20 Credits AUTUMN

Aims/Description: The psychological intensity of Dostoevsky's works is among the most striking of the literary responses to the proto-revolutionary ambitions of the Russian radical intelligentsia. In this module we will compare both approaches to questions such as individual and social justice, freedom of action and human dignity. We will study one of Dostoevsky's major novels and a selection of his other works alongside some of the more important writings of the intelligentsia to understand their divergent views of human nature and views of the future. Works by Dostoevsky's contemporaries will help to illuminate some of the complexities of his narrative style.

Teaching Methods: In a series of lectures, either distributed throughout the duration of the module or made available as podcasts, an outline of the most important historical, literary and intellectual events and figures will be given. The examples used to illustrate this outline will also serve to suggest to students how they might approach both primary and secondary material. A series of seminar presentations, given by the students in turn, will run for the duration of the module. These will be based either on close readings of the primary texts or on more general topics; in the ensuing seminar discussion, the merits of various critical approaches will be considered, for which further reading, including secondary material will be set. A number of short, unassessed, reading responses (700-1000 words) will be required from students in turn. These will enable them to develop their academic writing skills and to experiment with different approaches before starting to prepare their assessed essays. The reading responses will be commented on by the module tutor, posted on MOLE anonymously and used as the basis for class discussion: students will thus be able to offer constructive criticism of their peers' writing and will be able to expand upon the discussion in seminars arising from the presentations to come to a broader understanding of the material covered. The precise number of seminar presentations and reading responses to be set is dependent on the number of students taking the module.
Assessment: Course work, Presentation

Information on the department responsible for this unit (Russian Studies):

Departmental Home Page
Teaching timetable


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Teaching methods and assessment displayed on this page are indicative for 2021-22. Students will be informed by the academic department of any changes made necessary by the ongoing pandemic.

Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK