Masterpieces of Tolstoy’s Short Prose 1 & 2

Fall 2015--Spring 2016

Instructor: Svitlana Kobets, PhD

This course is an introduction to Tolstoy’s short prose rendered into English by two of the most celebrated Russian literature translators of our time, Larissa Volokhonsky and Richard Peaver. In the Fall our readings will include the Prisoner of the Caucuses, Hadji Murat, Three Deaths, The Memoirs of the Madman, Master and Man, The Death of Ivan Ilyich and After the Ball. In the Spring we will read Family Happiness, the Kreutzer Sonata, the Devil, Father Sergius, the Forged Coupon, What Men Live by? Alyosha the Pot and The Three Hermits. These shorter works, albeit masterpieces in their own right, have long been overshadowed by Tolstoy’s prose giants. Yet they should not be. Tolstoy was a superb master of short prose where he addressed his perennial questions and concerns with the same earnestness, passion and skill as in his larger pieces. As we will read and discuss these works we will ponder Tolstoy’s ethical queries and artistic vision, his search for selfhood and for the meaning of life.

Course web page:


Tolstoy ILIT1-F, October 6 – November 3, 1-3 pm

October 6

The Prisoner of the Caucasus, 1872


October 13

Hadji Murat, 1896-1904


October 20

Hadji Murat


October 27

Master and Man

The Death of Ivan Ilyich


November 3

Three Deaths (handout)

After the Ball

Tolstoy IILIT13-S, May 17 – June 14, 1-3 pm

May 17

The Diary of a Madman 1884-1903

The Forged Coupon 1880, 1902-1904

May 24

Family Happiness 1859


May 31

The Kreutzer Sonata 1889


June 7

The Kreutzer Sonata cont.

The Devil 1889

Father Sergius 1890-1898


June 14

What Men Live By 1885

What Men Live By (audiobook)

Alyosha the Pot 1905

The Three Hermits 1886 

The Three Hermits (audiobook)

Stephen Paulus - Pilgrim's Hymn (from his Opera "The Three Hermits")


© 2019 by Svitlana Kobets. All right reserved.