Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace (RUST 341D JS)

NB: January 21 is the last day to DROP a course without financial penalty. March 21 is the last day to drop a course without academic penalty. April 14 is the last day to drop a course with a WP/WF transcript record.

Required Texts
You must buy these books. No exceptions.

The Russian Moment in History - ISBN 978-0691126067
War and Peace (Pevear/Volkhonsky Translation) - ISBN 978-1400079988. You must buy the "real," paper edition.
Hidden in Plain View - ISBN 978-0804717182


  • Several content quizzes (identify the quote, its context and importance) 10%
  • Critical Summaries of secondary literature (Poe, Morson, Berlin) 40% (three papers, evaluation value divided evenly)
  • Little thematic papers on war stories + W&P (4 of them) + Hadji Murat (a total of 6 short papers) 30%
  • Final Essay (10-15pp) 20%

Classroom Policies

  • Participation and attendance are crucial. We will be moving at a fast pace, and any missed class will slow down not only the absent student, but also the entire class. Therefore, ATTENDANCE IS MANDATORY. We meet about thirty times during the semester. I figure that "regular attendance" means missing no more than three courses: ninety-percent attendance is excellent, an A. Each class missed beyond three lowers your FINAL grade by an increment, i.e., from B+ to B. Perfect attendance will be rewarded.
  • Basic rules of good behavior will be observed. In case your mommy failed to teach you these, they are here enumerated: 1) Be seated, with books and pencils at the ready, at the beginning of class. 2) Never, but never, speak with your neighbor while someone else is speaking. 3) Always bring your text to class with you. 4) Be discrete with drinks and food. It is preferable not to eat at all during class. 5) Do not slouch, recline, lie prostrate, or practice martial arts during class. 6) Never, but never, get ready to leave until you have been dismissed.
  • This syllabus is subject to revision up until the January 27. The final version will be the one published on the web at the course wiki on that date.
  • Our classroom is an electronics-free zone. Yeah, I know. I do most of my reading and all my writing using machines. I like my gadgets more than you like your gadgets. But they are a dreadful distraction in the classroom. For a few hours every week, at least, put them away. No laptops. No phones. No tablets. Print everything—it's free at Stetson, and if you feel guilty, give a few bucks to the Nature Conservancy or something. Zero tolerance.
  • Read your email every day. (Yes, I'm aware of the irony of this policy following the one above.) If I send you an email, it is exactly the same as my saying it to you directly, face to face. "I didn't get the email" is not an excuse.
  • I do not accept papers late, ever. No flexibility. Give me what you have when the deadline arrives. Please, believe me, this policy is in your best interest.

Office Hours
Lead Instructor: Michael A. Denner
Phone: Don't bother… I won't answer.
E-mail: ude.nostets|rennedm#ude.nostets|rennedm
Office: Upstairs at the Russian Studies Center
Office Hours: By appointment… I'm readily available, but no fixed schedule… Check my calendar!

Co-Teacher: Gwendolyn Brown
E-mail: ude.nostets|1nworbg#ude.nostets|1nworbg
Office: Downstairs at the Russian Studies Center
Office Hours: TBA

I plan to eat supper in the Commons before class every Wednesday, and I welcome you to join Gwendolyn and me to chat about literature, big ideas, &c.

Accommodation Statement
If you anticipate barriers related to the format or requirements of this course, please meet with me so that we can discuss ways to ensure your full participation in the course. If you determine that disability-related accommodations are necessary, please register with the Academic Resources Center (822-7127; and notify me of your eligibility for reasonable accommodations. We can then plan how best to coordinate your accommodations.--

Academic Honesty
I take this requirement very seriously. Consult the Student Handbook. Any evidence of plagiarism or other sorts of academic dishonesty will be dealt with a la russe… which means, really really brutally. I'll remind you of the pledge you were required to take at orientation: "As a member of Stetson University, I agree to uphold the highest standards of integrity in my academic work. I promise that I will neither give nor receive unauthorized aid of any kind on my tests, papers, and assignments. When using the ideas, thoughts, or words of another in my work, I will always provide clear acknowledgement of the individuals and sources on which I am relying. I will avoid using fraudulent, falsified, or fabricated evidence and/or material. I will refrain from resubmitting without authorization work for one class that was obtained from work previously submitted for academic credit in another class. I will not destroy, steal, or make inaccessible any academic resource material.By my actions and my example, I will strive to promote the ideals of honesty, responsibility, trust, fairness, and respect that are at the heart of Stetson's Honor System."

Due Dates

We write a lot of very short (2-3 pp) papers…

  • Poe: January 29
  • "Little paper" on the war stories: February 3
  • Four "Little papers" on War and Peace: The first is due after February 10, the final one is due no later than April 7. You choose the dates due, but you cannot turn in more than one paper per week… That's eight weeks, four papers.
  • Morson: April 14
  • Berlin: April 23
  • "Little paper" on Hadji Murat: April 28
  • Final Paper: Fri., May 2 before 7:30PM (per final examination schedule)


Monday, January 13: "After the Ball." Introductions, overview of the course, expectations, etc.
For Wednesday, January 15…

  • Read Sevastopol in December, an early (1855) war piece by Tolstoy. It's very short, but I've included the translator's preface, which will help you to grasp the historical context. Plan on forty-five minutes. Read this for Wednesday's class. Print it and bring it to class with you!

Wednesday, January 15: Lecture, brief Tolstoy biography. We'll discuss Sevastopol in December-style, peculiarities, views of war and violence, etc.


  • Read the entirety of The Russian Moment in World History. A short invective of about 100 pp.. You should own this book. Take EXTENSIVE notes on this, as you'll be writing a critical summary, due Jan. 29. (Reading due Wednesday; summary due Jan. 29.)
  • Read the very short excerpt from Pisarev's "The Old Gentry" for Jan. 22. (Part of the Norton readings. Read 1377-1380.)
  • Introduction and chapter one (about 30 pp.) of D. Lieven's Russia against Napoleon. (due Wednesday)

Monday, January 20: Enjoy Martin Luther King, Jr. day!
Wednesday January 22: First 30 minutes: Discussion of Poe, expectations for Critical Summary (due Jan. 29). Then, a guest lecture by Dr. Fowler on Russia in 1812 versus Russia in 1856.

DUE FOR WEEK OF January 27: You have a paper to write, a documentary to watch, and a selection from a history book to read. Start working on the paper early. Watch the documentary when you have some downtime.

  • Read this brief extract from Napoleon by Geoffrey Ellis. (Plan to spend an hour on the reading; concentrate on the conclusion.) (due Monday)
  • First short paper: A critical summary of Poe Russian Moment. Here is the assignment sheet.
  • Remember to print and bring all the texts you've read to class!

Monday January 27: Short content quiz on Napoleon documentary & Ellis. More discussion of Poe and the critical summary. Last 40 minutes, a guest lecture by Dr. Kurlander on Napoleon's influence on Europe.
Wednesday January 29: Discuss Lieven, reflection on Poe and writing. (Poe paper due at beginning of class, not accepted late!)

DUE FOR WEEK OF FEBRUARY 3: We start reading the novel itself… But first…

  • Read "Sevastopol in May". Essentially "part II" of Sevastopol cycle of stories, but not a continuation of "December." (due Monday)
  • "The Raid". Another very short war story, written a bit before the Sevastopol stories (1852) while Tolstoy is on active duty in the Caucasus.
  • For February 3: Write a "little paper" on any or all of the war stories from Tolstoy we have read: "May," "Raid," or "December."
  • Volume One, Parts One and Two of War and Peace. This is due for February 10, but you should start now…
  • Remember to print and bring all the texts you've read to class!

Monday, February 3:Your first "little paper" is due. We will discuss "May" and "Raid" and work through Tolstoy's thoughts on violence, war, soldiers…
Wednesday, February 5: I introduce the intellectual background of the 1850s and the novel.

DUE FOR WEEK OF February 10:

  • By Wednesday you should have complete the novel through Volume One
  • "A Few Words apropos of the Book War and Peace (p 1217-1225 of P/V translation) (due for February 10… start now!)
  • the Publication History of War and Peace (one page) (Part of the Norton readings.)
  • Before APRIL 7: FOUR "little papers". You choose the topic, you choose the date due, but you cannot turn in more than one paper per week…

Monday February 10: Lecture, discussion of "A Few Words." Short content quiz on Part One.
Wednesday February 12: Lecture, small-group discussion

DUE FOR WEEK OF February 17:

  • Volume Two through Part Three (by Wednesday read to p. 487)

Monday, February 17: Lecture, discussion
Wednesday, February 19: Short content quiz, lecture, small-group discussion

DUE FOR WEEK OF February 24:

  • Finish Volume Two (by Wednesday read to p. 600)

Monday February 27: Lecture, discussion
Wednesday February 29: Short content quiz, lecture, small-group discussion



  • Volume Three, Part Two, ix (by Wednesday through p. 722)

Monday March 10: Lecture, discussion
Wednesday March 12: Short content quiz over reading, lecture, small-group discussion


  • Read to p. 935

Monday March 17: Lecture, discussion
Wednesday March 19: Short content quiz, lecture, small-group discussion


  • Finish Volume Four, Part Three (read to p. 1075)

Monday March 24: Lecture, discussion
Wednesday March 26: Short content quiz, lecture, small-group discussion


  • Read Volume Four Part Four and the Epilogues (finish the book!)

Monday March 31: BATTLE!!!! Suit up, chair à cannon! And don't forget close-toed shoes and bottled water…
Wednesday April 2: Short content quiz on readings; lecture, discussion


  • Read the Epilogues (finish the book!)

Monday, April 7: Lecture, discussion
Wednesday, April 9: Short content quiz, lecture, discussion… AWARD CEREMONY


Formal Elements of War and Peace

  • Hidden in Plain View (Morson). See the HIPV page for more details. (Finish for Wednesday's discussion.)
  • All War and Peace little papers are due April 14.
  • Due April 21: Write a 500-word critical summary of chapter one from HIPV.

Monday, April 14: Discussion of Part I of HiPV,
Wednesday, April 16: Group-based discussion of HIPV

DUE FOR WEEK OF April 21: Historiography

Monday April 21: HIPV summary due. Discussion of HiPV. Begin discussion of Berlin .
Wednesday April 23: The whole class on Berlin with Gwendolyn. (You should be reading Hadji Murat)

DUE FOR WEEK OF April 28: Hadji Murat and consultations.

  • Hadji Murat (due Monday). Write your last 'little paper' on Hadji Murat due April 30

Monday April 28: Lecture, quiz, discuss Hadji, the nonviolence/violence problem. Reflection on the class: History, community, violence and art.
Wednesday April 30: Individual meetings with Dr Denner to discuss final paper.

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