College of William and Mary Spring 2012 Syllabus RUSSIAN 250: RUSSIAN MYTHS AND LEGENDS Instructor: Bella Ginzbursky-Blum ([email protected]) Washingto...
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College of William and Mary

Spring 2012 Syllabus


Bella Ginzbursky-Blum ([email protected]) Washington Hall, #240, 221-2611

Office Hours:

Tuesday/Friday 12:30 – 1:30 pm, and by appointment

Lecture Times:

MW 3:30 - 4:50 pm

WASH 201

Required Texts: Afanas’ev, Aleksandr. Russian Fairy Tales. New York: Pantheon, 1973. Ivanits, Linda J. Russian Folk Belief. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1992. Geldern, James von and Richard Stites, eds. Mass Culture in Soviet Russia. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1995. Propp, Vladimir. Morphology of the Folktale. Austin: U of Texas P, 1975. Reeder, Roberta. Russian Folk Lyrics. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1993 Stites, Richard. Russian Popular Culture: Entertainment and Society since 1900, Cambridge UP, 1992 Materials posted on the course Blackboard site. Recommended Text: Figes, Orlando. Natasha’s Dance: A Cultural History of Russia. New York: Metropolitan Books, 2002.

Bannik, or Bath-house spirit, as envisioned by a famous Russian artist, Ivan Bilibin.

Course Description and Objectives In this course you will learn to interpret many aspects of Russian folk belief from pre-Christian to post-Soviet Russia and how folklore continues influencing Russian literature, music, painting, and film. In the first part of the course you will concentrate on Russian folk belief as expressed through oral lore, visual arts, and music. The second part of the course will focus on the folktale and various typologies and approaches to folktales. The third part of the course will deal with the uses of folklore in modern Russian and Soviet culture and the interaction between the forms of traditional folklore and modern popular culture.


Russian Myths and Legends fulfills the General Education Requirement in Literature and the History of Arts (GER 5). GER 5 courses are expected to introduce students to at least two major forms, genres, cultures, or movements, and at least two methods of analysis; provide the basic vocabulary of a discipline; and teach students to apply the appropriate methodology for critical analysis. To this end, we will study Russian folktales, epic songs, folk and popular songs, literary fairy tales and films representing a variety of movements, periods, and genres in Russian folk and popular culture. We will also read secondary literature that employs different approaches, - including psychoanalytic, feminist, and structuralist theory - in understanding the folk art forms we read and view this semester. Russian Myths and Legends also fulfills the General Education Requirement in History and Culture in the European Tradition (GER 4A). GER 4 courses are expected to introduce students to major ideas, institutions, and historical events that have shaped human societies. To this end, we will discuss the major periods of Russian cultural history and address the changes in Russian traditional and modern culture and its place in the European tradition. By the end of the course you will be able to • Interpret the role of folklore at different periods of Russian cultural history; • Identify and interpret the major periods of Russian cultural history and critical events, institutions, and ideas within the periods; • Interpret the symbolic meanings of Russian pagan and Christian customs and personages; • Interpret the Russian fairytale, the epic song, and the folk lyrics; • Classify Russian folktales according to thematic and functional cycles; • Identify the major structural components of Russian fairy tales; • Explain the function of folktales in childhood development; • Discuss the ways in which folktales represent and enhance gender roles in traditional and modern Russian societies; • Discuss the transition from traditional folklore to Russian modern mass and popular culture; • Explain how and why folklore forms are recycled by the various media in Russian and Soviet culture.


Course Requirements and Policies Attendance and Class Participation. This course meets two times per week—Mondays and Wednesdays 3:30 – 4:50 pm—and each class will have both lecture and discussion. Students are expected to attend and actively participate in all classes. 3 or more absences will detract from you participation grade; more than 9 absences will result in an automatic F for the course. Because class participation amounts to 20% of your final grade all absences, including absences with a medical excuse, will count toward these totals. Homework. Your assignments will consist of primary materials (folk tales and songs, literary works, and films) and secondary texts (intellectual history and theory texts demonstrating various approaches to Russian folklore and the evolution of Russian popular and mass culture). All reading/viewing must be completed before the class for which it is assigned, and all students need to be prepared for class discussion and occasional quizzes. If you miss a class, you are responsible for getting the notes and hand-outs from your classmates. Quizzes. In addition to the 7 scheduled quizzes there will be some unannounced quizzes during the semester, but only your best seven grades will count in the end. Each quiz will last 5-10 minutes. Quizzes will consist of some of the following: true/false, multiple choice questions, identification, narrative developments, and historical and critical commentary. Students absent on the day of the quiz receive an “F” for the quiz. No quiz will be rescheduled and no make-up quizzes are permitted. Midterm and Final Examination. You will have a midterm and a final examination. Both will be in-class examinations and will consist of true/false, multiple choice, identification, and short answer questions based on the assigned readings, class lectures, and discussions. Absence on the day of the mid-term or final exam due to personal illness or family emergency must be documented; no make-up exam will be given without a medical excuse, and all make-up work must be completed in a timely fashion. W&M Honor Code Infractions. All work including on-line quizzes, in-class quizzes, and exams must be your own work, completed without the aid of unauthorized software and devices or another individual's help. Please review the W&M Honor Code Infractions at: ction_2/index.php Evaluation Class Participation 7 Quizzes Midsemester test Final Examination

20% 35% 20% 25%


MLL Departmental Scoring Guide: A AB+ B BC+ C CD+ D DF

= 93 - 100 = 90 - 92 = 87 - 89 = 83 - 86 = 80 - 82 = 77 - 79 = 73 - 76 = 70 - 72 = 68 – 69 = 66-67 = 65 = 64 and below

Campus Resources: Swem library, Reserves at the Circulation Desk Swem library, Media Center Viewing Lab

St. George slaying the dragon Victory Park, Moscow

The Final Exam is scheduled for Monday, May 7 9:00 am - 12:00 pm. The instructor reserves the right to make changes as necessary.



WEEK 1: Course Introduction Wednesday, 01/18 Topics • Course Syllabus • Early Russian History • What is folklore?

PART I: RUSSIAN FOLKLORE Reading Assignment for Week 2: Ivanits 3-82, 127-129, 136-45, 154-189 WEEK 2: Russian Folk Belief Monday, 01/23 Topics • Pagan Deities (Ivanits 3-18) • Christian Personages (Ivanits 19-37, 136-45) • The Devil (Ivanits 38-50, 154-168) • dvoeverie Wednesday, 01/25

Topics • Domestic Spirits (Ivanits 51-63, 169-177) • Nature Spirits (Ivanits 64-82, 178-189) ! Quiz #1 (on-line)

Reading Assignment for Week 3: Reeder 1-26 (V. Propp’s essay “The Russian Folk Lyric”), Editor's Notes pp.57-72, Reeder 85-104 (Calendar Songs) Reeder 109-148 (Life Cycle Songs) WEEK 3: Russian Folk Traditions And Ritual Songs Monday, 01/30 Topics • Agricultural Celebrations: beliefs, rituals, traditions, songs (Reeder, from V. Propp’s essay 1-7, Editor’s Notes #1-13 pp.57-66) (Reeder 85-104) • Clip: Andrei Rublev (Tarkovsky, 1966) Wednesday, 02/01

Topics • Peasant Life Cycle Celebrations: rituals, traditions, songs (Reeder, from V. Propp’s essay 10-26, Editor’s Notes #16-26 pp.68-72) (Reeder 109-148)


Reading Assignment for Week 4: Russian Epics (posted on Bb) Afanas'ev (see 02/06 for specific tales) Oinas 9-43 (recommended reading posted on Blackboard) Alison Hilton Russian Folk Art, Part III: Designs and Their Meanings 135-185 (on Bb) WEEK 4: Russian Folk Traditions And Songs (cont’d) Monday, 02/06 Topics • Epic Poetry • Epic Heroes • Il'ia Muromets o “Ilya Muromets and Nightingale the Robber” o “Ilya Muromets Quarrels with Prince Vladimir” • Epic Heroes in Folktales Afanas'ev o “Ilya Muromets and the Dragon” 569-75 o “Ivan the Simpleton” 142-45 Wednesday, 02/08

Topics ! Quiz #2 • Folk Art: household and decorative items, traditional materials and designs, symbols (Hilton Russian Folk Art, Part III: Designs and Their Meanings 135-185)

Viktor Vasnetsov, Bogatyri, 1898, Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow


PART II: THE RUSSIAN FOLKTALE: CLASSIFICATIONS AND APPROACHES Reading Assignment for Week 5: Haney 3-44, 85-113 (posted on Bb) Afanas'ev (see 2/13 and 2/15 for a list of specific tales) Luthi 4-36 (recommended reading posted on Bb) WEEK 5 Thematic and Stylistic Approaches to Folktales. Monday, 02/13 Topics • What is the Folktale? • Haney: Thematic Approach to the Folktale • Animal Tales and the Tales of Everyday Life • Clip: Fox and Rabbit (Norstein 1973) Afanas’ev o “The Crane and the Heron” 66 o “The Bear” 74-75 o “The Spider” 75-76 o “The Cat, the Cock, and the Fox” 86-88 o “The Fox, the Hare, and the Cock” 192-94 o “Little Sister Fox and the Wolf” 371-75 o “The Bun” 447-449 o o o o Wednesday, 02/15

“The Bad Wife” 56-57 “The Miser” 58-59 “The Nobleman and the Peasant” 59-61 “Ivanushko, the Little Fool” 62-65

Topics • Luthi: Stylistic Approach to the Folktale • Wondertales • Clip: Andrei Rublev (Tarkovsky, 1966, Chapter “Buffoon”) Afanas’ev o “Baba Yaga and the Brave Youth” 76-79 o “Baba Yaga” 194-95 o “Jack-Frost” 366-69 o “Prince Ivan, the Firebird, and the Grey Wolf” 612-24 o “Vasilisa the Beautiful” 439-47 ! Quiz #3 (on-line)

Reading Assignment for Week 6: Bettelheim 102-11, 78-83, 90-96 (posted on Bb) Afanas'ev (see 2/20 and 2/22 for a list of specific tales)


WEEK 6 Psychoanalytic Approach to Folktales Monday, 02/20 Topics • Freudian Readings of Folktales • Youngest Child Fairy Tales (Bettelheim 102-11) • Ivan the Fool Afanas’ev o “The Three Kingdoms” 49-53 o “Ivanushko, the Little Fool” 62-65 o “Baba Yaga and the Brave Youth” 76-79 o “The Wicked Sisters” 356-60 o “Prince Ivan, the Firebird, and the Grey Wolf” 612-24 Wednesday, 02/22

Topics ! Quiz #4 • Brother and Sister Tales (Bettelheim 78-83) • Tales of Two Brothers (Bettelheim 90-96) Afanas’ev o “Misery” 20-24 o “The Armless Maiden” 294-99 o “The Magic Swan Geese” 349-51 o “Sister Alionushka, Brother Ivanushka” 406-410 o “Two Ivans, Soldier's Sons” 463-75

Reading Assignment for Week 7: Propp 19-24, 149-55 Lieberman, “Some Day My Prince Will Come” 185-200 (posted on Bb) Warner, “Wicked Stepmothers” 218-40 (posted on Bb) Afanas'ev (see 02/27 and 02/29 for specific tales) When you read the tales for Monday, identify functions described by Propp in his work on folktale’s morphology. WEEK 7 Structuralist And Feminist Approaches To Wondertales Monday, 02/27 Topics • Structuralist Approach to Folktales (Propp) Afanas’ev o “The Crystal Mountain” 482-84 o “The Frog Princess” 119-23 o “The Magic Swan Geese” 349-51 Wednesday, 02/29

Topics • Feminism and the Study of Fairy Tales (Lieberman and Warner) • “Bad Wife” tales • “Wise Maiden” tales • “Wicked Stepmother” tales Afanas’ev o “The Bad Wife” 56-57 o “The Taming of the Shrew” 161-62 o “The Wise Little Girl” 252-55 o “Jack Frost” 366-369 o “Vasilisa the Beautiful” 439-447 o “The Goldfish” 528-32 o “The Feather of Finist, the Bright Falcon” 580-588 8

WEEK 8 Monday-Friday, 03/05-03/09

Spring Break

Ivan Bilibin, Baba Yaga (1902)

PART III: FOLK CULTURE AND MODERNITY Reading Assignment for Week 9: Zenkovsky 43-73, 101-108 (posted on Bb) Kollman "The Cap of Monomakh" (posted on Bb) Flier "Church of the Intercession on the Moat/ St. Basil's Cathedral" (posted on Bb) WEEK 9 Monday, 03/12 Wednesday, 03/14

Russian Orthodox Culture Mid-Term Exam Topics • Mythmaking and the Creation of the Russian State • Medieval Written Culture • Hagiographic Heroes (Zenkovsky 43-73, 101-108 posted on Bb) • Icon Painting • The Cap of Monomakh • St. Basil’s Cathedral


Reading Assignment for Week 10: Orlando Figes. Natasha’s Dance (pp.xxv-xxxiii, and pp.4-26, 101-118 posted on Bb) Hughes "From Tsar to Emperor: Portraits of Aleksei and Peter I" (posted on Bb) Geldern and McReynolds 23-31, 41-43, 221-230 (posted on Bb) Afanas'ev “The Wicked Sisters” 356-60 Pushkin “Tsar Saltan” (posted on Bb) Pushkin Ruslan and Liudmila (posted on Bb) WEEK 10 Russian Modern Culture; Folk Motifs in Literature Monday, 03/19 Topics • Modern Russia • Mythmaking and the Royal Image • Peter the Great and Westernization (Figes, pp.xxv-xxxiii, and pp.4-26, 101-118 posted on Bb) • Machine Production and Pulp Heroes (Geldern and McReynolds • The Tale of Vanka Kain, 23-31 • Stenka Razin, 41-43 • The Terrible Bandit Churkin, 221-230 all posted on Bb) Wednesday, 03/21

Topics • Folklore and Romanticism • The Search for the National Literary Language • The Writer as Hero • Tale in Verse Pushkin o “Tsar Saltan” (posted on Bb) Afanas'ev o “The Wicked Sisters” 356-60 • Pushkin's Mock-epic o Ruslan and Liudmila (posted on Bb)

Reading Assignment for Week 11: Gogol, The Night Before Christmas (posted on Bb) Orlando Figes. Natasha’s Dance (pp.150-182, 220-236 posted on Bb) WEEK 11 Folk Motifs in Literature, Art, and Music Monday, 03/26 Topics • Folk themes in Russian Literature (cont’d) • Nikolai Gogol • Folk Belief in Gogol's tales o The Night Before Christmas (posted on Bb) ! Quiz #5 (on-line) Wednesday, 03/28

Topics • National Identity and Folk Renewal • Idealization of Folk Life • “Going to the People” campaign • Folk Motifs in Art and Music – the Mighty Five and the Itinerants 10

Reading Assignment for Week 12: Orlando Figes. Natasha’s Dance (pp. 255-287 posted on Bb in Week 11 folder) Stites 9-27 Wendy Salmond. Arts and Crafts in the Late Imperial Russia (pp.1-45 posted on Bb) Geldern and McReynolds 42-43 (posted on Bb) WEEK 12 Folk Motifs in Commerce and in Artistic Experimentation Monday, 04/02 Topics • Historical Background (Russian Capitalism in the early 20th Century) • Urban and Rural Culture • Commercialization of Folk Arts • Experimental Art and Folklore • Traditional Songs as Entertainment o “Stenka Razin” (42-43 in Geldern and McReynolds) • Early Film Industry o Sten’ka Razin (Drankov 1908) Wednesday, 04/04

Topics ! Quiz # 6 • Experimental Art and Folklore (cont’d) • Malevich • Bilibin • Experimental Ballet and Ballet Russe

Assignment for Week 13: Stites 9-63 Geldern and Stites (for specific texts see 04/09 and 04/11) WEEK 13 Political Experiment and Folklore Ivan Bilibin, Morozko Monday, 04/09 Topics • Historical Background (The Revolutions of 1917) • Bolsheviks’ views on Popular Culture and Folklore • Russian Political Poster Art • Tales, Songs, and Theater of Social Transition Geldern and Stites o “The War of Kings” 6-12 o “Send off: A Red Army Song” 13-14 o “Little Apple” 15-16 o “The Brick Factory” 69-70 o “Blue Blouse Skit” 85-86 o “Buzzer-Fly” 52-54 Wednesday, 04/11

Stalinism: Folklore and Totalitarian Culture Topics • Rehabilitation of Folk Culture (or Fakelore) • Soviet Epics and Fairy Tales Geldern and Stites o “Chapaev” 280-83 o “Tale of the Pole” 287-91 o “The Chuvash Peasant and the Eagle” 325-26 11

Assignment for Week 14: Stites 64-97 Clark 136-141, 147-152 (posted on Bb) Kononov The New Year’s Tree in Sokolniki School (posted on Bb) Geldern and Stites (for specific texts see 04/16 and 04/18) Prokhorov Film in Russia and the Soviet Union, 1896-2007(posted on Bb) Widdis "The Cinematic Pastoral of the 1930s" (posted on Bb) Circus (Alexandrov, 1936, on reserve at Swem) Old Genie Khottabych (Kazanskii 1956, 86 min., on reserve at Swem) WEEK 14 Stalinism: Folklore and Totalitarian Culture (cont’d) Monday, 04/16 Topics • Cult of the Leader and Folk Belief • The Revival of the New Year Celebrations • Lenin in Folktales o Kononov “The New Year’s Tree in Sokolniki School” Geldern and Stites o “V.I.Ulyanov (N.Lenin). Childhood and Grade School” 112-14 o “Leninist Fairy Tales” 123-27 • Hagiography: Martyrdom Tales Geldern and Stites o “Pavlik Morozov” 153-55 Wednesday, 04/18

Topics • Mythmaking in Stalinist Cinema and Song • Cinema For The Masses: Fairytale Has Become Reality • Soviet Mass Song Geldern and Stites o “Song of the Motherland” 271-72 ! Quiz #7 (on-line)

Assignment for Week 15: Stites 123-135, 143-168 Shukshin, Before the Cock Crows Thrice (posted on Blackboard) Morozko (Rou 1964, 84 min, on reserve at Swem) Kidnapping Caucasian Style (Gaidai 1968, 100 min, on reserve at Swem) WEEK 15 Folk Genres And Popular Culture After Stalin Monday, 04/23 Topics • Historical Background (Destalinization) • Folk Motifs in Literature after Stalin • Vasily Shukshin o Before the Cock Crows Thrice • The Soviet Anecdote Wednesday, 04/25

Final Exam

Topics • Bard singers: the Vysotsky cult and magnitizdat • Folk Motifs in Post-Stalinist Soviet Films

-- Monday, May 7 9:00 am - 12:00 pm 12