405 – Introduction to Russian Literature (Spring 2022)

Instructor: Dr. Carol Reynolds
Term: 5 Week Course
Time: Thursdays 7:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m. EDT.
Dates: January 6–February 3

With so much well-deserved attention on Dostoevsky (Crime and Punishment, Brothers Karamazov) and Tolstoi (War and Peace, Anna Karenina), it could be surmised that these two authors created Russian literature! But before them, a dashing, ill-fated poet named Alexander Pushkin set Russian literature afire, especially with Eugene Onegin, Russia’s most significant novelOther writers took up the mantel, particularly the astute storyteller Ivan Turgenev who penned Fathers and Sons, arguably the best story of inter-generational conflict, contrasting the patriots of the Napoleonic Era with their indulged sons steeped in nihilistic Romanticism. As we read and connect these two works, we will walk with Pushkin and Turgenev through the languid meadows of Russia’s countryside as well as the glittering streets of St. Petersburg, seeking a literary understanding of the nineteenth-century “Russian soul.” 

608 – The Art of Right Living: The Study of Ethics and Moral Values

In this course we will attempt to formulate as a science what is really an art: the art of right living. We will reflect on the question, “How ought we to live? What is the good life for man?” This question, however, will draw us into further perennial questions about the very nature of goodness and duty, right action and right feeling, freedom and fate. These questions have been central to the conversation of the Great Books since the time when man learned to write, and we will see the same themes arise repeatedly in our texts over thousands of years. Hence, students will be asked to reflect both on their own answers to these questions and on the unfolding history of the questions themselves.

We will read: Plato, LachesGorgias; Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics I–III, X; Epictetus, Discourses; Aquinas, Summa Theologica I-II QQ.1–5; Hobbes, Leviathan (selections); Montaigne, Essays (selections); Spinoza, Ethics Part V; Locke, Essay Concerning Human Understanding (selections); Kant, Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of MoralsCritique of Practical Reason, I.II; Hegel, Philosophy of Right III.I; Mill, Utilitarianism; Darwin, The Descent of Man I.IV–V.