Russian and Other Slavic

Languages and Literatures

Departmental Adviser: David Powelstock, F 415, 702-0035

Coordinator of Russian Language Courses: Issa Zauber, F 401, 702-7739

Departmental Secretary: F 404, 702-8033

Program of Study

The Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures offers courses in the Russian, Czech, Slovak, and Polish languages and literatures, and in Slavic linguistics and other general Slavic subjects. The department also offers a program leading to the Bachelor of Arts degree with a concentration in Russian language and literature. In addition, concentrations in Czech language and literature and in Polish language and literature can be arranged with approval of the department.

Russian Language and Literature. This program is designed to teach students skills in written and spoken Russian, instruct them in Russian literature (and linguistics, as an option), and acquaint them with the main characteristics of Russian history and culture. The program is similar to the concentration in Russian civilization but has a more humanistic emphasis. It is intended for students preparing for graduate work, for those planning a career in government or industry in which knowledge of Russian is useful, and for those whose primary aim is to read the masterpieces of Russian literature in the original or to study Russian linguistics as part of a humanistic education. Within the program there are two concentration options, one with emphasis on literature and the other with emphasis on Russian linguistics.

Program Requirements

Thirteen courses are required for the B.A. in Russian:

1. Second-, third-, and fourth-year Russian (or their equivalents). Under exceptional circumstances, students may petition the departmental adviser and coordinator of Russian language courses to be excused from the fourth-year Russian requirement.

2a. Students in Russian literature must take four courses in literature including any two of the three parts of Introduction to Russian Literature (Russian 255-256-257). A reading course, such as Russian 299, cannot be counted toward this requirement except by written permission of the departmental adviser.

2b. Students in Russian linguistics must take General Slavic 201 (Introduction to Slavic Linguistics), Russian 230 or 231 (Structure of Russian I or II), and two additional courses to be chosen from the fields of Russian literature, Slavic linguistics, and general linguistics. The last two must be approved in writing by the departmental adviser.

It is recommended that students fulfill their Common Core civilization requirement with a sequence in Russian civilization; they are advised to choose electives from such related fields as general linguistics, history, philosophy, political science, and literature. The department suggests that students planning to do graduate work in a Slavic-related field should take a year of French, German, or a second Slavic language. All students must write an acceptable B.A. paper under faculty supervision.

Summary of Requirements

General SocSci 240-241-242 recommended

Education Russ 101-102-103 or equivalent

Concentration 3 Russ 201-202-203 or equivalent

3 Russ 204-205-206 or equivalent

3 Russ 207-208-209 or equivalent

4 courses in either the Russian Linguistics option (GnSlav 201, Russ 230 or 231, and two courses in Russian linguistics) or the Russian Literature option

(two courses chosen from

Russ 255-256-257 plus two other courses in Russian literature)

- B.A. paper


Grading. Students in the concentration must take letter grades in the thirteen required courses.

Honors Program. To be eligible for the honors program, students must maintain a grade point average of 3.0 or better overall, and 3.5 or better in the concentration. Applications to the honors program should be submitted to the departmental adviser normally not later than the first quarter of the senior year. If accepted, the candidate writes an honors paper under the supervision of a member of the department. Honors students may use the honors paper as a bachelor's paper. If the completed bachelor's paper is judged by the supervisor and a second faculty member to be a distinguished example of original research or criticism, the student is recommended to the College for graduation with special honors.

Advising. Concentrators must obtain the departmental adviser's approval for their programs of study before registration and should consult periodically with him afterward.

Students should consult the departmental office (F 404, 702-8033) for further information on the undergraduate program. Questions about proficiency examinations and placement in Russian should be directed to David Powelstock (departmental adviser).


HOWARD I. ARONSON, Professor, Departments of Linguistics and Slavic Languages & Literatures and the College

ANNA LISA CRONE, Associate Professor, Department of Slavic Languages & Literatures and the College

BILL J. DARDEN, Professor, Departments of Linguistics & Slavic Languages & Literatures; Chairman, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures

MILTON EHRE, Professor, Department of Slavic Languages & Literatures and the College

NORMAN W. INGHAM, Professor, Department of Slavic Languages & Literatures and the College; Director, Center for East European and Russian/Eurasian Studies

DAVID POWELSTOCK, Assistant Professor, Department of Slavic Languages & Literatures and the College

SAMUEL SANDLER, Professor Emeritus, Department of Slavic Languages & Literatures

MALYNNE STERNSTEIN, Assistant Professor, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures and the College

FRANTISEK SVEJKOVSKY, Professor Emeritus, Departments of Slavic Languages & Literatures and Comparative Literature, and Committee on Analysis of Ideas & Study of Methods

TAMARA TROJANOWSKA, Assistant Professor, Department of Slavic Languages & Literatures and the College

EDWARD WASIOLEK, Avalon Foundation Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus, Departments of English Language & Literature, Slavic Languages & Literatures, and Comparative Literature, and the College

ISSA ZAUBER, Senior Lecturer, Department of Slavic Languages & Literatures


Many 300-level courses are open to qualified College students (concentrators and nonconcentrators) with the consent of the instructor. A complete listing of courses offered by the department is given in the graduate Announcements and the quarterly Time Schedules. Please consult the Slavic Department for the latest information regarding course offerings.

Czech and Slovak

204-205-206. Intermediate Czech. PQ: Czech 203 or consent of instructor. The main emphasis is on giving students proficiency in reading Czech in their particular fields. Conversation practice is included. The program is flexible and may be adjusted according to the needs of the students. Staff. Autumn, Winter, Spring.

255/355. Introduction to Czech Literature I. Staff. Not offered 1997-98; will be offered 1998-99.

256/356. Introduction to Czech Literature II. Staff. Not offered 1997-98; will be offered 1998-99.

257/357. Introduction to Czech Literature III: Twentieth-Century Czech Literature (=Czech 257/357, GS Hum 286/386). Czech 255/355, 256/356, and 257/357 may be taken in sequence or individually. This course explores Modern Czech Literature from the interwar period to the present including writings from authors such as Karel Capek, Milan Kundera, Václav Havel, Josef Skvorecky, Bohumil Hrabal, Iva Pekárková, and Jáchym Topol. Among other topics, we look into the very influential Czech brand of science fiction, the Czech Surrealist movement, and the novels of the Prague Spring. Texts in English and the original. M. Sternstein. Spring.

298/398. Readings in Twentieth-Century Czech Literary Theory. This course introduces the major literary theory of Czech origin from the influential movement of Structuralism to current writings on genre, narrative, culture, and poiesis. We read the work of writers that include Jan Mukarovsky, Lubomír Dolezel, Roman Jakobson (translated from the Czech), Jirí Veltrusky, René Wellek, Václav Cerny, Sylvie Richterová, and Milan Jankovic. Texts in English and the original. M. Sternstein. Spring.

General Slavic

201/301. Introduction to Slavic Linguistics. A survey of principles of general synchronic and diachronic linguistics as applied to the Slavic languages. H. Aronson. Autumn.

220/320. Old Church Slavonic (=GnSlav 220/320, LngLin 219/319). PQ: Knowledge of another Slavic language or a good knowledge of one or two other old Indo-European languages. Introduction to the language of the oldest Slavic texts. The course begins with a brief historical overview of the relationship of Old Church Slavonic to Common Slavic and the other Slavic languages. This is followed by a short outline of Old Church Slavonic inflectional morphology. The remainder of the course is spent in the reading and grammatical analysis of original texts in Cyrillic or Cyrillic transcription of the original Glagolitic. V. Friedman. Winter.

230/330. Language, Power, and Identity in Southeastern Europe: A Linguistic View of the Balkan Crisis (=Anthro 274, Hum 274, LngLin 230, Russ 230/330). Language is a key issue in the articulation of ethnicity and the struggle for power in southeastern Europe. This course familiarizes students with the linguistic histories and structures that have served as bases for the formation of modern Balkan ethnic identities and that are being manipulated to shape current and future events. The course is informed by the instructor's experience as an adviser for the United Nations Protection Forces in the former Yugoslavia, as well as his twenty years of linguistic fieldwork in the Balkans. V. Friedman. Winter.

272/372. The Modern Central European Novel (=GnSlav 272/372, GS Hum 281/381). This course conducts a close study of the major novels of Central European origin from the twentieth century. We read and discuss Witold Gombrowicz's Ferdydurke, Milan Kundera's The Joke, Hermann Broch's Sleepwalkers, Franz Kafka's Amerika, Robert Musil's Young Törless, and, possibly, Danilo Kis's A Tomb for Boris Davidovich, with emphasis on the aesthetic construction, ethical attitude, and cultural context of the novels cited. One of the course's main concerns is what constitutes the "national" and "regional" character of these novels and novelists and why (or whether or not) grouping these novels collectively under the rubric of "Central European" is viable. M. Sternstein. Winter.

279/379. Nationalism and National Identity in East and Central European Literatures and Cultures. This course examines nationalism and national identity in East and Central European literatures and cultures, including Russian, Polish, Czech, Yiddish, Bulgarian, and South Slavic. It introduces political, sociological, and historical understanding of nationalism and national identity, and discusses the best literary works that deal with these issues. The focus is on such important concerns as the national search for self-definition, the politics of identity and history, perceptions of identity and nationhood, and ethnicity and ethnic identity. The course combines seminars with guest lectures. Expect to read the best Central and Eastern European writers. T. Trojanowska, M. Sternstein, D. Powelstock. Spring.


201-202-203. Elementary Polish I, II, III. This course sequence fulfills the Common Core foreign language requirement. Students are introduced to the grammatical and phonetic basis of the language and are taught to read appropriate texts. Attention is also given to pronunciation and conversation. Staff. Autumn, Winter, Spring.

204-205-206. Second-Year Polish I, II, III. PQ: Polish 203 or equivalent. Students write in Polish and read selected important texts of Polish literature. Attention is also given to problems of Polish syntax and to improving students' spoken Polish. Work is adjusted to each student's level of preparation. Staff. Autumn, Winter, Spring.

259/359. Postwar Polish Poetry: Metaphysics, Ethics, and Aesthetics (=GS Hum 288/388, Polish 259/359). PQ: Advanced standing. This course examines the best achievements of Polish postwar poetry, including poems by Nobel laureates Czeslaw Milosz and Wislawa Szymborska; by Nobel candidates Zbigniew Herbert and Tadeusz Rozewicz; and by poets of such importance as Anna Swirszczynska, Miron Bialoszewski, and Tymoteusz Karpowicz. The focus of our readings is on immanent poetics of the chosen works but also on the function of poetry in the post-war Polish society. T. Trojanowska. Spring.

290/390. Literature Confronting Totalitarianism. This course focuses on a few remarkable works by contemporary Polish and Russian writers who embarked upon one of the biggest challenges in literary creation: depicting the experience of suffering and death brought by a totalitarian state. Dealing with the mechanisms of both fascist and communist societies, these authors attempt not only to reveal the crimes of totalitarianism, but also to show the moral strength of weakness of the human being victimized by the totalitarian state. The aim of the course is to point out and discuss literary representations of totalitarianism and the human experience of it. The texts selected for the course embrace characteristic examples of camp literature. Staff. Winter.

291/391. Monumenta Polonica: Polish Literature from the Middle Ages to the Enlightenment (=GS Hum 291/391, Polish 291/391). This survey course examines the shaping of Polish literature from the first written records, through the Renaissance and Baroque (including such authors as Mikolaj Rej, Jan Kochanowski, Mikolaj Sep-Szarzynski, Jan Andrzej Marsztyn, Samuel Twardowski, and Jan Pasek) to the Enlightenment (Ignacy Krasicki and Jan Potocki, author of The Manuscript Found in Saragossa). The literary works are put in cultural, social, and political contexts of the Piast and Jagiellonian Poland and of the Commonwealth of Both Nations. Staff. Autumn.



101-102-103. First-Year Russian I, II, III. This course sequence fulfills the Common Core foreign language requirement. This course introduces basic grammar and practice in the elements of spoken and written modern Russian. All four aspects of language skill (reading, writing, listening comprehension, and speaking) are included. The course is designed to introduce students to using Russian both as a means of communication and as a tool for reading and research. Staff. Autumn, Winter, Spring.

104-105-106. Russian through Pushkin I, II, III. An experimental linguistic and literary approach to first-year Russian in which classic Russian poetic texts, such as Pushkin's The Bronze Horseman are used to teach first-year grammar. Oral and reading skills are equally emphasized. Activization drills meet twice a week. A. L. Crone, H. Aronson. Autumn, Winter, Spring.

107-108-109. Russian through Literary Readings: Second Year I, II, III. A continuation of Russian through Pushkin. Second-year grammar, and oral and reading skills are strengthened through intensive reading of important poetic and prose texts from the Russian classics. Staff. Autumn, Winter, Spring.

201-202-203. Second-Year Russian I, II, III. PQ: Russ 103 or consent of instructor. This course continues Russ 101-102-103; it includes review and amplification of grammar, practice in reading, elementary composition, and speaking and comprehension. Systematic study of word formation and other strategies are taught to help free students from excessive dependence on the dictionary and develop confidence in reading rather than translating. Readings are selected to help provide historical and cultural background. Conversational practice in small groups with a native speaker is held during two of the five class hours a week. Staff. Autumn, Winter, Spring.

204-205-206. Third-Year Russian I, II, III. PQ: Russ 203 or equivalent. This course, conducted entirely in Russian, has three major objectives: (1) a thorough study of Russian syntax; (2) vocabulary building based on a study of Russian roots, prefixes, and suffixes; and (3) improvement of reading and communication skills. Conversational practice with a native speaker is held two hours a week. I. Zauber. Autumn, Winter, Spring.

207-208-209. Fourth-Year Russian I, II, III. PQ: Russ 206 or equivalent. This course, taught in Russian, treats difficult grammar problems, as well as questions of syntax and stylistics. It includes extensive readings representative of different periods of Russian literature and various literary styles. These texts are discussed in class and analyzed by the students in written compositions. Vocabulary building and oral expression are also emphasized. Conversation practice is held twice a week. Staff. Autumn, Winter, Spring.

301-302-303. Advanced Russian I, II, III. PQ: Russ 209 and consent of instructor. I. Zauber. Autumn, Winter, Spring.

Literature and Linguistics

220/320. History of Russian I: Morphology. PQ: GenSlav 220 or consent of instructor. B. Darden. Spring.

230/330. Structure of Russian I: Phonology. H. Aronson. Winter.

255/355. Introduction to Russian Literature I: From the Beginnings to 1850. This course is a survey of Russian literature in translation from the Igor Tale to the middle of the nineteenth century. Major figures covered are Pushkin, Lermontov, Gogol, Goncharov, and Turgenev. All readings in English. N. Ingham. Not offered 1997-98; will be offered 1998-99.

256/356. Introduction to Russian Literature II: 1850 to 1900 (=Hum 240, Russ 256/356). This is a survey covering the second half of the nineteenth century. Major figures studied are Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Leskov, Saltykov-Shchedrin, and Chekhov. Representative works are read for their literary value and against their historical, cultural, and intellectual background. All readings in English. Class discussion is encouraged. N. Ingham. Winter.

257/357. Introduction to Russian Literature III: Russian Literature since 1900. Course topics include Symbolism, the avant garde of the 1920s, socialist realism, contemporary trends, and émigré literature. We read works by Sologub, Bely, Mayakovsky, Pasternak, Akhmatova, Mandelstam, Solzhenitsyn, Nabokov, and others. Students may read in English or Russian. D. Powelstock. Spring.

259. History and the Russian Novel (=Hist 275, Russ 259). R. Hellie. Spring.

272/372. Lermontov and Romantic Russia. A close examination of the works of Mikhail Lermontov from aesthetic, biographical, literary-historical, and cultural-historical perspectives, with an eye toward finding connections between these aspects. To this end, some secondary and theoretical readings are assigned. Lermontov's works are read together with representative works by his European and Russian contemporaries, with the goal of understanding his relation to the broader Romantic context. Readings in Russian. D. Powelstock. Winter.

276/376. Tolstoy (=Hum 276, Russ 276/376). This course is a close reading of selected works by Tolstoy seen as artistic wholes and in the development of his ideological and moral views. The central text is War and Peace. All readings in English. N. Ingham. Winter.

277/377. Chekhov. This introduction to the principal works of Chekhov includes close analysis of texts and an examination of their historical background. All readings in English. M. Ehre. Autumn.

280/380. Styles of Performance and Expression from Stage to Screen (=ArtH 293/393, CMS 282, Russ 280/380). PQ: Any 100-level ArtH or COVA course, or consent of instructor. This course focuses on the history of acting styles in silent film (1895-1930), mapping "national" styles of acting that emerged during the 1910s (American, Danish, Italian, and Russian), and various "acting schools" that proliferated during the 1920s ("Expressionist Acting" and "Kuleshov's Workshop"). We discuss film acting in the context of various systems of stage acting (Delsarte, Stanislavsky, and Meyerhold) and the visual arts. Y. Tsivian. Autumn.