We will be reading Red Cavalry later in the semester, unfortunately not in the original Russian.
I debated about whether to post this or not and eventually decided to take the plunge. I don’t usually like to write about my time in high school because it was an extremely unhappy period for me. But here goes…
I had my first classes last week, one of which is a Russian literature class that I probably should have taken a while ago. I have been avoiding taking a literature class – this is the first and only one I have taken at university – because of a rather horrid experience I had in a senior-year English class back in high school. This is one of the reasons why I am glad I blog rather anonymously, because that allows me to write about this anecdote.
The teacher of the aforementioned class did not like me. Yes, I know that is a very common and overdone complaint from students, but in my case it was true. I’ll be honest: I was not a student whom teachers disliked, as I always did well, but this teacher and I did not get along. She was unfairly biased against me, and though I realized this at the time, it has become more clear with hindsight. (Imagine my surprise when I read in Elif Batuman’s The Possessed about a published scholar’s argument that advanced an argument about Dostoevsky that I wrote in an essay on Crime and Punishment. I received a B on the paper; I deserved an A- at the very least.) I barely managed to scrape by with a decent grade and at the end of the year, I was so disgusted with the experience that I vowed to abandon the study of literature forever.
I have not taken a single literature class since, but last semester I found out that I would need a Russian literature class for my degree. I signed up for a rather broad survey course (okay, it does have an underlying theme, but I can’t tell you the title of the course because that would give away all my secrets, you know?) So far, I am really liking the class – I think the professor really likes what I have to say, which is so unlike my high school experience with the literature course.
Anyway, hopefully everything will work out. At the very least, I will have read loads of Russian literature by the end of this semester.
(Random note: we are reading Isaac Babel’s Red Cavalry. The title in Russian is Конармия [konarmiya]. Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t that simply mean cavalry, not red cavalry? Ah, the great mysteries of life!)