copies War and Peace by hand  Later in Life o Wrote 2 of the most famous novels ever written  War and Peace (1869)  Anna Karenina (1878) o Depression – what is the purpose of life if it ends in death?  Led to spiritual conversion o Rest of life wrote about religious and social matters  Decided sex was evil o Issues in marriage  Most famous Russian of his day  Began writing for peasants and founded non-profit publishing house  Decided literature not for entertainment o Rejected his earlier novels  Literature solely to be used to improve the reader and the world  Rejected earlier lifestyle and aspects of Russian Orthodox Church and government o Excommunicated 1901  Was “conscience of humanity” o Influenced Gandhi and many others Holstomer, 1863, Revised and Published 1866  Why is Holstomer “thrice unfortunate”? o Markings, was castrated,  What are some of the main differences between people and horses?  How does Tolstoy juxtapose the descriptions of Holstomer and his former owner, Serpukhovskoy?  Shows how absurd our human reality is by telling the story through the character of the horse  He prefers the horses Tolstoy and “Making Strange” (Defamiliarization)  Habitualization devours works, clothes, furniture, one’s wife, and the fear of war. “If the whole complex lives of many people go on unconsciously, then such lives are as if they had never been” [from Tolstoy’s diary]. Art exists that one may recover the sensation of life; it exists to make one feel things, to make the stone stony. The purpose of art is to impart the sensation of things as they are perceived and not as they are known. The technique of art is to make objects “unfamiliar”, to make forms difficult, to increase the difficulty and length of perception because the process of perception is an aesthetic end in itself and must be prolonged. Art is a way of experiencing the artfulness of an object; the object is not important Russ 280 Class 16 Chekhov  Grandfather was a serf o Bought his freedom  Lived in small town  Rose above the pettiness through kindness and education  Journalist  Doctor  Feels guilty he was no longer a doctor so he goes back to it  Supported his whole family  Goes to Siberian island and takes a census of who is there  Goes to Hong Kong/Singapore  Back in Russia o Famine o Cholera contamination  Readers adored him  He has tuberculosis and has to go to the south, he wants his wife to pursue her career  His plays o Not major action o Many main characters o Lack of communication o Portrait of a very changing world  Cherry Orchard  Lopakhin wants to sell it ***name name of wanderer group who wanted to paint Russian Christ


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