This course name and description ONLY applies to academic year 2016-2017

RU 13186-1: The Devil Made Me Do It: Demons in Russian Literature

This course is not currently available. Please visit the Courses section for current offerings.

Instructor: Thomas Gaiton Marullo

“The Devil Made Me Do It. Demons in Russian Literature” focuses on demons and demonology in Russian fiction from medieval to modern times. Works include writings by Mikhail Lermontov, Nikolai Gogol, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Leo Tolstoi, Fyodor Sologub, and Mikhail Bulgakov.

Topics to be considered are: the nature and personality of the devil (physical, supernatural, psychological, and existential; romantic, real, modern, and post-modern); his departure from archetypal models, images, and ideas (folk and religious); his views on art and truth, heaven and hell (political, social, economic, philosophical, and theological); his plans of action for country and city, for men, women, and children, and for aristocrats, peasants, teachers, philistines, and politicians; his stances toward God, church, saints and sinners; his penchants for mischief, chaos, evil and good; and his messages for society and humankind.

Additional questions are: how do men and women regard the Evil One? Is he feared, admired, imitated, or ridiculed? Is he seen as an imp, a clown, a tempter, a trickster, a teacher, a savior, a fallen angel, a figment of the imagination, or the voice of conscience and morality? Is he regarded as good, bad, indifferent, redeemable, or damned irrevocably? Is he deemed as vital as God for the well-being of church, society, and the world?

“The Devil Made Me Do It: Demons in Russian Literature” also includes a strong visual component: selections from the Internet on the art, drama, operas, and movies of the works in the course.

The seminar is designed to sharpen students' aesthetic and analytical capabilities, improve their reading comprehension, and strengthen their written and oral skills.