Prose of Russ Modernist Poets
Some major Russian modern poets were at the same time outstanding masters of the Russian prose. Their novels, short stories or memoirs were concerned with the psychological biography of an intellectual (poet, artist, etc.) in the period of crisis and despair (such as wars, revolutions, social catastrophes, the changes of the entire social order). In our course we will focus on the following works: The Noise of Time (Shum vrememi, 1925) by Osip Mandelshtam (the internationally acclaimed critic D. S. Mirsky placed this work ‘on the first place among the most important books of recent times’); Cynics (Tsiniki, 1928), the novel by poet-imaginist Anatoly Mariengof (the Nobel Prize winner Joseph Brodsky treated this novel as ‘one of the most innovative books in Russian Literature), The Goat Song (Kozlinaia pesn’, 1928) by Konstantin Vaginov, a member of OBERIU, the last Soviet avant-garde literary group, ‘The Story’ (Povest’, 1929) and ‘Safe Conduct’ (Okhrannaia gramota, 1931) by Boris Pasternak – the prose works, which in many respects anticipated his famous Doktor Zhivago. We will read the prose of these authors against the background of their innovative poetry.
Students will read about 25-30 pages for each class session. They will compose short papers (4) as well as a final paper.