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Advanced Russian: Ivan Vasil’evich/Zolotoi telenok

Advanced, Small seminar—Year

This course is intended for students who are beyond the second-year level. Our aim will be to move away from grammar and into active reading, writing, watching, and speaking in Russian. In the fall semester, the course will center on Mikhail Bulgakov’s 1936 play, Ivan Vasil’evich, and the 1973 film adaptation, Ivan Vasil’evich meniaet professiiu; both play and film tell the story of a somewhat hapless scientist who succeeds in inventing a time machine. In the spring, our basic text will be Il'f and Petrov's 1931 novel, Zolotoi telenok, along with film versions from 1968 and 2006; one of the most famous works of the 20th century in Russia, Zolotoi telenok is the extremely funny and often surprisingly satirical adventures of Ostap Bender, truly one of the great literary con men of all time. In both semesters, our work with our main texts will be supplemented by other texts/films. In the fall, these texts will include shorter pieces by writers such as Zoshchenko and Voinovich, historical accounts, and Eisenstein’s film, Ivan the Terrible, as well as other films portraying the 1920s and the 1960s-70s. In the spring, we will watch more movies and read more works from the 1920s-30s, including short pieces by Babel, Paustovskii, V. Kataev, and Olesha. Over the course of the year, we will learn a number of popular songs and folk songs, along with the basics of Russian word morphology. Weekly conversation classes with the Russian assistant will be required, and attendance at Russian table is strongly encouraged. For students with two years of college Russian or the equivalent.