In the first part of the course I got more and more used to the romantic and maybe a bit exaggerated style of the 19th century authors. The protagonists were usually trying to prove their heroism and had romantic concepts about how they could escape mediocrity. Some of the novels we read had happy( The Captain's daughter) or at least reasonable(Fathers and Sons) endings, while others were rather tragic(Anna Karenina). All in all, after reading the first few novels, the ending of Anna Karenina could be foreseen and the element of surprise was going away for me. I nevertheless enjoyed reading them and picking up the hints about the future of Russia and its literature in the 20th century.
However, I was still blown away by We. I did not expect such an amazing change even if the book was classified as Sci-Fi. As we read Envy and Master and Margarita I was even more surprised by the change in style, the narrative and even in symbolism. While the 19th century authors, especially Tolstoy, seemed to mostly point out to obvious ideas in his book and make us think in a certain way, the 20th century authors are more open-ended and more descriptive.
I think one of the most interesting aspects of writing in the new century is how love, or rather how sexual interactions are described. From the "..." scenes in Anna Karenina, we went to lowering the curtains and the pink slips in We, then to sharing the same woman in Envy and most recently we witnessed the love affair between the Master and Margarita. Also, the accurate descriptions of envy in Olesha's novel felt new and refreshing compared to the old century depictions as well.
What is the most surprising aspect of the transition from the 19th century to the 20th for you? What is your favorite novel of these three 19th century ones that we have read until now? Do you think they are linked together by any other stylistic or textual element except for the references to the Soviet rule? And lastly, which one do you like best: 19th or 20th century?