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Unit information: The Russian Novel 1900 - 1985 in 2015/16

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Unit name The Russian Novel 1900 - 1985
Unit code RUSS30045
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Chitnis
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Russian
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

An examination of key works and trends in the development of the Russian novel from the Silver Age to Mikhail Gorbachev's accession to power. The unit encompasses pre-revolutionary modernist fiction and the post-1917 Communist writing which led to the articulation of Socialist Realism. It examines the impact of both trends on the major novels of the mid-century, and the erosion of official/oppositional distinctions in the post-Stalin era. Though there are no pre or co--requisite, the unit constitutes a logical progression from the study of major 19th century fiction in Year 2. The chronological end-point is determined in relation to the proposed Level 3 unit on Post-Soviet Russian Prose Fiction.


  • To introduce students to a significant body of knowledge of a complexity appropriate to final year level. The content matter will normally include one or more of the following: literature; social, cultural or political history; linguistics; cultural studies; film, television or other media.
  • To facilitate students’ engagement with a body of literature, including secondary literature, texts, including in non-print media, primary sources and ideas as a basis for their own analysis and development. Normally many or most of these sources will be in a language other than English and will enhance the development of their linguistic skills.
  • To develop further skills of synthesis, analysis and independent research, building on the skills acquired in units at level I.
  • To equip students with the skills to undertake postgraduate study in a relevant field.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Successful students will:

  • be knowledgable about a significant cultural, historical or linguistic subject related to the language they are studying;
  • will have advanced skills in the selection and synthesis of relevant material;
  • be able to evaluate and analyse relevant material from a significant body of source materials, usually in a foreign language, at an advanced level;
  • be able to respond to questions or problems by presenting their independent judgements in an appropriate style and at an advanced level of complexity;
  • be able to transfer these skills to other working environments, including postgraduate study.

Teaching Information

Two seminar hours per week across one teaching block (22 contact hours).

Assessment Information

essay 3000 words 60%, book review 20%, class test 20%

Reading and References

Evgenii Zamiatin – My (We)

Mikhail Bulgakov – Master i Margarita (The Master and Margarita)

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn – Rakovyi korpus (Cancer Ward)

Venedikt Erofeev – Moskva-Petushki (translated variously as Moscow to the End of the Line; Moscow Circles; Moscow Stations)

Vladimir Sorokin – Ochered’ (The Queue)