Russian Prison Narratives: Avvakum, Dostoevsky, Koestler, Solzhenitsyn

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Tuesdays, 9:30-11:00 a.m.  6-week course begins 5/10

For this six-week course, we’ll read and discuss four major but relatively short works from the seventeenth through the twentieth century: Old Believer Archpriest Avvakum’s  His Life, Written by Himself,  written as he waited to be burnt at the stake; Fyodor Dostoevsky’s autobiographical novel based on his time in a Siberian prison camp; Arthur Koestler’s classic account of a Stalinist purge victim’s struggles against self-condemnation; and Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s seminal account of a day in the life of a simple prisoner in a Gulag labor camp. Required Readings: Archpriest Avvakum,  His Life Written by Himself,  (to be posted as a pdf); Fyodor Dostoevsky, Notes from a Dead House, ISBN 978-0307949875; Arthur Koestler, Darkness at Noon, ISBN 978-1501161315; Alexander Solzhenitsyn, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, ISBN 978-0451228147. Other translations and editions of the preceding titles are acceptable. George Young earned a B.A. in English at Duke and a Ph.D. in Slavic Languages and Literatures at Yale. He has taught Russian literature and general humanities at Grinnell, Dartmouth, UNE, and more recently many courses on Russian literature at OLLI and Midcoast Senior College.