If you were going to teach a class on Russian literature at a juvenile detention center, what would the reading list include?

That’s what readers wanted to know after an article appeared about the class. The University of Virginia professor who created the class, Andrew Kaufman, provided his “Books Behind Bars” reading list.

Short Stories

Anton Chekhov (1860-1904):
Misery” (1886)
Ward No. 6” (1892)

Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881):
An Honest Thief” (1848)

Nikolai Gogol (1809-1852):
The Diary of a Madman” (1835)
The Overcoat” (1842)

Ilya Ilf (1897-1937) and Evgeny Petrov (1903-1942):
Selections from “The Twelve Chairs” (1928)

Nadezhda Mandelstam (1899-1980):
“Last Letter” from “Hope Abandoned” (1974)

Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837):
The Queen of Spades” (1833)

Varlam Shalamov (1907-1982):
“My First Tooth” and “Handwriting” from “Kolyma Tales” (1970-1976)

Fyodor Sologub (1863-1927):
“The Search” (1915)

Alexander Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008):
“Matryona’s Home” (1963)

Ivan Turgenev (1818-1883):
“A Living Relic” from “Sketches from a Hunter’s Album” (1852)

Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910):
The Death of Ivan Ilyich” (1886)
How Much Land Does a Man Need?” (1885)


Crime and Punishment” (1866)

Mikhail Lermontov (1814-1841):
A Hero of Our Time” (1840)

Karolina Pavlova (1807-1893):
A Double Life” (1848)


Anna Akhmatova (1889-1966):
“Three Things in This World He Loved” (1911)
“We’re No Good at Saying Good-bye” (1917)

“Native Land/Motherland” (1841)
“The Sail” (1831)
“Alone I Set Out on the Road” (1841)
“If You Forget Me”

“Strange, the Way We Met” (1854)

“To a Poet” (1830)
“I Loved You” (1829)
“To … ” (1825)
“Seclusion” (1819)
“Exegi Monumentum” (1836)

Marina Tsvetaeva (1892-1941):
“On Parting”

Fyodor Tyutchev (1803-1873):
“Silentium!” (1830)
“You Cannot Understand Russia with Your Mind … ”