What are some good shorter works to include in a Russian Literature unit?
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Now, I need shorter works (such as essays, poems, or short stories) to include with the unit. I'm thinking maybe some Chekhov stories or Pasternak poems...but the question is which ones? Or is there something better out there that is appropriate for high school students?
Please let all of your suggestions have English translations readily available.
I would recommend the following: ( I do not have much experience with that age group, so take what i say under advisement)
Gogol: The Nose
Pushkin: The Bronze Horseman
Solzhenitsyn: A day in the life of Ivan Denisovitch
Akhmatova: Requiem (or selections from it: it's quite long)
Pasternak (anything, but maybe the Zhivago poems are a god introduction)
let me know if you need anymore help.
The grasshopper, Agafya, the lady with a lapdog, ward no.6. there are loads more.
Also, 'The overcoat' and ' diary of a madman' by Gogol are good.
Taman' by Mikhail Lermontov (from A Hero of Our Time)
Okkervil River or Peters by Tatiana Tolstaya (from On the Golden Porch)
Three twentieth-century poets who might appeal:
Vladimir Mayakovsky - very self-aggrandising, but that might appeal to students of that age!
Andrei Voznesensky - for example, "I am Goya"
Hope these suggestions help,
The Enchanted Wanderer
Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk
The Steel Flea
Fathers and Sons- Ivan Turgenev
The Queen of Spades- Alexander Pushkin
The Overcoat- Nikolai Gogol
The Red-Haired Man- Daniil Kharms
Past One O'Clock- Vladimir Mayakovsky
I Know the Truth- Marina Tsvetaeva
March- Boris Pasternak
btw, I just posted a review of Fathers and Sons, here, amanda, if you are interested.
I just wanted to add that in Freshman year of high school I had a teacher who assigned me to do a research paper on Mayakovsky, and yes, his pompous and surreal poetry was like catnip to me at the time.
Taras Bulba/The Carriage-Gogol
How Much Land Does a Man Need?/25144::Hadji Murat-Tolstoy
The Diary of a Superfluous Man/A Lear of the Steppes-Turgenev
The Steppe/In the Ravine-Chekhov
The Kreutzer Sonata by Tolstoy is a great short story as is The Gambler by Dostoevsky.
I just read a collection of Soviet satires called The Fatal Eggs and Other Soviet Satire, it is a collection of short stories, satirizing various aspects of the government of the time. It really is an amazing collection, the title story The Fatal Eggs is by Mikhail Bulgakov but there are a lot of great Soviet era authors featured. It would be an interesting thing for students to read, to see that the great tradition of Russian literature continued through some very difficult times. And the great thing about this collection is, is that it goes into the fates of some of these authors, the struggles they had with the censors and other officials, how some of them were jailed, others kicked out of the country, some killed themselves and some bowed to the pressure and sold their creative souls to the State. Really, a fascinating read.
Not to say they are bad book - but come on, is there nothing better than them?
Pushkin: The Captain's Daughter - a wonderful story especially if it is read in Russian.
Or how about anything by Anatoly Naumovich Rybakov- like Dirk or Bronze Bird.
There are also great science fiction stories by Sergei Lukyanenko and Ivan Antonovich Yefremov.
Well that's my opinion...
Also if you like these books, I highly recommend works by Kir Bulychev specifically One Hundred Years Ahead.
There was a film made from it that became a cult phenomenon in late 80s
If you can get your hands on a subbed or better yet, dubbed copy it will defiantly be worth your time.
I don't think something like that actually exists....but then there is alot of things I don't know about in this world :P
I heard that its a very strange book. Does anyone have any opinions on it?
Two Russian short story writers I hadn't read when I first commented on this post are Viktor Pelevin and Ludmilla Petrushevskaya, both of whose work would fit well in such a unit. I really enjoyed the latter's collection There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor's Baby: Scary Fairy Tales, which I reviewed (in translation) here:
I know that his novel - 'Rose of the World' deals with mystic subjects like the devil, demons and the church - a very un-common theme for Soviet literature of the time. I know that he had written in while living in prison and I believe he considered the work to be a 'gift'. In other words it was conveyed to him from above, but not in a religious sense more in a world beyond visible world type of a motif.
Now there is something else that is very interesting about this individual.
His father was Leonid Nikolaievich Andreyev. Who was also a writer and whose work had influence on an American author named H.P. Lovecraft.
Andreyev's work was found in Lovecraft's library when he died.
Now for anyone who doesn't know Lovecraft, he was the author whose tales were printed in Weird Tales magazine. He is the one who developed the Cthulhu Mythos - Elder Gods, etc.
Now Lovecraft work directly influenced many of today's horror and mystery writers primarily Stephen King. You can actually see Lovecraft's ideas being developed in such works as Jerusalem's Lot - (the short story, not Salom's Lot) and in IT and in Dark Tower.
Not sure where I'm going with all this, but I find this to be very interesting and I do love King's work. :)
As for the book 'Rose of the World' - i have gotten a copy, but didn't have a chance to read it. I will as soon as I finish Herodotus. I will perhaps make a thread here after and maybe write my opinion on the work.... that is if anyone is interested...
Anywho, that is my 50 cents for now. :)
A friend of mine has recently set up an e-publishing company called Rosa Mira Books - I checked here:
and the name is indeed inspired by Daniil Andreyev's book! So I shall ask her what in particular about it inspired her to choose this name.
Summary: "The glorifying of violence for its own sake, the contempt for women, the anti-Semitism, and the bloody nationalism make for about as repellent a stew as I can imagine."
I never called it nice. I hope you don't only read the nice stuff. And if you did what corner of the world would you isolated yourself to in order to maintain the niceness of it. The world is as it has always been.
But I see this is recommendations for a high school curriculum. Probably not appropriate. Yet, heaven forbid a piece of writing engages a person to try and understand ways people did and even still act, not just some cookie-cutter parable for easy teaching and test-taking.
I read it from The Complete Tales of Nikolai Gogol that was edited by Leonard Kent, so...not sure that's abridged or not.
It doesn't invalidate Gogol's achievements as a writer, but the world has changed since his day -- at least I hope so -- so as readers each of us has to decide what amount of poisonous attitudes we find palatable. Gogol has written other splendid stories which are less ideologically problematic, so I can understand Hat's inclination to recommend skipping this particular one.
But like I said before not much has changed. I know in my country there's a belief that we are better than previous generations but religious intolerance, racial hatred seems as strong as it's ever been.
Yes, as a matter of fact I have read most of those things, and as a fan of Russian literature I obviously don't mind "unpleasant subject matter"; the way you ask the question is, frankly, insulting and confirms my impression of your general attitude. What spiphany surmises about my own position is quite correct. Let me ask you a question in return: have you read Mein Kampf? If so, did you enjoy it? Would you recommend it to high school students? You're going to tell me that's quite a leap, but I don't think it's as much of one as all that. The attitude of the narrator in Taras Bulba is frankly genocidal, and there's no indication that Gogol is ironizing it or distancing himself from it in the least. I'm not telling you what to read or enjoy, and I'll thank you to extend me the same courtesy.
Anyway, I was just questioning the somewhat histrionic nature of your statement: "I just read this old thread and was horrified by all the raves for Taras Bulba."
Here's some interesting reading on this work:
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