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World Languages and Literatures

Russian 290 - Russian Laughter: Literature & Film - Fall 2013

March 08, 2013

Undergraduate Campus


Russian Laughter:  Literature & Film

Fall ‘13, TTH 1:50-3:20 pm
Taught by:  Prof. Tatiana Osipovich

This course is taught in English and has no prerequisites


Russian literature is famous for its serious explorations of life and death, good and evil, anguish and hope. But can it be funny? Do Russians laugh? If so, what do they laugh at? Is Russian humor lost in translation? In this course you will find out that Russians not only laugh, but they also know how to make the world laugh with them.


We will read and analyze classic Russian comedies (Gogol, Chekhov, Bulgakov), humorous and satirical stories (Teffi, Zoshchenko, Erofeev), poems (Chorny, Mayakovsky, Vysotsky); and, of course, we will view and examine some of the funniest Russian films, both classic and contemporary. We will explore the aesthetics of such artistic forms as comedy, social and political satire, parody, carnival and the absurd, and we will investigate the ways in which Russian artists utilize these forms for their artistic, social and political purposes.


Course requirements (not a laughing matter): critical reading and viewing, active and intelligent participation in class discussions, two papers (a 6-page essay and a 10-page research paper) and a 10-minute class presentation based on the research paper. No final exam!

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