Event—Adult Education

The North Caucasus through Literature: From Leo Tolstoy to Alisa Ganieva


Take a literary tour through the North Caucasus.

Tipy Dagestana, Sergei Prokudin-Gorskii, 1905-1915. Source: Library of Congress, Reproduction Number: LC-P87- 7011.

Class Description

Together, we will take an armchair tour through the North Caucasus, primarily Chechnya and Dagestan, a crossroads of culturally diverse civilizations, examining the short works of Leo Tolstoy, Rasul Gamzatov’s lyrical poems, and short stories and the novel Bride & Groom by Alisa Ganieva.

The Russian Empire annexed this region as part of its colonial expansion during the nineteenth century through a series of brutal military campaigns. Russian romantics exoticized the Caucasus as an Orient: lush, warm, adventurous, but also foreign, savage, and violent. More than any other writer, Leo Tolstoy, deeply engaged with Caucasus cultures, challenged both romantic and official imperial narratives, in his early stories, The Cossacks, and his late masterpiece, Hadji Murad. Rasul Gamzatov and Alisa Ganieva are Dagestani writers who will help us avoid stereotypes while exploring the twentieth and twenty-first century Dagestan through their nuanced emphatic vision.

Julia Kriventsova Denne studied literature at St. Petersburg University, Russia, and teaches Russian literature and culture in the Chicago area.

Cost and Registration

7 sessions, $289 ($260 for Newberry members, seniors, and students). Learn about becoming a member.

To register multiple people for this class, please go through the course calendar in Learning Stream, our registration platform. When you select the course and register, you’ll be prompted to add another registrant.


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