Reading the Russian Classics

Adele Barker
Tuesdays 10 AM - 12 PM
October 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, November 5, 12, 19, December 3, and 10, 2019
Watch the video to learn more about this course

Reading the Russian Classics

Fall 2019
In Session
10 AM - 12 PM
October 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, November 5, 12, 19, December 3, and 10, 2019


Main Campus



What makes Russian literature so Russian? This course will take us through two of the best-known Russian classics—Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina and Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov—as well as Turgenev’s little-known Sportsman’s Sketches as we uncover the world of mid-to-late nineteenth-century Russia. Tolstoy and Dostoevsky tackled what is known as “the cursed questions” of God, death, morality, and how to live a good life. Turgenev’s book, with its very different focus, ushered in some of the most radical social changes Russia has ever witnessed. Our journey back into Russia’s literary past will open doors into peasant life, the Russian penal system, Russian Orthodoxy, life on the land, and the music and art of the times in which these writers lived. 

Registration Opens Online: Monday, August 12, 2019 at 8AM (AZ Time)

Required Reading: 

Since we will be looking at them closely it would be helpful if we are all using the same editions. This is particularly true in the case of Anna Karenina and The Brothers Karamazov. Below are the editions I will be using of each of the books:

  • Turgenev, Sketches from a Hunter’s Album, trans. Richard Freeborn (Penguin, 1990)
  • Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, trans. Pevear and Volokonsky (Penguin, 2004).
  • Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov, trans. Pevear and Volokonsky, (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2002).

Meet Your Professor

Professor Emerita
Department of Russian and Slavic Studies

ADELE BARKER is professor emerita in the Russian Department and has taught Russian and Soviet literature and film for 35 years. She has lived, studied, and traveled widely throughout Russia and the Soviet Union. She is the author/editor of five books on Russian literature and popular culture and works in creative nonfiction. She has taught seven courses for the Humanities Seminars Program.

  • Ted and Shirley Taubeneck Superior Teaching Award


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