OLLI at San Francisco State University
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Six Great and Classic Russian Stories (And Other Forays into Russian Literature)
Ian Singleton These stories are meant as samples, teasers for the often underrepresented (in our culture) world of Russian literature. These stories are also meant as examples of some of the unsung masters of Russian writing. Alongside well-known Russians such as Tolstoy and Chekhov, we’ll also look at the seminal work of Nikolai Gogol, the rediscovered Mikhail Bulgakov, and the other gulag writer, Varlam Shalamov. Each week’s reading will be accompanied by a poem and a writing prompt based on the story. We’ll spend half of each class discussing the story, then talk about poetry for a short segment, then we’ll write based on the prompt. This course will either cause a love for Russian literature to blossom or enrich one that already burns within a writer/student. Each class’ poem and prompt will help writers to make connections with other aspects of Russian literature, perhaps linking these undersung stories with more well-known ones. Week 1: “The Snowstorm” by Aleksandr Pushkin (will be sent before 1st class meeting) Week 2: “Viy” by Nikolai Gogol Week 3: “Kholstomer” by Leo Tolstoy Week 4: “The Kiss” by Anton Chekhov Week 5: “The Blizzard” by Mikhail Bulgakov Week 6: “The Tie” by Varlam Shalamov Ian Singleton has published short stories in journals such as Digital Americana, Midwestern Gothic, and Fiddleblack. He has also translated from Russian for the journal Asymptote and written nonfiction in Ploughshares and Word Riot. He was a student at Emerson College and the University of Michigan. Currently, he’s working on a novel about a Ukrainian-American discovering his roots.
This class is not available at this time.