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RSS1010 - Soviet Literature and Culture

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: Millicent Vladiv-Glover


Not offered in 2007


An introduction, from a contemporary post-Soviet perspective, to Soviet culture and society, using selected literary texts, films and slides. Issues studied include the rehabilitation of the arts of the twenties and thirties, the new position of the writer on the contemporary cultural scene and the re-evaluation of the Soviet past. The texts represent a combination of the repressed Stalinist literature and the post-Stalinist 'thaws' ('village prose,' 'young prose', the 'semiotic novel').


Upon successful completion of this unit, students will be able to distinguish between models of avant-garde, popular and mass culture in the post-revolutionary Soviet society in the 20th century. Through the analysis of films and texts, students will be able to answer questions such as What is the difference between (state) propaganda and the representation of Soviet revolutionary reality through myth? Students will also be able to use the tools of basic Structuralist theory of discourse, represented by Russian Formalism and Saussure's theory of the sign, to analyse the set texts and films.


Essay (2000 words): 40%
Class paper (to be written up in 1000 words): 20%
Examination (1.5 hours): 40%

Contact hours

3 hours per week