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Russian literature famously probes the depths of the human soul, and in this series of 36 insightful lectures prepared by a frequently honored teacher legendary among educators in both the United States and Russia - you probe just as deeply into the extraordinary legacy that is Russian Literature itself. Professor Weil introduces you to masterpieces such as Tolstoy's War a Russian literature famously probes the depths of the human soul, and in this series of 36 insightful lectures prepared by a frequently honored teacher legendary among educators in both the United States and Russia - you probe just as deeply into the extraordinary legacy that is Russian Literature itself. Professor Weil introduces you to masterpieces such as Tolstoy's War and Peace, Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, Pushkin's Eugene Onegin, Gogol's Dead Souls, Chekhov's The Seagull, Pasternak's Doctor Zhivago, and many other great novels, stories, plays, and poems. In all, you plunge into more than 40 works by a dozen writers, from Aleksandr Pushkin in the 19th century to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in the 20th century. You also investigate the origin of Russian literature itself, which traces its lineage back to powerful epic poetry and beautiful renderings of the Bible into Slavic during the Middle Ages. All of these works are treated in translation, but Professor Weil does something very unusual in the literature-in-translation arena. For almost every passage that he quotes in English, he reads an extract in the original Russian, with a fluent accent and an actor's sense of drama.


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Russian literature famously probes the depths of the human soul, and in this series of 36 insightful lectures prepared by a frequently honored teacher legendary among educators in both the United States and Russia - you probe just as deeply into the extraordinary legacy that is Russian Literature itself. Professor Weil introduces you to masterpieces such as Tolstoy's War a Russian literature famously probes the depths of the human soul, and in this series of 36 insightful lectures prepared by a frequently honored teacher legendary among educators in both the United States and Russia - you probe just as deeply into the extraordinary legacy that is Russian Literature itself. Professor Weil introduces you to masterpieces such as Tolstoy's War and Peace, Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, Pushkin's Eugene Onegin, Gogol's Dead Souls, Chekhov's The Seagull, Pasternak's Doctor Zhivago, and many other great novels, stories, plays, and poems. In all, you plunge into more than 40 works by a dozen writers, from Aleksandr Pushkin in the 19th century to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in the 20th century. You also investigate the origin of Russian literature itself, which traces its lineage back to powerful epic poetry and beautiful renderings of the Bible into Slavic during the Middle Ages. All of these works are treated in translation, but Professor Weil does something very unusual in the literature-in-translation arena. For almost every passage that he quotes in English, he reads an extract in the original Russian, with a fluent accent and an actor's sense of drama.

15 review for Classics of Russian Literature

  1. 5 out of 5

    Bettie

    Slavic history shows us many characters of which more than a few were an onion short of a cathedral, so what's not to love here. Irwin Weil loves his subject, lives it with a passion, and has a fair singing voice too. Lecture 6 really did it for me: Pushkin proclaimed at an early age that he, in his present day, was the embodiment of genius that visited Mozart. Pushkin's work on Mozart is the basis for Schaffer's 'Amadeus'. Lecture 1: Origins of Russian Literature Lecture 2: The Church and the Fo Slavic history shows us many characters of which more than a few were an onion short of a cathedral, so what's not to love here. Irwin Weil loves his subject, lives it with a passion, and has a fair singing voice too. Lecture 6 really did it for me: Pushkin proclaimed at an early age that he, in his present day, was the embodiment of genius that visited Mozart. Pushkin's work on Mozart is the basis for Schaffer's 'Amadeus'. Lecture 1: Origins of Russian Literature Lecture 2: The Church and the Folk in Old Kiev Lecture 3: Alexsandr Sergeevich Pushkin 1799-1837 Lecture 4: Exile, Rustic seclusion and Onegin Lecture 5: December's Uprising and Two Poets Meet Lecture 6: A Poet Contrasts Talent and Mediocrity Lecture 7: St. Petersburg Glorified and Death Embraced Lecture 8: Nikolai Vasil'evitch Gogol 1809-1852 Lecture 9: Russian Grotesque - Overcoats to Dead Souls Lecture 10: Fedor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky 1821-1881 Lecture 11: Near mortality, Prison, and an Underground Lecture 12: Second wife, and a Great New Novel begins Lecture 13: Inside the Troubled Mind of a Criminal Lecture 14: The Generation of the Karamazovs Lecture 15: The Novelistic Presence of Christ and Satan Lecture 16: Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy (1828 - 1910) Lecture 17: A Tale of Two Cities and a Country Home Lecture 18: Family Life Meets Military Life with War and Peace Lecture 19: Vengeance is Mine, Saith the Lord: Anna Karenina Lecture 20: Family life makes a comeback Lecture 21: Tolstoy the Preacher Lecture 22: Ivan Sergeevich Turgenev 1818 - 1883 Lecture 23: The stresses between two generations Lecture 24: Anton Pavlovich Chekhov 1860-1904 Lecture 25: M Gorky (Aleksei M Peshkov) 1868-1936 Lecture 26: Literature and Revolution Lecture 27: The Tribune Vladimir Maiakovsky 1893-1930 Lecture 28: The Revolution makes a U turn Lecture 29: Mikhail Aleksandrovich Sholokhov 1905-1984 Lecture 30: Revolutions and Civil War Lecture 31: Mikhail Mikhailovich Zoshchenko 1894-1958 Lecture 32: Among the Godless Lecture 33: Pasternak 1890-1960 Lecture 34: The Poet in and Beyond Society Lecture 35: Solzhenitsyn 1918-2008 Lecture 36: The Many Colours of Russian Literature MY PHOTO: Pushkin Peter the Great killed his son and built on a swamp... comme il faut adj. Being in accord with conventions or accepted standards; proper NONFIC NOVEMBER 2015: CR White Mughals 5* A History of England from the Tudors to the Stuarts 3* Rome and the Barbarians 4* Field Notes From A Hidden City 3* The King's Jews: Money, Massacre and Exodus in Medieval England CR A History of Palestine 634-1099 3* Charlotte Brontë: A Life 3* The Alhambra 5* A Long Walk in the Himalaya: A Trek from the Ganges to Kashmir 3* Buddhist Warfare 4* A Gathering of Spoons AB A Brief History of Roman Britain - Conquest and Civilization 4* Victorian Glassworlds: Glass Culture and the Imagination, 1830-1880 3* Food Safari 4* She-Wolves 3* India: A Portrait 2* The Archaeology of Ancient Sicily 5* Classics of Russian Literature CR The Battle of Salamis TTC: 4* History of Science 1700 - 1900 5* A History of England from the Tudors to the Stuarts TR Secrets of Sleep TR Turning Points in Modern History TR Apocalypse 4* Myth in Human History 3* A History of Russia TR Classic Novels 5* London 4* Re-thinking Our Past 4* The Vikings OH Lost Worlds of South America 3* Rome and the Barbarians TR Living the French Revolution and the Age of Napoleon OH History of Science: Antiquity to 1700 TR Albert Einstein: Physicist, Philosopher, Humanitarian TR Will to Power: The Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche 5* From Monet To Van Gogh: A History Of Impressionism 5* History of the English language TR The Late Middle Ages 3* Great American Music: Boadway Musicals 5* Classics of Russian Literature

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nick

    “A gallop through Russian literature.” These introductory lectures brought back memories of Russian novels I have read over the years and revived my interest in reading some that I have not read (and there are quite a few). The lecturer, Irwin Weil, knows his Russian language and the history of Russian literature really well, so I felt I was in good hands. Lectures on Pushkin, Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy (deservedly) went into a bit of detail, while other authors had a couple of lectures devoted to “A gallop through Russian literature.” These introductory lectures brought back memories of Russian novels I have read over the years and revived my interest in reading some that I have not read (and there are quite a few). The lecturer, Irwin Weil, knows his Russian language and the history of Russian literature really well, so I felt I was in good hands. Lectures on Pushkin, Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy (deservedly) went into a bit of detail, while other authors had a couple of lectures devoted to them, like Gogol, Sholokhov, Maiakovsky and Pasternak. It seemed a pity that Chekhov only had one lecture (!), Goncharov was mentioned briefly in passing, Bulgakov and Grossman not at all. So many authors, the course could have had quite a few more lectures added to it. Very helpful and I would listen to these again in the future.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Nate Q

    Leaving Bulgakov out of a Russian Lit Lineup is pretty much akin to leaving Iron Man out of an Avengers movie. That aside, I loved this course. The only downside was the lack of coverage of Bulgakov, as a result of his being banned for so long in the Soviet Union (and virtually unknown in the west at the time the professor was working on his PhD). The author didn't so much as mention him. This covers everyone from Pushkin to Solzhenitsyn, providing incredible historical context, perfectly pronou Leaving Bulgakov out of a Russian Lit Lineup is pretty much akin to leaving Iron Man out of an Avengers movie. That aside, I loved this course. The only downside was the lack of coverage of Bulgakov, as a result of his being banned for so long in the Soviet Union (and virtually unknown in the west at the time the professor was working on his PhD). The author didn't so much as mention him. This covers everyone from Pushkin to Solzhenitsyn, providing incredible historical context, perfectly pronounced phrases and poems, and an in-depth walk through *almost* all the best Russian works.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Brendan Monroe

    I could have done without the many lectures on Pushkin - who by Weil's own admission, is essentially untranslatable - but this did greatly add to my "to-read" list. But the omission of Mikhail Bulgakov is close to unforgivable. I could have done without the many lectures on Pushkin - who by Weil's own admission, is essentially untranslatable - but this did greatly add to my "to-read" list. But the omission of Mikhail Bulgakov is close to unforgivable.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lina

    I am Russian. That means that most of my school Literature curriculum was all about Russian literature. I read and analysed with a professional teacher all the books and much more of what Mr. Weil talks about. Being a Russian also means that the language the author studied as a university student is native to me. (This was my basis of judging the audio book here) Mr. Weil is definitely a professional and he knows much more details about lives and works of the authors he talks about than I do. I s I am Russian. That means that most of my school Literature curriculum was all about Russian literature. I read and analysed with a professional teacher all the books and much more of what Mr. Weil talks about. Being a Russian also means that the language the author studied as a university student is native to me. (This was my basis of judging the audio book here) Mr. Weil is definitely a professional and he knows much more details about lives and works of the authors he talks about than I do. I should also mention that he has nearly flawless Russian pronunciation, so if you enjoyed the book, you can be sure that you got the best. Nevertheless when he misses some point it makes me cringe. At times he stutters while trying to pronounce words, this I forgive him. But when he uses wrong stress for words I do feel it. However, that's what I feel, it's not very important. What is detrimental to his work is when he sometimes misses the point with the meaning. Frankly, it's not much that he understands incorrectly, these are very fine points that he gets wrong, they are not important for the whole course but they exist. Personally, I believe that he understands Russian language as a few people do outside it's "native habitat" and actually better than many Russians. I would give this audio book more points if that was the only thing that I didn't like about it. However, I believe that it's OK for those people who have never read Russian literature, or have read just a couple of books and want to get acquainted with it. But I also believe that a good course in any literature should be composed in a different way. A course about some literature should require you to read those books it discusses, or even parts of books if those books are too big and there is not much time. It can, for example, require you to read only a couple of novels of an author to get the feeling, and then tell you more about the author and his or her other works. I would be happy with a book that does a preliminary explanation of the author's life and circumstances so as their work would be understood, and after you read some work of the author, it comments some more on the basis of what you have read. For me it is impossible to imagine a handbook on literature that doesn't make it necessary to read at least a part of what it discusses.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Alan

    Combines deep analysis and lively presentation. The opposite of dry lectures. I have listened to certain lectures more than once.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Bryan

    Great survey of the Russian Greats!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mati

    The highlights of the Russian literature packed in comprehensive courses.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Adam Lund

    Excellent survey course by a knowledgeable and passionate professor.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Phil Greaney

    This course appears to set out to introduce Russian literature to the non-specialist and in that sense it does so admirably. The major writers are covered well (save one or two; I'll come to that), this course captures the range (what it calls its 'many colors') and Professor Irwin Weil is a congenial and knowledgeable lecturer. If you haven't read many, or any, of the texts, then you might feel you know them a little better after this course. Weil recounts some of the plots of short stories, or This course appears to set out to introduce Russian literature to the non-specialist and in that sense it does so admirably. The major writers are covered well (save one or two; I'll come to that), this course captures the range (what it calls its 'many colors') and Professor Irwin Weil is a congenial and knowledgeable lecturer. If you haven't read many, or any, of the texts, then you might feel you know them a little better after this course. Weil recounts some of the plots of short stories, or excerpts from longer novels and plays. There is a great deal on the lives of the authors, too. He omits Bulgakov's 'The Master and Margarita' which is nearly inexcusable; but I've forgiven him. He's far too short of the wonderful Chekhov too, although the 30 mins Weil devotes to him is a masterpiece in concision. The success of this course depends largely on what you want to get out of it. If it's the above, then you won't be disappointed. If you want a deeper set of readings, with greater sophistication and intensity - as we find in the neighboring course, 'Classics of American Literature' by the inestimable Arnold Weinstein, then you'll likely be disappointed: this won't add much, I don't think, to any deeper research. It's a starting point, an overview, not an end in itself. I found his readings in Russian language, especially in the earlier segments on Pushkin's 'Onegin', moving and revealing. He sings sometimes, too. This course might whet your appetite for a reading, and research, of the great Russian literary works, unsurpassed in many ways, in world literature. I used it as the basis of a several-month study of 'the Russians' and found it useful to hang my reading on, although I deviated from it continually. And for me, now - to move on - to Emerson, Thoreau and the transcendentalists...

  11. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Huff

    Substantive and highly informative survey of Russian letters - Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov, etc. Quite inspiring to go out and read these great works. Some moments seemed to lag, but, on the whole, I admired this professor and learned a great deal from these lectures.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rich Yavorsky

    When I first read--and was deeply moved by--Brothers K four months ago, I very much wanted to learn Russian and read the book in its native Cyrillic. Ohio native Irwin Weil actually followed through on that exact feeling on his first read of Brothers K, making a 40+ year career out of the effort (a career that spanned the Red Scare of the '50s thorugh current day). What Dr. Weil packs into this course is as about as dense as it gets for an audiobook. I read five major Russian titles before coming When I first read--and was deeply moved by--Brothers K four months ago, I very much wanted to learn Russian and read the book in its native Cyrillic. Ohio native Irwin Weil actually followed through on that exact feeling on his first read of Brothers K, making a 40+ year career out of the effort (a career that spanned the Red Scare of the '50s thorugh current day). What Dr. Weil packs into this course is as about as dense as it gets for an audiobook. I read five major Russian titles before coming across this course--an excellent prerequisite. Without those under my belt, this course would have felt like a fire hose of book summaries. But note: this course is as much about Russian history as it is about the literature. Where did the Cyrillic alphabet come from? What does 'tsar' actually mean? Who exactly are the Cossacks? What types of cultural dissonance did the Soviet Union create amongst its people? These questions and more are answered in this course, allowing the student to develop a greater appreciation for the written works. Certainly this review wouldn't be complete without a nod to the passion of Dr. Weil. Northwestern University has an absolute treasure in this man; I couldn't imagine a better person to record this Great Course for the English-speaking audience to appreciate for years to come. The spoken Russian, the signing, the companion PDF--his knowledge on Russian culture is wonderfully unique and seemingly limitless. This lecture has spoilers for most any book discussed--I intentionally skipped the lectures on Fathers and Sons, Anna K, and Dr Z because of my intent to read those titles in the near future. Once read, I'll come right back to this course to hear Dr. Weil's analysis and insight. Another knockout title by The Learning Company.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Zoltán

    A concise lecture about Russian literature, assembled into a series of chapters, spanning from the earliers period to around the 60s Sovietunion. Irwin Weil is very passionate about the subject and even has a bit of experience with the Soviet era. Prior reading of the books in the lecture is not required but adds value. (I've read most but not all of them and could compare how they felt different.) If you want to get a general overview of Russian literature, prepare for a more indepth course or ju A concise lecture about Russian literature, assembled into a series of chapters, spanning from the earliers period to around the 60s Sovietunion. Irwin Weil is very passionate about the subject and even has a bit of experience with the Soviet era. Prior reading of the books in the lecture is not required but adds value. (I've read most but not all of them and could compare how they felt different.) If you want to get a general overview of Russian literature, prepare for a more indepth course or just curious, it's worth doing this lecture. Things I liked: - Irwin Weil is passionate about the subject. - He summarises and quotes the books as he goes through them. - He did the effort of looking into how life was in the Sovietunion. Which is usually a dividing line. You either lived it, or have very sketchy and superficial ideas about it. He has the expected basic knowledge required to make sense of many things. Things I didn't like: - Irwin Weil is sometimes too passionate about the subject. :) In recurring but clear flashes he gets into an almost "fanboy" state singing odes about solutions/techniques that other authors do as well or are part of the base culture in Russia.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jquick99

    Highly, highly recommend. I really wasnt interested in listening to this, Thinking it would be over my head and too textbooky. Boy was I wrong. Dr. Weil Is Fantastic. For years, I’ve wanted to learn/read about Pushkin, Dostoevsky .... But didn’t think I would understand their works. I like that he gave a high level bio of various writers and along with that, described their major stories and explain the significance/themes. I have a mechanical/analytical mind, so these thoughts don’t come to me. Highly, highly recommend. I really wasnt interested in listening to this, Thinking it would be over my head and too textbooky. Boy was I wrong. Dr. Weil Is Fantastic. For years, I’ve wanted to learn/read about Pushkin, Dostoevsky .... But didn’t think I would understand their works. I like that he gave a high level bio of various writers and along with that, described their major stories and explain the significance/themes. I have a mechanical/analytical mind, so these thoughts don’t come to me. He explains such things as the description of the character’s name (in Russian), which of course is something I would never know, and even explains why it’s meaningful (i.e. what purple signifies). I could listen to him sing for hours. He was 80 when he recorded these...unbelievable.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Hank Pharis

    (NOTE: I'm stingy with stars. For me 2 stars means a good book or a B. 3 stars means a very good book or a B+. 4 stars means an outstanding book or an A {only about 5% of the books I read merit 4 stars}. 5 stars means an all time favorite or an A+ {Only one of 400 or 500 books rates this!).The great news is that I can listen to a book a day at work. The bad news is that I can’t keep up with decent reviews. So I’m going to give up for now and just rate them. I hope to come back to some of the mos (NOTE: I'm stingy with stars. For me 2 stars means a good book or a B. 3 stars means a very good book or a B+. 4 stars means an outstanding book or an A {only about 5% of the books I read merit 4 stars}. 5 stars means an all time favorite or an A+ {Only one of 400 or 500 books rates this!).The great news is that I can listen to a book a day at work. The bad news is that I can’t keep up with decent reviews. So I’m going to give up for now and just rate them. I hope to come back to some of the most significant things I listen to and read them and then post a review.There are a lot of interesting things here. flag Like  · see review Dec 19, 2020 Matt rated it liked it Shelves: russian Weil does an excellent job of intertwining Russian history and literature into a flowing narrative. Many of these lectures deserve four stars, but the Soviet writers (the last third of the course) were of less interest to me. flag Like  · see review Jun 24, 2017 Gordon rated it really liked it 3.5 stars. 36 enthusiastic and interesting lectures from Pushkin to Solzhenitsyn. A must for anyone trying to understand the basics of classic Russian literature. This inspired me to read more works. That said, I found I had to take each analysis with a grain of salt. flag Like  · see review Oct 04, 2019 April Sanders rated it really liked it All of the Great Courses are excellent. For anyone interested in Russian literature this course is fantastic. flag Like  · see review Aug 25, 2018 Shawn rated it it was amazing An oak is a tree. A rose is a flower. A deer is an animal. A sparrow is a bird. Russia is our fatherland. Death is inevitable. — P. Smirnovski, A Textbook of Russian Grammar flag Like  · see review Jun 18, 2019 Maia M rated it it was amazing Fascinating exploration of Russian literature. Professor Weil is a great storyteller and makes the course very interesting. I am inspired to read some of the novels for further exploration. flag Like  · see review Jun 12, 2020 Jamie Scott rated it really liked it I want to learn Russian, French and German now. It’s hard to appreciate poetry or other literature properly if you don’t know how it was originally written and it was meant to sound. I’m going to read some of the books anyway but one day I might read it in it’s original language. flag Like  · see review Jan 28, 2017 Scott Diamond rated it liked it Shelves: nf-general Unfortunately too much of the course was taken up by plot reviews of novels. flag Like  · see review View 1 comment Dec 28, 2019 Marcel De La Croix rated it it was amazing In these 36 lectures of Classics of Russian Literature delivered by Prof Irwin Weil of Northwestern University, he presented the great Russian authors with remarkable clarity. Prof Weil connected the dots regarding Russian history and famous works in Russian Literature. Personally, I have read the great Russian authors and appreciated the way he presented both in English and in Russian. He covered the following Russian authors: Pushkin (1799-1837), Gogol (1809-1852), Dostoyevsky (1821-1881), Tol In these 36 lectures of Classics of Russian Literature delivered by Prof Irwin Weil of Northwestern University, he presented the great Russian authors with remarkable clarity. Prof Weil connected the dots regarding Russian history and famous works in Russian Literature. Personally, I have read the great Russian authors and appreciated the way he presented both in English and in Russian. He covered the following Russian authors: Pushkin (1799-1837), Gogol (1809-1852), Dostoyevsky (1821-1881), Tolstoy (1828-1910), Turgenev (1860-1904), Peshkov (1868-1936), Maiakovsky (1893-1930), Sholokhov (1905-1984), Zoshchenko (1895-1958), Pasternak (1890-1960), and Solzenitzyn (1918-2008). flag Like  · see review Feb 06, 2014 Nate Q rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition Shelves: classikz Leaving Bulgakov out of a Russian Lit Lineup is pretty much akin to leaving Iron Man out of an Avengers movie. That aside, I loved this course. The only downside was the lack of coverage of Bulgakov, as a result of his being banned for so long in the Soviet Union (and virtually unknown in the west at the time the professor was working on his PhD). The author didn't so much as mention him. This covers everyone from Pushkin to Solzhenitsyn, providing incredible historical context, perfectly pronou Leaving Bulgakov out of a Russian Lit Lineup is pretty much akin to leaving Iron Man out of an Avengers movie. That aside, I loved this course. The only downside was the lack of coverage of Bulgakov, as a result of his being banned for so long in the Soviet Union (and virtually unknown in the west at the time the professor was working on his PhD). The author didn't so much as mention him. This covers everyone from Pushkin to Solzhenitsyn, providing incredible historical context, perfectly pronounced phrases and poems, and an in-depth walk through *almost* all the best Russian works. flag Like  · see review Tom rated it really liked it May 22, 2011 Anne Earney rated it liked it Jun 29, 2015 Tania rated it it was amazing Nov 28, 2020 Jason Canada rated it it was amazing Sep 28, 2019 Alex rated it really liked it Apr 04, 2015 PS rated it really liked it Aug 17, 2017 « previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 next »

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