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Seminar F: Reading the Nation

  • What is a “national literature”?
  • Do nations need a national literature and national poets?
  • How important is reading for nation building?
  • What are the functions of reading clubs?
  • Which role do national poets play in the 20th century?


Essential Reading

Hosking, Geoffrey, Russia. People and Empire, pp. 286-311 [= ‘Literature as Nation-Builder’].

Subtelny, Orest, Ukraine. A History (Toronto/Buffalo/London, 3rd ed., 2000), pp. 221-242 [= Chapter 13: ‘The Growth of National Consciousness’]

Davies, Norman, God’s Playground. A History of Poland, Vol. 2: 1795 to the Present, (New York, 2005) [1983], pp. 3-59 [= Chapter 1: ‘NARÓD: The Growth of the Modern Nation (1772-1945)’].

Eile, Stanislaw, Literature and Nationalism in Partitioned Poland, 1795-1918 (Houndmills, 2000) [especially Chapter 2: ‘Messianism and the National Cause’, pp. 46-67].

Additional Reading

Figes, Orlando, Natasha’s Dance. A Cultural History of Russia (London, 2002).

Sandler, Stephanie, Commemorating Pushkin: Russia’s Myth of a National Poet (Stanford, 2004).

Mickiewicz, Adam, Pan Tadeusz (New York, 1992).

Pushkin,Alexander, Boris Godunov (Whitefish, 2004), Internet version:

Shevchenko, Taras, Selected Works (London, 1982), Internet version

Taras Shevchenko (1814-1861)

Aleksandr Pushkin (1799-1837)

Adam Mickiewicz (1798-1855)