REECAS Quarterly Course Lists

Winter 2021 SLAV 320 East European Fiction

Winter 2021

View in MyPlan

View in Time Schedule

Course Flyer


Meeting Time: MW 2:30 – 4:20 PM

Location: Online

SLN: 19943

Joint Sections: C LIT 252A: Intro to Comparative Literatures: Genres

Instructor: Gordana P Crnkovic

Additional Details:


“The novel is the book of life.” – D.H. Lawrence

While we can be outdoing ourselves with how brief and short-lasting our verbal expression gets in tweets or snapchats, the novel – the longest literary form – happily lives on over the centuries and into our times. More than that: Don Quixote (1605), a novel by Miguel Cervantes, for example, sold five hundred million copies last year. In general, the novel as a literary form continues to be the preferred reading of readers world-wide.

What is it about this literary form that makes it so appealing, enduring, and global? What do readers find in it? Your online dictionary provides an easy answer, defining the novel as “a fictitious prose narrative of considerable length and complexity, portraying characters and usually presenting a sequential organization of action and scenes.” We will look into this genre more carefully.  Mostly based on the selection of brief excerpts from novels coming from a variety of times and places, with an emphasis on lesser known East European and Slavic novels, and reading three entire (but very short!) novels—James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room, Bohumil Hrabal’s Too Loud a Solitude, and a novel by Olga Tokarczuk (a recent Nobel Prize for Literature winner), Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead—this class will look at this genre’s historical development, shared formal characteristics across time and space, and adaptations of novels into other media. We will try to get acquainted with some of the novels that have made a global impact and some that are known to only a few, and we will try to find the reasons for this fictional genre’s lasting human attraction.


This is a synchronous class, meaning that students are expected to be “in class,” remotely, at the scheduled time.