Northern European Literature and Film

Discipline: Slavic Languages and Literatures
Instructor: Connolly
Credits: 3
Day: C
Start: 1230
End: 1345
Field Work: Day 1 -St. Petersburg - Thursday, 24 July | Russia
Prerequisites: None Download Syllabus

The countries of northern Europe, from Ireland in the west to Russia in the east, have produced a wealth of stimulating and moving cultural texts, both in fiction and in film.  This course will study some of the great works produced in that region, from classic works by such film directors as Ingmar Bergman to the strange tales of life in St. Petersburg by the inimitable writers Nikolai Gogol and Fyodor Dostoevsky.  Students in the course will have the opportunity to visit some of the very sites depicted in these classic works.  Students will become acquainted with the tools of literary and cinematic analysis, and they will finish the course with a heightened understanding of the rich cultural legacy of modern Europe.

Field Work

Country: Russia
Day: 1 -St. Petersburg - Thursday, 24 July

Students will have the opportunity to walk along the very streets that feature in the work of Russia’s great nineteenth and twentieth-century writers, from Nikolai Gogol and Fyodor Dostoevsky to Vladimir Nabokov.  We will retrace the memorable steps of Dostoevsky’s fictional murder Rodion Raskolnikov, and we will stroll down what Gogol called “the beauty of St. Petersburg”—Nevsky Prospect.  Dostoevsky stated that St. Petersburg was the “most abstract city in the world,” and we will try to discover what the specific features of this city are that lead Dostoevsky to make his pronouncement.  During this visit, we will try to determine how the specific contours and structures of the city directly affected its writers and their works.  To flesh out our understanding of the unique cultural space that St. Petersburg represents, we will visit Dostoevsky’s modest apartment (now a museum) and Nabokov’s more elegant childhood home in one of the most fashionable districts of the city.

Academic Objectives:  1.  To bring alive for students the sites that are featured in the works of Gogol, Pushkin, and Dostoevsky 2.  To have students reflect on the way that architecture and social structures affect creative products 3.  To have students reflect on changes that have occurred since the nineteenth century to the present