Classics of Russian Literature : The Great Courses: Western Literature

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Irwin Weil
  • Series: The Great Courses: Western Literature
  • 17 hrs and 28 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

Russian literature famously probes the depths of the human soul, and in this series of 36 insightful lectures prepared by a frequently honored teacher legendary among educators in both the United States and Russia - you probe just as deeply into the extraordinary legacy that is Russian Literature itself.
Professor Weil introduces you to masterpieces such as Tolstoy's War and Peace, Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, Pushkin's Eugene Onegin, Gogol's Dead Souls, Chekhov's The Seagull, Pasternak's Doctor Zhivago, and many other great novels, stories, plays, and poems.
In all, you plunge into more than 40 works by a dozen writers, from Aleksandr Pushkin in the 19th century to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in the 20th century. You also investigate the origin of Russian literature itself, which traces its lineage back to powerful epic poetry and beautiful renderings of the Bible into Slavic during the Middle Ages.
All of these works are treated in translation, but Professor Weil does something very unusual in the literature-in-translation arena. For almost every passage that he quotes in English, he reads an extract in the original Russian, with a fluent accent and an actor's sense of drama.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Excellent Course, But Gaping Hole Without Bulgakov

Leaving Bulgakov out of a Russian Lit Lineup is pretty much akin to leaving Iron Man out of an Avengers movie.

That aside, I loved this course. The only downside was the lack of coverage of Bulgakov, as a result of his being banned for so long in the Soviet Union (and virtually unknown in the west at the time the professor was working on his PhD). The author didn't so much as mention him.

This covers everyone from Pushkin to Solzhenitsyn, providing incredible historical context, perfectly pronounced Russian phrases and poems, and an in-depth walk through *almost* all the best Russian works.

I lived in Ukraine for 10 years, and this course still opened my eyes to a lot more about the Russian culture I was unaware of. It's brilliant, funny, educational, and insightful. Anyone vaguely interested in the history and/or literature of this part of the world should pick this up now. 36 amazing half-hour lectures for one credit is a steal!
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- Nate

This is really special!

Who was Gorky? What made Tolstoy tick? Why was Pushkin a great poet?
If you have any interest at all in great literature, get this course! Prof. Weil not only delivers a compelling study of these and many other authors, but does so in English and Russian (which he speaks so beautifully you might feel compelled to try it yourself). The history and literature of this tragic country has never been told with such understanding and respect ( governments not withstanding). I can not recommend enough! Get this book! But be ready, now its time to listen to War and Peace, Dr Zhivago, The Brother Karamazov, and The Gulag Archipelago, and about fifteen others! Can't wait!
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- Cookie "Cookie"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-08-2013
  • Publisher: The Great Courses