Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024


Department: Modern Languages and Cultures (Russian)


Type Open Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap 30 Location Durham


  • Russian Language 1A (RUSS1161) OR Russian Language 1B (RUSS1042).


  • Either Russian Language 2A (RUSS2191) Or Russian Language 2B (RUSS2012).

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To impart an understanding of the main lines of development in Russian literature, with a particular emphasis on prose fiction.
  • To examine the careers of a selection of representative writers in the context of Russia's social, political and cultural history.
  • To examine a key text by each writer studied and to introduce basic techniques of literary analysis.


  • The module introduces students to a selection of significant authors and texts in Russian literature.
  • The texts are read and analysed in the original Russian.
  • For each work studied the course provides background to the author and the wider literary and cultural context.
  • Seminars and alternate lectures are devoted to the analysis of the works’ narrative structure, the discussion of wider themes, discussion and close reading commentary.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students will acquire a basic knowledge of the development of various genres in the Russian literary tradition, a knowledge of certain individual works in the original Russian, an understanding of the changing relationship between literature and Russian society, and familiarity with critical perspectives on the notion of the literary canon.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students will acquire the ability to evaluate literary works in the original Russian, and to engage critically with secondary sources in both Russian and English.
Key Skills:
  • Students will begin to develop the ability to work independently within a prescribed framework, and to respond critically to a range of primary and secondary sources. On completion of the course, students will be able to present a cogent and structured argument in both oral and written form.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Lectures are designed to introduce each writer in his or her artistic and historical context and to explain and exemplify the use of various techniques of literary analysis, as well as giving guidance on close reading of primary texts and approaches to secondary literature.
  • Seminars provide a forum for presentation of the results of independent study, in which students are able to apply critical techniques in a more practical manner.
  • The summative assessment consists of two essays, intended to encourage independent study and research-led learning.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 20 Weekly 1 hour 20
Seminars 10 Fortnightly 1 hour 10
Reading and Preparation 170
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Summative Essay 1 Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Summative Essay 1 2,250 words 100% Yes
Component: Summative Essay 2 Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Summative Essay 2 2,250 words 100% Yes

Formative Assessment:


Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University