Week 1: The Writer's Life in His Times
What was it like to grow up in the first quarter of the 19th century Russia? We will explore the lives of the landed gentry and serfs; the Russian landscape, geography and roads; life in a city and in a village; typical education and travels abroad; and love, courtship and marriage. We will also consider Russia’s 19th century social cauldron: radicals and revolutionaries versus liberals and reformists; Westerners versus Slavophiles; emancipation of serfs, the women's movement and nihilism.
Week 2: A Gentle Giant
We will look at Turgenev's life, character and the evolution of his political views. We’ll read a selection of early stories: Living Relic, Kasyan from the Beautiful Lands (from Sketches from the Hunter's Album) and Mumu (published separately from “Sketches”).
Week 3: Living at 'the Edge of Somebody Else's Nest'
We will consider Turgenev's fatal and everlasting love for Pauline Viardo. We’ll read Turgenev's great stories on love: Asya, First Love, Spring Torrents and Klara Milich. We’ll see the emergence of a new literary type widely imitated in life, "the Turgenev maiden."
Week 4: Peripatetic Life
We will discover Turgenev's French circle, and look at the relationship of Turgenev and Flaubert; two masters' enduring friendship and correspondence. We will read Hamlet and Don Quixote, Turgenev's contemplation on the 1848 French Revolution.
Week 5: A Nest of the Landed Gentry
We will examine this novel of nostalgia for the vanishing class.
Week 6: Fathers and Sons
Considered to be the best novel of the six Turgenev wrote, yet widely criticized by his contemporaries, it still speaks to every new generation of readers. We will see why.
For certificate students only:
Your instructor will evaluate you based on an essay, which you will complete at the end of the course. You will receive a grade of “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory.”
Textbooks and learning materials
There is required reading for this course.
Any version of
- Ivan Turgenev, A Nest of the Gentry (also translated as A Nest of the Gentlefolk and Home of the Gentry)
- Ivan Turgenev, Fathers and Sons (also translated as Fathers and Children)
These books will be available from the SFU Bookstore or at your local or online bookstore.
The short stories will be provided in a course pack available on your first day of class.