English R1B

Reading & Composition: The Russian Short Story

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
17 Spring 2008 Vitaliy Eyber
TTh 3:30-5 222 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

Russian Short Stories from Pushkin to Buida, edited by Robert Chandler, Penguin Classics; Chekhov, Anton. Short Stories, Norton Critical Edition; MLA Handbook; Johnson, Edward. The Handbook of Good English.


"This is a writing course whose main objective is to turn you into competent writers of academic prose. However, since we need a subject to write about, I decided on one I am interested in and which, I hope, will be of interest to you: short stories by Russian writers. Focusing on the short story, as opposed to, say, the novel�something that readers of fiction more immediately associate with Russian literature�will allow us to enjoy a great variety of readings, spanning a good hundred years from the golden age of Pushkin and Gogol to the early Soviet era of Babel and Bulgakov. At least a third of the short stories we are going to read will be by Chekhov, the most celebrated master of the genre in Russian. Although this course is certainly not meant to be a survey of Russian literature, I think that it will go some way towards providing you with initial acquaintance with most Russian classics�an acquaintance which, I hope, will subsequently inspire you to read their greater (meaning both �more famous� and �larger in size�) works on your own.

Much of our in-class time will be dedicated to discussing your writing, developing your skills of close and analytical reading, and learning how to be effective when sharing your insights with your readers. Other than the short stories, I will ask you to read a number of scholarly essays. I will ask you to write a short essay every week or two and give you a chance to revise some of them. Many of our routines will serve to solidify the gains of your writing-and-composition experiences as R1A students: you can expect some specific assignments aimed at polishing your grammar, improving you vocabulary, etc. We will conduct in-class writing assignments and peer-review exercises regularly. The assignments will ensure that by the end of the semester you know what a solid academic essay based on sound research looks like and can produce one of your own. "

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