Course Description

Russian writers have always had a tortured relationship with authority. Since the birth of Russian literature, in the late 18th century, writers have been the country’s conscience and have rebelled against issues ranging from autocracy, serfdom, freedom of expression, religion and human rights. Using Pushkin, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Chekhov, Akhmatova, Solzhenitsyn, and Osipov as case studies, we will focus on the need for creativity and truth-telling in times of crisis and turmoil. We will end the class with contemporary Russian writers who are currently living in exile to protest Putin’s regime.

Course Director

Dr. Julia Zarankin
Recently awarded an Excellence in Teaching Award from the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies, Dr. Julia Zarankin holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from Princeton University. She enjoys teaching lifelong learners in venues across the GTA, including HotDocs Curious Minds, Later Life Learning at Innis College and Learning Unlimited. Julia is also the author of Field Notes from an Unintentional Birder, which is a Canadian bestseller, and she has given keynote presentations at birding festivals all over North America. Dr. Zarankin’s writing is supported by grants from the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts.

Dr. Julia Zarankin

Term and Time

Winter 2025 – starting January
9:50 am on Friday morning
Room TBA in York Hall

Course Outline

Two weeks before the course starts, you can download a printable PDF giving the 10-week detailed course outline.

NOTE: The course outline opens in a new browser tab where you cannot see the LLIR page header and menu. You can download the outline for future reading and printing. When you are finished, return to our website as follows:
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Lecture Notes

Links to resources such as additional reading or play lists are provided here as the Course Director makes them available during term. Like the course outline, lecture notes open in a new browser tab so that you can download and print them.


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