The University of Pittsburgh

Department of 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: padunov@imap.pitt.edu

 

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 Library Reserve:

 

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.

 

 

 

III. Quizzes:

 

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.

 

IV. Examinations:

 

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

           

Syllabus

Introduction, description, and definition of Socialist Realism

Distribution of assignments and tasks.

 

            assignment:

            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 Exhibitions."  The

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

 

            assignment:

            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)

 

            assignment:

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

 

            assignment:

            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

 

            assignment:

            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 socialist realism.

 

Dmitrii Furmanov and Chapaev

            The categories of socialist realism

           

            assignment:

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

                        Hero

 

            assignment:

            Kheifits, Iosif and Aleksandr Zarkhi: The Baltic Deputy

            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

 

            assignment:

            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

 

            assignment:

            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).  Russian Popular

Culture: Entertainment and Society since 1900.  Cambridge: Cambridge UP,

1992: 98-122.

 

week 10: Wednesday, 1 November 2000

 

            QUIZ # 4

 

            High Stalinism and cultural policy

            The Cultural Thaw of the Great Patriotic War

 

            assignment:

            "On the Journals Zvezda and Leningrad"

            "On the Repertoire of Dramatic Theatres and Measures for its Improvement"

            "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

 

            assignment:

            Chiaureli, Mikhail: The Fall of Berlin

            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, 1945-1955."  The

                        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

 

            assignment:

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

 

            assignment:

            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:

                        Pantheon, 1960.

 

week 14: Wednesday, 29 November 2000

 

            QUIZ # 5

 

            Abandoning Socialist Realism as a method

            The modalities of Socialist Realism           

           

            assignment:

            Balabanov, Aleksei: Of Freaks and Men

Khotinenko, Vladimir: Mirror for the Hero

           

week 15: Wednesday, 6 December 2000

 

            The Return of the Positive Hero and People-Mindedness

 

            assignment:

            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.