LTRS 220: 20th Century Literature


  LTRS 22o is offered every other spring semester: Spring 2017, Spring 2019, Spring 2021, etc. 





After he was released from a prison camp, having served 6 years in Siberia for his literary activities, Abram Tertz proclaimed that Russian literature would emerge even stronger from the Gulags, the mass graves, the madhouses, from all of the forms of oppression to which it was subjected in the 20th century. And, indeed, while Roland Barthes’ famous phrase “The Death of the Author” has overtones not exactly theoretical for the history of modern Russian letters, these authors’ immortal masterpieces live on, having taken their proper places amidst the classics – not just of Russian – but of world literature.

This course is intended for students with an interest in modern literature, as well those who are interested in learning more about 20th century Russian history and culture. We will begin our survey with the Bolshevik Revolution and conclude in the 1990’s, exploring topics, such as: authorship and authority, authority and subversion, the individual’s role in history, utopia and anti-utopia, intertextuality as an alternative mode of history, modernism, post-modernism, state and literary myths.

Covered works include classics of 20th century literature (Zamyatin’s We, Bulgakov’s Master and Margarita), some works that are less familiar to American audiences (Grossman’s stunning short novel Everything Flows), as well as recently published stories and novels from writers like Viktor Pelevin and Liudmila Petrushevskaia.



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