Panorama of Soviet Life in the 1920s | Newberry

Panorama of Soviet Life in the 1920s

Led by Julia Kriventsova Denne. Nine sessions. 10 am - noon.
Saturday, September 28, 2019
Saturdays, September 28 - December 7 (class will not meet on October 19 or November 30)

10 am - noon

Cost and Registration Information

Early Registration Price (August 27 at 9 am** – September 13 at 4 pm): $300
Regular Registration Price (September 13 at 4 pm – first day of class): $330

** Registration opens online at 9 am. Phone registration will be accepted starting at 10 am.

Members, seniors, and students get a 10% discount.

Register Online

Seminar Description

In this seminar, we will read the two best-loved humorous novels of the early Soviet Union—The Twelve Chairs and The Little Golden Calf, by Ilf and Petrov—in order to generate a detailed satirical panorama of everyday Soviet life in the 1920s. Our guide through this landscape will be the protagonist Ostap Bender, an archetypal conman and the most charming Soviet literary trickster, who can switch identities in an instant and evade trouble with his witticisms and impeccable elegance. Readings will be supplemented by historical information and viewings of episodes from several films.

Nine sessions. E - $300, L - $330

Julia Kriventsova Denne studied literature at St. Petersburg University and currently leads several groups on Russian literature in the Chicago area.

Materials List


  • Ilya Ilf and Evgeny Petrov translated by Anne O. Fisher, The Twelve Chairs. Northwestern University Press, 2011. ISBN: 978-0810127722
  • Ilya Ilf and Evgeny Petrov translated by Anne O. Fisher, The Little Golden Calf. Russia Life Books, 2009. ISBN: 978-1880100615

First Reading:

  • For the first class please read chapters 1-7 of The Twelve Chairs.

This class is part of the Newberry’s Adult Education Seminars Program. Learn more about our registration procedures.