Art & Revolution: From Paris to St. Petersburg

Term: Spring 2009

Subject Code: GLIB

Course Number: 5530

This course is about the Russian revolution: the ideas behind it, the events that set it in motion, the astonishing cultural and artistic experiments that emerged in its wake. We will begin with the earlier revolution that served as model to the Russian: the French one of 1789, and the vision of total societal transformation it unleashed on the world. We will leap more than a century, into Russia�s decaying imperial regime, exploded, in 1917, by a mass popular revolution, followed by an engineered revolutionary coup - followed in turn by wars of doctrine fought amid chaos. We will examine eyewitness accounts of these events by journalists and memoirists; compare analyses from historians and revolutionary activitists; and encounter the radical attempts, by artists in several media, to delineate the confounding new world of the revolution�s aftermath, even as they questioned the very artistic languages they worked in. Course authors and auteurs include historian/critics T.J. Clark, Hanna Arendt, Edmund Wilson, Geoffrey Hosking; journalists John Reed, Emma Goldman, Mikhail Zoshchenko; memoirists Viktor Shklovsky, Vladimir Nabokov, Nadezhda Mandelstam; musicians Igor Stravinsky, Sergei Prokofiev; artists Kazimir Malevich, Natalia Goncharova; poets Aleksandr Blok, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Anna Akhmatova, Marina Tsvetayeva, Osip Mandelstam; filmmakers Esther Shub, Sergei Eisenstein,Vsevolod Pudovkin, Dziga Vertov.


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