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Upper Level Courses

300-400 level courses are on special topics and are more advanced. They often presuppose some basic knowledge in the field and should be more difficult courses than courses at the 1-199 levels. The department is trying to insure that some 400 level courses, although substantially more difficult, are also small in size; they thus may be suitable for graduate students.

HIST 333 Napoleonic Era & Tolstoy's War & Peace

Holquist and Vinitsky

Taught as schedule allows (consult the Course Directory)


In this course we will read what many consider to be the greatest book in world literature. This work, Tolstoy’s War and Peace, is devoted to one of the most momentous periods in world history, the Napoleonic Era (1789-1815). We will study both the novel and the era of the Napoleonic Wars: the military campaigns of Napoleon and his opponents, the grand strategies of the age, political intrigues and diplomatic betrayals, the ideologies and human dramas, the relationship between art and history.  How does literature help us to understand this era? How does history help us to understand this great novel?

This semester marks the 200th anniversary of Napoleon’s attempt to conquer Russia and achieve world domination, the campaign of 1812. Come celebrate this Bicentennial with us!  Because we will read War and Peace over the course of the entire semester, readings will be manageable – and very enjoyable.