Review Comment

Masterpieces of 20th Century Russian Literature

August 26, 2016

Lilla, Mark Silver_nugget
Masterpieces of 20th Century Russian Literature

Taking Professor Lilla's class for Lithum was the best decision I made as a freshman. Lithum lives or dies with your professor, and few teachers are more qualified than Lilla to teach the western classics. Even a cursory perusal of any of his books or articles for the New York Review of Books reveals his astounding facility with western literature and philosophy. Lilla's method of teaching Lithum is "old school." In class Lilla's focus was primarily on uncovering and discussing the "timeless philosophical themes" of the texts we read, and little time was spent doing textual or literary analysis. If you are interested in discussing the iniquity of a curriculum composed of "dead white males" then Lilla is certainly not the professor for you. Lilla has little patience for contemporary notions of political correctness, though he never discounts the opinions of his students. More than anything Lilla strives to stimulate debate in class and would often challenge students to motivate their arguments or ideological presuppositions. Besides being supremely knowledgeable, Lilla was a remarkably caring teacher as well. He arranged for every student to meet with him personally during office hours solely in order to get to know his students better beyond the classroom.


200 word post for every class and 3 slightly larger (800 word) posts. A 5 page paper in place of a midterm. Standard final, though Lilla said that he didn't care about the passage identification section and that the final could not detract from your overall grade.

January 07, 2003

Chernetsky, Vitaly
Masterpieces of 20th Century Russian Literature and [UKRN W4040] 20th Century Ukrainian Prose

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Absolutely fantastic Professor, two great classes, I'd suggest to take anything he teaches! Materpiecesof 20th Century LIterature was taught in Russian, so proficiency or native knowledge of the language is a must. Ukrainian Literature was taught in English, and the readings were available in both Ukrainian and English. The classes were mostly lecture, with a 20 minute discussion at the end, but the lectures were eye-opening. They tend to focus heavily, however, on the authors of the works themselves, so be prepared to find out interesting tid-bits about various literati! The calss itself sometimes seems to lean in the direction of historical information rather thatn discussion of the texts themselves, but the discussion that does happen is usually insighful... besides, you don't want to have this guy stop talking, because he's good at it and obviously knows a lot more than you do!


Moderate. Heavy reading, but all of it's very good. Two papers, midterm (~6 pgs) and final(~14 pgs); for the Masterpieces of Russian lit the essay usually needs to be written in Russian, leave enough time!

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