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Literary Evolution

Even though the formalists, both in their theory and practice, insisted on an autonomous and intrinsic approach to literature, over time they acknowledged the importance of studying literary history and literature's connections with other spheres and "systems" of life. (In the case of the Russian formalists, this change resulted from Stalinist pressures.) Thus in its later phase, formalism introduced the notions of literary evolution and renewal and the dynamism of literary forms. These notions stood for the formalist understanding of the history of literature. It was concerned with literary change, modifications of the literary tradition, the laws of literary processes, and the development of art forms in relation to other aspects of culture. Literary change and evolution was explained in original terms of gradual shifts and reshufflings among the functions of devices, genres, works, styles, traditions, and "systems." Thus, the formalists skillfully reexamined the notion of literary history, which traditionally had been viewed as an unbound mosaic of writers and works. They showed the mechanics of continuity in the development of literature.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Ferroelectric materials to Form and matterFormalism - Origins, Autonomy And "science" Of Literature, Literariness And Device, Poetic Language, What Is Literature?