Courses and Seminars
For several years, Natalya Sukhonos was a Teaching Fellow in my introductory humanities course “Journeys,” and I cannot speak highly enough of her erudition, her zestful approach to teaching and learning, and her unfailing warmth, generosity, and high spirits. I wish my children had enjoyed the gift of a class with Dr. Sukhonos, and that is the highest praise I can give.
A sample of recent courses
Seminars on Nikolai Gogol
March 5, 2021
The whole of Russian literature, according to the Russian critic Belinsky, emerged from Gogol’s “The Overcoat.” One of the foundational writers of the Russian 19th century, Nikolai Gogol is unabashedly romantic and darkly humorous. His Saint Petersburg tales are absurdist and satirical. They are filled with enigmas that force the reader to ponder the quagmire of bureaucracy while rooting for the forgotten everyman. At the same time, Gogol’s stories leave us with paradoxes and questions unanswered. Gogol’s roots in the Ukrainian folk oral tradition enrich his writing.
Vladimir Nabokov referred to Gogol’s “The Overcoat” as the greatest Russian short story ever written. Indeed, Gogol’s work has influenced Bulgakov, Dostoevsky, and writers beyond the Russian canon such as Jonathan Safran Foer and Isaac Bashevis Singer. Please join me for a seminar this winter, as we climb into Gogol’s “The Overcoat” and try it on for size. The reading will be provided in advance, and the format of the seminar will feature a 10-minute lecture followed by a lively and nuanced discussion. Please register by February 28, 2021, at least 5 days in advance.
A follow-up to the previous seminar, this seminar will be an investigation of Nikolai Gogol’s “The Nose”. We will specifically look for connections to “The Overcoat”, as well as explore the notion of metafiction and the role of humor in Gogol’s work.
Ongoing Russian Poetry Seminar
I am also teaching a semi-private Russian Poetry Seminar where we explore poetic techniques in Russian literature with an eye on historical and cultural context. So far, we’ve done Alexander Pushkin’s The Bronze Horseman and will move onto Eugene Onegin.