RUSSIAN SHORT STORY: 4 Great Writers with Jeffrey Brooks, PhD


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Course Title: RUSSIAN SHORT STORY: 4 great writers

Instructor: Jeffrey Brooks

Brought to you by Odyssey  

September 06, 2023 - October 11, 2023 (6 Sessions)  

Wednesday, 6 PM ET 

Virtual via Zoom


COURSE DESCRIPTION: The short story propelled innovation in Russian culture and influenced literary developments abroad. This course explores the origin and development of the Russian short story through works of four masters: Nikolai Gogol, Anton Chekhov, Isaac Babel, and Mikhail Zoshchenko. Each author occupies a stage in the development of Russian fiction. Gogol bridges the gap between Pushkin’s romantic spirit and Dostoevsky’s great novels. Chekhov draws from realism, popular culture, and the serialized novel to deliver the modern short story. Babel provides understated vignettes of the savagery of Russia’s Civil War (1917-1922) and Zoshchenko subjects Stalin’s tyranny to satire and humor. Students will read selected stories by each author in recent editions by the best translators. Assignments will include suggested films and visual material linked with the stories and their authors.


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Johns Hopkins alumni, staff, faculty and their spouse or domestic partners are eligible for tuition remission for Odyssey lifelong learning courses. Select the correct ticket pricing during registration. If we cannot confirm your eligibility, you will be requested to pay the full registration price for the course.  Eligibility details can be found here

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If a course is canceled or closed, the registrant is notified immediately, and a full refund is processed automatically unless another course is requested. Registrants who wish to withdraw from an active course must complete the online Odyssey Refund Request Form. Attach any documentation to support your request (e.g., medical documentation, family crisis documentation, etc.). 

100% refund- Prior to the start of the course. 

50% refund- During the first week of the course. 

No refunds will be given after the first week of each course unless in exceptional cases. 

Please note, refunds apply only to the tuition portion of an Odyssey participant’s charges and are not applicable to any fees or gifts made to the Johns Hopkins Alumni Association. Registrants will be notified by email if a refund is approved within (5) business days. 

ABOUT Jeffrey Brooks (Ph.D)
Professor, History

I study and teach the political and cultural history of modern Russia, the history of the Soviet-American Cold War, and the great works of Russian and Soviet culture in their contemporary context. My The Firebird and the Fox: Russian Culture under Tsars and Bolsheviks (Cambridge University Press, 2019) showcases the genius of Russian literature, art, music, and dance over a century of turmoil within the dynamic cultural ecosystem that shaped it. The Firebird and the Fox explores the shared traditions, mutual influences, and enduring themes that recur in these art forms from 1850-1950. The book uses two emblematic characters from Russian culture—the firebird, symbol of the transcendent power of art in defiance of circumstance and the efforts of censors to contain creativity; and the fox, usually female and representing wit, cleverness and the agency of artists and everyone who triumphs over adversity—to explore how Russian cultural life changed over the period. High culture drew on folk and popular genres, then in turn influences an expanding commercial culture.

My research has been supported by The Guggenheim Foundation, the Fulbright-Hays Program, The National Endowment for the Humanities, the Woodrow Wilson Center, the National Council for Soviet and East European Research, and the IREX Academy Exchange, among others.

I received the Johns Hopkins Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching Award in Arts and Sciences in 2004.


 Event Date
Wednesday, September 6, 2023
6:00pm EDT

Wednesday, October 11, 2023
7:30pm EDT

1-800-JHU-JHU1 (548-5481)

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