Russia

Choose two out of the four and answer the question in an essay.

1) Describe the traits of holy foolery, its general historical trajectory once it was established in Russia, and it’s influence on Russian history and culture. Then compare Sergey Ivanov’s and Ewa Thompson’s interpretations of holy foolery and its origins.

2) Discuss Pushkin’s The Bronze Horeseman and Gogol’s Diary of a Madman. What does each author seem to suggest as the source of their main character’s madness? Also, describe what you think are the main theme(s) of each work, and how you think madness helps the author explore them. As you answer these questions, consider and note some of the techniques each author may have used to portray, suggest, and use.

3) Discuss Dostoevsky’s The Double. How does the figure of the double, Golyadkin Jr., work in this novel –what drives its creation by, what purpose does it serve for, and what are the consequences of its creation for Golyadkin himself?  How does this story relate to other Russian literary examples of madness we’ve seen so far?

4) Discuss Ward No. 6. Chekhov portrays two characters’ descents into madness (or “madness”). How do these two trajectories compare to one another? Taken together, what do they suggest about the nature of the relationship between the individual and society, and where madness fits into that relationship?

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