Slavic Languages and Literatures
Russian 2452: Socialist Realism Vladimir Padunov
Fall Semester 2000 (01-1) CL 1433
Wednesdays 2:00 ― 4:25 624-5713
CL 1221 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Office Hours: Mondays 10:00―11:00, Tuesdays 10:00―12:00,
Thursdays 11:00―12:00, and by appointment
Socialist realism, the fundamental method of Soviet literature and
literary criticism, demands of the artist a truthful, historically
concrete depiction of reality in its revolutionary development.
The truthfulness and historical concreteness of the artistic
depiction must be combined with the ideological remolding
and reeducation of the working people in the spirit of socialism.
Literaturnaia gazeta, 3 September 1934.
I. Course Texts and
No texts have been ordered through the University Bookstore. Since reading assignments will be located in a large number of texts, photocopies of short assigned texts will be distributed in class. Similarly, since there will be times when the two groups of students will be reading different texts, students should either obtain the texts from the university library or purchase them in advance (amazon.com/bn.com/second-hand shops off Craig Street, etc.). Books have not been placed on reserve in the library in order to facilitate individual academic and work schedules. Students are strongly urged to acquire copies of all course texts for future use.
II. Absence, Attendance, and Grades:
Students are expected to attend all classes. Excused absences due to personal illness, as well as illness or death in the family, must be documented. Absent students are required to obtain all in-class handouts and class notes for the missed session from another student; all missed assignments must be completed. In addition, students are allowed two unexcused absences ("mental health days") during the semester. The combined total of excused and unexcused absences cannot exceed three class meetings.
Students will receive a letter grade for each session of the course, in addition to letter grades for each assignment (written or oral), quizzes, exams, and essays. Session grades will be based on participation in discussion, intellectual contribution to the discussion, and the results of in-class activities/assignments. Students can review their grades with the instructor as frequently as they wish.
There will be five scheduled quizzes and unannounced quizzes throughout the semester. Quizzes will serve a number of functions: to verify completion of reading assignments, to provide periodic reviews, to introduce new information, and to provoke discussion. On specific occasions quizzes will be graded in class by other students; on others, students will administer a quiz.
Each student―in consultation with the instructor―will prepare and administer a quiz during the semester (see the Schedule of Assignments); students will be assigned dates for their quizzes on the first meeting of the class. Quizzes are to last no longer than 15 minutes. The goal of the quiz is to provide a framework for the discussion of the readings assigned for that meeting of the class. All students will take these quizzes; however, only the student composing and administering the quiz will receive a grade.
There will be two examinations in the course (see the Schedule of Assignments). Each examination will consist of two essays (printed in conformance with the guidelines in the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers [5th ed.]). The goal of the examinations is not to express an individual opinion; the goal is to elaborate a convincing argument regardless of an individual opinion.
V. Research Paper:
All students must submit a final research paper (20-30 pages) on Wednesday, 13 December 2000. Topics for the research paper must be discussed with the instructor before beginning work on the project. Paper topics can be on any aspect of socialist realism within any of the branches of the culture industry. All research papers must conform in layout, documentation, and works cited to the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (5th edition).
VI. Evaluation and Grades:
Grades will be calculated using the following percentages: daily grades (20%), quizzes (25%), examinations (25%), and final research paper (30%). Students are encouraged to meet with the instructor periodically to review their grades and progress in the course.
VII. Schedule of Assignments:
week 1: Wednesday, 30 August 2000
Introduction, description, and definition of Socialist Realism
Distribution of assignments and tasks.
Jakobson, Roman: "On Realism in Art." Readings
in Russian Poetics:Formalist
and Structuralist Views. Ed. Ladislav Matejka and Krystyna Pomorska.
Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1971: 38-46.
Lukács, Georg: "Narrate or Describe?" Writer and Critic and Other Essays. Ed. and
trans. Arthur D. Kahn. NY: Grosset & Dunlap, 1970: 110-148.
Nesterova, Elena: "The History of the Society for Itinerant Art
Itinerants: The Masters of Russian Realism, Late 19th―Early 20th Century.
Bournemouth: Parkstone Pub., 1996: 7-23.
week 2: Wednesday, 6 September 2000
Definitions: realism as aesthetic practice versus realism as ideational stance
realism versus naturalism
epic versus novel
epic's unity versus novel's totality
history versus modernity
Chernyshevkii, Nikolai: What is to be Done?
Clark, Katerina: "I. Socialist Realism Before 1932" (chapters 1-3). The Soviet Novel. 3rd
ed. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 2000: 27-89.
Engels, Friedrich and Karl Marx: Letters to Minna Kautsky, Margaret Harkness, and
Ferdinand Lassalle. Marxand Engels on Literature and Art. Moscow: Progress,
1976: 87-92, 98-107.
week 3: Wednesday, 13 September 2000
Defintions: revolutionary romanticism, critical realism, Tendenzroman
Nikolai Chernyshevskii's What is to be Done? (part one): class and individuals
Peredvizhniki: realism and revolutionary ethos (part one)
Chernyshevkii, Nikolai: What is to be Done?
Clark, Katerina: "Socialist Realism With Shores." Socialist Realism Without Shores. Ed.
Thomas Lahusen and Evgeny Dobrenko. Durham: Duke UP, 1997: 27-50.
Luker, Nicholas: Introduction. An
Anthology of Russian Neo-Realism: The "Znanie"
School of Maxim Gorky. Ann Arbor: Ardis, 1982: 9-23.
Valkenier, Elizabeth: "The Peredvizhniki Themes and Their Appeal," "The Decline of an
Ethos," and "The Native Roots of Socialist Realism" (chapters 4, 5, and 7).
Russian Realist Art: The Peredvizniki and Their Tradition. Ann Arbor: Ardis,
1977: 76-134, 165-193.
week 4: Wednesday, 20 September 2000
QUIZ # 1
Nikolai Chernyshevskii's What is to be Done? (part two): class and people
Peredvizhniki: the enthroning and dethroning of realism (part two)
Neo-Realism and Modernism
Hosking, Geoffrey: "The Socialist Realist Tradition." Beyond Socialist Realism: Soviet
Fiction Since Ivan Denisovich. NY: Holmes & Meier Pub., 1980: 1-28.
Gor'kii, Maksim: Mother.
Pudovkin, Vsevolod: Mother.
week 5: Wednesday, 27 September 2000
Maksim Gor'kii and Mother: individuals and people, class and the Party
Soviet Expressive Realism versus Soviet Socialist Realism
Clark, Katerina: "High Stalinist Culture" (chapters 4-6). The Soviet Novel. 3rd ed.
Bloomington: Indiana UP, 2000: 91-155.
Furmanov, Dmitrii: Chapaev.
Luker, Nicholas: Introduction. From
Furmanov to Sholokhov: An Anthology of the
Classics of Socialist Realism. Ann Arbor: Ardis: 1988: 11-43.
Vasil'ev, Georgii and Sergei: Chapaev
week 6: Wednesday, 4 October 2000
EXAM # 1 DUE: write two
essays (neither longer than three printed pages).
In the first essay, celebrate the
myth of Chapaev (that is, not the competing narratives of Chapaev) as
a classic example of socialist realism. In
the second, attack the myth of Chapaev
(that is, not the competing narratives of Chapaev) as a deviation from
Dmitrii Furmanov and Chapaev
The categories of socialist realism
Dzigan, Efim: We Are From Kronstadt
James, C. Vaughan: Soviet Socialist Realism: Origins and Theory. NY: St. Martin's
Press, 1973: 1-102.
Lenin, Vladimir: "Party Organization and Party Literature"
Selected speeches from the First Congress of Soviet Writers
week 7: Wednesday, 11 October 2000
QUIZ # 2
The Return of Maksim Gor'kii
The First Congress of Soviet Writers
Definitions: Party-mindedness, Class-mindedness, People-mindedness, the Positive
Kheifits, Iosif and Aleksandr Zarkhi: The
Kheifits, Iosif and Aleksandr Zarkhi: Member
of the Government
week 8: Wednesday, 18 October 2000
Socialist Realism across the Arts: Cinema of the Pre-War Years
Bown, Matthew Cullerne: "'Realistic in Form and Socialist in Content': The First Years
of Socialist Realism" (chapter 2). Socialist Realist Painting. New Haven: Yale
UP, 1998: 131-203.
week 9: Wednesday, 25 October 2000
QUIZ # 3
Socialist Realism across the Arts: Graphic Arts of the Pre-War Years
Clark, Katerina: "An Analysis of the Conventional Soviet Novel"
(chapter 7-8). The
Soviet Novel. 3rd ed. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 159-188.
Stites, Richard: "Holy War
and Cold War, 1941-1953" (chapter 4).
Culture: Entertainment and Society since 1900. Cambridge: Cambridge UP,
week 10: Wednesday, 1 November 2000
QUIZ # 4
High Stalinism and cultural policy
The Cultural Thaw of the Great Patriotic War
"On the Journals Zvezda
"On the Repertoire of Dramatic Theatres and Measures for its
"On the Film A Great Life"
"On the Opera A Great Friendship by V. Muradeli"
week 11: Wednesday, 8 November 2000
Andrei Zhdanov and Zhdanovshchina
Reconceptualizing the categories of socialist realism
The introduction of Idea-mindedness
Chiaureli, Mikhail: The Fall of
Gunther, Hans: "Wise Father Stalin and His Family in Soviet
Cinema." Socialist Realism
Without Shores. Ed. Thomas Lahusen and Evgeny Dobrenko. Durham: Duke
UP, 1997: 178-190.
Liehm, Mira and Antonin: "The Zhdanov Years: The Soviet Union,
Most Important Art: Soviet and East European Film After 1945. Berkeley: U of
California P, 1977: 47-74.
week 12: Wednesday, 15 November 2000
EXAM # 2 DUE: write two essays (neither longer than three printed pages). In the first essay, celebrate the myth of Stalin (that is, not competing narratives of Stalin) as a classic example of socialist realism. In the second, attack the myth of Stalin (that is, not the competing narratives of Stalin) as a deviation from socialist realism.
The "cult of personality" and the positive Hero
Socialist Realism across the Arts: Cinema of the Post-War Years
The Decline and Rebirth of the Film Industry
Bown, Matthew Cullerne: "Conflictlessness: The Academy Triumphant, 1945-1953"
(chapter 4). Socialist Realist Painting. New Haven: Yale UP, 1998: 219-301.
week 13: Wednesday, 22 November 2000
Socialist Realism across the Arts: Graphic Arts of the Post-War Years
Conflictlessness and Lakirovka
Clark, Katerina: "Soviet Fiction Since World War II" (chapters 9-11). The Soviet Novel.
3rd ed. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 2000: 189-250.
Shneidman, N.N.: Introduction. Soviet
Literature in the 1970s: Artistic Diversity and
Ideological Conformity. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 1979.
Solzhenitsyn Aleksandr: One
Day [in the Life] of Ivan Denisovich.
Tertz, Abram: On Socialist Realism. Intro. Czeslaw Milosz. Trans. George Dennis. NY:
week 14: Wednesday, 29 November 2000
QUIZ # 5
Abandoning Socialist Realism as a method
The modalities of Socialist Realism
Balabanov, Aleksei: Of Freaks and
Khotinenko, Vladimir: Mirror for the Hero
week 15: Wednesday, 6 December 2000
The Return of the Positive Hero and People-Mindedness
Groys, Boris: The Total Art of
Stalinism: Avant-Garde, Aesthetic Dictatorship, and
Beyond. Trans. Charles Rougle. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1992.
Sorokin, Vladimir: Norma.
week 16: Wednesday, 13 December 2000
Socialist Realism, Postmodernism, and the Return of the Avant-Garde
Final Research Paper due at
beginning of class.