Contribution of the course to the overall degree programme goals
We intend to introduce students to the work of Boris Pasternak (1890-1960), one of the greatest poets of the twentieth century, and to provide instruments for the interpretation of his poetry, prose and criticism. The course, through a broad historical-cultural framework of the different phases of the Russian-Soviet culture in which Pasternak lived, aims to bring students closer to the complex system of procedures and meanings that characterizes Pasternak’s works. Our textual analysis will aim at both explaining his individual compositions and reflecting methodologically on how to read 20th-century Russian poetry.
In terms of knowledge and understanding, the teaching, which falls among the basic courses of the Master's Degree Course in European, American and Postcolonial Languages and Literatures, is in line with the educational objectives of the degree program and aims at:
- a knowledge and understanding of 20th-century Russian artistic-literary culture from the October Revolution to the "thaw," taking into account the historical context indispensable for developing interpretive and textual analysis skills;
- a specialized knowledge and understanding – in the original language – of examples of Russian poetry and lyric prose from the first half of the 20th century: in-depth study of the theoretical aspects treated during the three-year period, methods of textual analysis, links between history of literature and history of culture;
- a knowledge and understanding of the terminology of textual analysis and literary criticism.
Expected learning outcomes
Students are expected to acquire:
- an ability to translate literary texts and essays on literary-cultural topics from Russian into Italian;
- an ability to draw from the texts the main features of the author's poetics and of the literary currents in which the author worked;
- an ability to perform competent bibliographic research on sources in Russian;
- an ability to deal with high-level professional situations in intercultural areas.
The student’s acquired skills will be qualitatively increased by interacting with Italian and foreign speakers invited to hold lessons within the course or laterally to it.
Students are required to have a B2 knowledge of Russian language. Knowledge of the principal events and social issues of the last three centuries of Russian history is necessary.
The course will primarily focus on the works and life of Pasternak. This includes the study of his biography and the evolution of his writing; the contexts of his works (the literary debate prior to the Revolution, his contacts with other authors and currents, the different historical phases, the early phase of Soviet culture, the Thaw); the reception of his works during his lifetime and subsequent critical acclaim. The basic concepts of poetry analysis will be covered and illustrated with examples.
- B. Pasternak, Il dottor Živago. Milano: Feltrinelli, qualunque anno di edizione (indifferentemente nella traduzione di Pietro Zveteremich o di Serena Prina).
- una scelta di testi da: B. Pasternak, Poesie. A cura di A. M. Ripellino; con un saggio di C. G. De Michelis. Torino: Einaudi, 2009.
- B. Pasternak, Il salvacondotto. Roma : Editori riuniti 1980, oppure Firenze: Passigli 1998.
- B. Pasternak, Quintessenza: saggi sulla letteratura e sull’arte. A cura di C.G. De Michelis. Venezia: Marsilio, 1990.
- un testo a scelta tra i seguenti:
1. B. Pasternak, L’infanzia di Ženja Ljuvers e altri racconti. Postfazione di V. Strada. Milano: A. Mondadori, 1993;
2. Marina Cvetaeva, Boris Pasternak, Rainer Maria Rilke, Il settimo sogno: lettere 1926. A cura di Konstantin Azadovskij, Elena e Evgenij Pasternak ; edizione italiana a cura di Serena Vitale. Roma: Editori riuniti, 1994 (o edizioni precedenti);
3. B. Pasternak, Autobiografia. Traduzione di Sergio D’Angelo. Milano : Feltrinelli, 2007 (o edizioni precedenti).
- L. Fleishman, Boris Pasternak. Bologna: Il mulino, 1993
- due saggi a scelta da: La Russia di Pasternak: dal futurismo al Dottor Živago. A cura di Cz. Miłosz e V. Strada. Milano: Feltrinelli,1999.
Students will sit for an oral exam testing the following: a clear understanding of the evolution of the history and literature of the period spanning from the reign of Nicholas II to the Thaw (25%); a detailed understanding of the author’s biography and literary development as well as his artistic and literary entourage, referred to during the course (25%); and, an in-depth understanding of the set texts (50%).
Traditional classroom lectures held by the teacher, during which Students are free to participate with questions and observations. In-depth materials or suggestions for further reading can be communicated through the Moodle Platform.
The cycle of lectures of mod. 1 and mod. 2 are held one after the other, respectively on the first and second half of the semester.
Last update of the programme