Mist & Madness: 
Literature of St. Petersburg

Teacher: Lise Brody
Extra Help: Room 302, Thursdays or by appointment.


Course Overview

Добро пожаловать! Welcome to St. Petersburg, Venice of the North: to the city of white nights and sparkling canals, of wrought iron, gold framed icons and glittering palaces, of deadly damp and untamed water, and of some of the world's greatest literature. In this class, we will use that literature as a window into Russian cultural themes and history. A few things to know about this course...

It's an all honors class

This does NOT mean you have to be “special” to take it. It does mean that there will be a heavier work load. Expect a lot of reading. Expect to be asked to think for yourself. If you are not prepared for that, you should ask to switch out of this class.

This class will include:

  • Reading (a lot of it, like I said)

  • Discussions

  • Mini-lectures on Russian history & culture (be prepared to take notes)

  • Writing: expect at least two major analytical papers, and possibly one creative writing project (subject to change)

About Revision:

Revision is something you do throughout the writing process. Having decided that you are serious enough about school to take an honors class, you should cement the habit of doing your revision before, not after you hand in your work. You will have plenty of time to show me drafts of your major projects for feedback before the due date. If you would like to revise after you receive back your graded work, you will need to have a compelling reason.*


You will be graded for Analysis (30%); Composition (30%); Oral Expression (20%); and Work Habits (20%). I will make every effort to return all work within 2 weeks, as long as it is handed in on time.

Texts (Subject to change):

Pushkin, Alexander, The Bronze Horseman

Gogol, Nikolai, “The Overcoat”
Dostoevsky, Fyodor, Crime and Punishment

Akhmatova, Anna, Requiem & other poems

Chukovskaya, Lydia, Sophia Petrovna

What you need for this course:

Please bring a notebook. You will need to take notes, and I'd prefer that computers stay closed. If this is a serious problem for you, please talk to me.

Cell phones

    Do NOT bring phones or electronics of any sort into class. If I see one, I will ask you to take it to Tina. If you listen to music when you work, please plug your headphones into your computer.

Risk taking and respect

This class will involve a lot of discussion. That means that we all need to feel safe thinking aloud and sharing our ideas even if we’re not completely sure of them. It is important that we give others and ourselves permission to take risks. Good class participation means listening as much as speaking.

Academic Honesty

Plagiarism is claiming someone else’s words or ideas as your own. That means:

  • copying/pasting something from the internet or another source without quote marks and citation

  • paraphrasing something from any source without citation

When in doubt, CITE! If it’s in the gray area, it IS plagiarism. I take this very seriously.

Part of engaging in lively, meaningful conversation is building upon one another’s thoughts. If we do this without giving credit to other thinkers, no matter whether they died 200 years ago or are sitting in class with us, we are not participating in this collective process in a constructive, respectful way.

For more information on the Academic Honesty policy, please refer to the student handbook. Please know that I will take cases of plagiarism to Dr. Arnold with the first offense.

Late Work Policy

In order for an assignment to be eligible for revision, it must be turned in on time. If you would like an extension, you must ask for it before the end of the school day at least two school days before the assignment is due. If you do not have an extension, I will accept late work up to one week after the due date, but the grade will suffer. If you are failing the course due to missing work, please do not ask me to design special extra credit assignments for you.


If you are absent on the day something is due, it will be on time if you hand it in on your first day back. If you are absent when the homework is assigned, you are responsible for it. The homework will always be posted on the course website on the “Current Homework” page. Obviously, if you are too sick to work, or if you don't have access to materials that you need, I will make accommodations – as long as you communicate with me!

Extra Help

Please come see me! My extra help is on Thursday afternoons or by appointment. You can reach me at lbrody@innovationcharter.org.

Saving work for Exhibition Night, POLs, and college recs

I will only approve work for exhibition night or POLs if you bring me the original version with the original rubric and notes. Do not just save it on the computer. Likewise, if you think you might ask me for a college rec, please keep any work you are especially proud of with my comments. Much as I always believe I'll never forget a thing about your beautiful paper, sadly, I very well might. Bringing it without the notes and rubric is asking me to do my job twice.

*Sample compelling reason: I incorporated your in-process feedback thoroughly and thoughtfully, and what I handed in the first time around was my best work. Now that you have given me new and different feedback, I'm eager to take this project to the next level. Because I think I will learn from doing that.