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Tufts University: RUS065 - Dostoevsky - Russian - Professor ratings, reviews and much more | JumboAccess
David Sloane | RUS065 - Dostoevsky | Russian2006-05-01

I had read Crime and Punishment, The Brothers Karamazov, and Notes from Underground prior to enrolling in Prof. Sloane's course, and looked forward to a second reading guided by the teaching of an erudite and passionate professor. Or so I hoped. From day one of class he never had much of a plan for his lectures, and instead ended up feeding irrelevant facts about Russian culture along with "discussion" questions to his students, most of whom seemed bored to the point of falling asleep. This might be pardonable if Sloane were clearly passionate about the novels he taught, but he actually seemed just as bored as everyone else in the room. No one, not even him, wanted to be there. He was approachable outside of class to discuss papers, etc., and seemed like a nice enough person, but all the same he wasn't any more helpful. I didn't learn anything new, and actually left the class with less enthusiasm for Dostoevsky than I had before.

Reading includes some of the greatest novels ever written: The Brothers Karamazov, Crime and Punishment, and Notes from the Underground, along with the slightly inferior The Idiot. In my opinion it was too much reading - Brothers Karamazov is itself dense enough to be the subject of an entire course. Given Sloane's disorganized lectures, the course never even touched upon some of the major events in the novels. But maybe it's a good thing that there's so much reading, since it's the only thing you'll get out of the course. If you skip the actual classes and just do the readings you might really appreciate Dostoevsky's brilliance.

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