3 minute read

Formalism

Suppression And Influence Of Formalism

The connections of literature with other spheres and "systems," such as social conventions and other extraliterary factors, were most directly addressed in the 1928 essay "Problemy izucheniya literatury i yazyka" (Problems of the study of literature and language) by Tynianov and Jakobson. This essay, however, was only a theoretical acknowledgment by the formalists of the links between literature and social forces. These links were also presented as autonomous and separate systems governed by their own laws. Such a presentation of the problem did not spare the formalists from the attacks by Russian Marxists, who saw literature as an integral, not a separate, part of social forces. By 1930 the formalists in Russia had been silenced. Operating in a totally different environment, the Polish Formalist School, as well as the Prague Linguistic Circle in Czechoslovakia, continued the work of the Russian scholars, taking it even further, toward structuralism. The outbreak of World War II, however, finally suppressed the activity of the Polish formalists and Czech structuralists.

After the war formalism exerted a powerful influence on many trends and schools of literary criticism both in the Slavic countries and beyond. Most indebted were structuralism, considered a natural continuation of formalist theorizing, and semiotics. The Anglo-Saxon New Criticism was not influenced by formalism, but the obvious points of convergence between the two schools, comparable to the affinities among formalism, structuralism, and semiotics, clearly point to the universality, vitality, and significance of formalist ideas.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

PRIMARY SOURCES

Eikhenbaum, Boris. "How Gogol's Overcoat Is Made." In Gogol from the Twentieth Century: Eleven Essays, edited and translated by Robert A. Maguire, 269–291. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1974. Translation of "Kak sdelana Shinel' Gogolya."

——. "The Theory of the 'Formal Method.'" In Readings in Russian Poetics: Formalist and Structuralist Views, edited by Ladislav Matejka and Krystyna Pomorska, 3–37. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1971. Translation of "Teoriya 'formal'nogo metoda.'"

Jakobson, Roman. Noveishaya russkaya poeziya. Nabrosok pervyi. Velemir Khlebnikov. Prague: "Politika," 1921.

Shklovsky, Viktor. "Art as Technique." In Russian Formalist Criticism: Four Essays, edited and translated by Lee T. Lemon and Marion J. Reis, 3–24. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1965. Translation of "Iskusstvo kak priem."

——. "The Making of Don Quixote." In his Theory of Prose, translated by Benjamin Sher, 72–100. Elmwood Park, Ill.: Dalkey Archive Press, 1990. Translation of "Kak sdelan Don Kikhot."

——. "Sterne's Tristram Shandy: Stylistic Commentary." In Russian Formalist Criticism: Four Essays, edited and translated by Lee T. Lemon and Marion J. Reis, 25–57. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1965. Translation of Tristram Shendi" Sterna i teoriya romana.

Siedlecki, Franciszek. Studia z metryki polskiej. Wilno: Dom Ksiaz. ki Polskiej, 1937.

Tomashevsky, Boris. Teoriya literatury: Poetika. Moscow and Leningrad: Gos. Izdatel'stvo, 1925.

Tynianov, Yury. "On Literary Evolution." In Readings in Russian Poetics: Formalist and Structuralist Views, edited by Ladislav Matejka and Krystyna Pomorska, 68–78. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1971. Translation of "O literaturnoi evolutsii."

——. The Problem of Verse Language. Edited and translated by Michael Sosa and Brent Harvey. Ann Arbor, Mich.: Ardis, 1981. Translation of Problema stikhotvornogo yazyka.

Tynianov, Yury, and Roman Jakobson. "Problems in the Study of Literature and Language." In Readings in Russian Poetics: Formalist and Structuralist Views, edited by Ladislav Matejka and Krystyna Pomorska, 79–81. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1971. Translation of "Problemy izucheniya literatury i yazyka."

Wóycicki, Kazimierz. Forma dźwiekowa prozy polskiej i wiersza polskiego. Warsaw: Wyd. Tow. Naukowego Warszawskiego, 1912.

SECONDARY SOURCES

Erlich, Victor. Russian Formalism: History, Doctrine. 3rd ed. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1965.

Hansen-Löve, Aage A. Der russische Formalismus: Methodologische Rekonstruktion seiner Entwicklung aus dem Prinzip der Verfremdung. Vienna: Verlag der österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1978.

Jackson, Robert Louis, and Stephen Rudy, eds. Russian Formalism: A Retrospective Glance; A Festschrift in Honor of Victor Erlich. New Haven, Conn.: Yale Center for International and Area Studies, 1985.

Karcz, Andrzej. The Polish Formalist School and Russian Formalism. Rochester, N.Y.: University of Rochester Press, 2002.

Pomorska, Krystyna. Russian Formalist Theory and Its Poetic Ambiance. The Hague: Mouton, 1968.

Steiner, Peter. Russian Formalism: A Metapoetics. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1984.

Striedter, Jurij. Literary Structure, Evolution, and Value: Russian Formalism and Czech Structuralism Reconsidered. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1989.

Thompson, Ewa M. Russian Formalism and Anglo-American New Criticism: A Comparative Study. The Hague: Mouton, 1971.

Andrzej Karcz

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?