Love and Death: The Novel in 19th Century Russia and France

Module code: EN3078

Module co-ordinator: Dr Mark Rawlinson

In this module you will investigate the European realist tradition through the study of major Russian and French novels in translation. We will explore the variety and complexity of realist forms and subject matter, and you will develop a critical vocabulary with which to evaluate and compare realist fictions. 

In discussing the novels listed below, we will consider their relationship to the national cultures within which they were produced; to each other (cross-culturally and in terms of the development of realism and fictional narrative forms); and to us as readers. Your understanding of these works will be supported by additional reading including literary criticism, historical and theoretical accounts of realism, and background sources on French and Russian culture, society, and history.

Topics covered

  • Turgenev: Fathers and Sons
  • Tolstoy: Anna Karenina
  • Dostoyevsky: Crime and Punishment
  • Balzac: Père Goriot
  • Flaubert: Madame Bovary
  • Zola: L'assommoir 


  • 20 one-hour seminars


  • Essay, 5,000 words (100%)