This course explores the ways Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881) portrays the “inner world(s)” of his characters. Dostoevsky’s psychological method will be considered against the historical, ideological, and literary contexts of middle to late nineteenth-century Russia. The course consists of three parts External World (the contexts of Dostoevsky), “Inside” Dostoevsky’s World (the author’s technique and ideas) and The World of Text (close reading of Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov). Students will write three essays on various aspects of Dostoevsky’s “spiritual realism.”
Andrei Tarkovsky is universally acknowledged to be the greatest Soviet filmmaker of the last half of the twentieth century. In Kurosawa’s assessment following Tarkovsky’s death in the late 1980s, he had “no equal among film directors alive now.” In Ingmar Bergman’s words, Tarkovsky’s work was “a miracle.” His films are beautiful, intellectually challenging, and spiritually profound. They range from Ivan’s Childhood, an exploration of wartime experience through the eyes of a child; to Solaris, a philosophical essay in the form of a science-fiction thriller; to Andrei Rublev, an investigation of the power of art and spirituality. In this course, we will study Tarkovsky’s films and life, with attention both to his formal and artistic accomplishments, his thought and writings concerning art and film, and the cultural and political contexts of his work.