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LIT 73 — Dostoevsky's Anti-Radical Novels: Crime and Punishment and Demons

Quarter: Spring
Day(s): Thursdays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Apr 4—Jun 6
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Apr 6
Units: 2
Tuition: $550
Instructor(s): Anne Hruska
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Open
ACCESS THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Live Online(About Formats)
7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Apr 4—Jun 6
10 weeks
Refund Date
Apr 6
2 Units
Anne Hruska
ACCESS THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Fyodor Dostoevsky is known in literature for his unwavering examination of the human experience. Imprisoned in his youth for opposing serfdom and later returning from a Siberian exile, he witnessed the harsh realities of Russian society firsthand, and his experience left an indelible mark on his works. He often grappled with existential questions: How can we live in a world where the powerful exploit the weak and go unpunished? Can an act of violence help create justice? In this course, we will closely examine two Dostoevsky masterpieces: Crime and Punishment (1866) and Demons (1872). Both novels reflect his profound longing for a better world, his concerns about violence and injustice, and a deep-seated skepticism of political radicalism.

In Crime and Punishment, we will follow the path of an isolated young man who harbors dreams of enacting justice through a single act of violence, testing the limits of his morality and self-worth. In Demons, a charismatic revolutionary exerts his influence over a provincial town, leading to a tumultuous narrative that delves into the complexities of human behavior and societal change. Throughout the course, we will explore the layers of humor, melodrama, gossip, spiritual depth, and psychological insight that Dostoevsky masterfully weaves into these novels, creating works of profound beauty and complexity. By reading both novels in their entirety, we'll gain a deep understanding of the historical and literary contexts that shaped Dostoevsky's writing and appreciate the artistic structure that underpins his enduring relevance.

Senior English Instructor, Stanford Online High School

Anne Hruska taught for five years in Stanford’s Introduction to the Humanities program and has also taught at UC Berkeley, the University of Missouri, and the Pedagogical Institute in Saratov, Russia. She received a PhD from UC Berkeley, and her academic specialty is Russian literature.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Fyodor Dostoevsky (Pevear / Volokhonsky translation), Crime and Punishment (ISBN 978-0679734512)
(Required) Fyodor Dostoevsky, Pevear / Volokhonsky translation, Demons (ISBN 978-0679734512)