The article illustrates the explicit and implicit correlations between general notions of Russian formalism and its latest subversions in Lectures on Structuralist Poetics by Yuri Lotman. Declared as a manifesto of new approaches to literary structure (above all, verse), Lotman’s work contains a lot of conceptual revisions of formalism, at the same time presenting itself as its successful overcoming. The strong demand to negate all predecessors was canonized by the formalists themselves and, as it is seen in Lotman’s arguments, remained actual for further philological generations.
Viktor Shklovskij, the famous Russian literary theorist, and the founder of Russian Formalist School, published his first books in 1914, when World War I had just started. One of them consisted of the futuristic essay, Resurrection of the Word, first presented in December, 1913, and devoted to the problem of the death and resurrection of literature through the use of transrational language (in Russian ZAUM, i. e. beyond, or trans-sense). Another book, entitled The Saturnine Fate, concerned archaic prose poetry devoted to the war that had just begun. Sˇklovskij borrows an official military rhetoric and changes its accents, turning it into an instrument of pacifism. It should be stressed that 1914 was the same year the new Formalist theory started growing, reaching a first intellectual peak in 1916 when the key Shklovskij essay, Art as Device, was published. At the same time, Shklovskij had been drafted into the army, and war became a fruitful background for this emerging theory. Sˇklovskij first served as an instructor in the armored car division; following the February 1917 bourgeois revolution he was actively involved in agitation for the Provisional Government as a commissar, first on the Western front, then later on the Southern front. After the Russian bourgeois revolution of 1917 Shklovskij began writing memoirs long before he reached old age, based on his own conception of the genre. A war depicted in a book with the intertextual title Sentimental Journey is reconstructed here as a mechanism paralleled principally with the automobile; a means of transport to be handled with care. In the first part of the book, the war is seen as having a specific order of things, as opposed to a revolution which follows more the path of chaos. However, throughout his journey, Shklovskij observes the logic of events and concludes that the processes of war and revolution do not stand opposed, but instead have a consequential relationship.
The monograph explores the aesthetics of Russian formalism: energy intuitions, the theory of internal and external forms of the word, the theory of everyday literary life, the theory of literary evolution as a mimetic process. The literary theory of Formalists is placed in an interdisciplinary context, in particular, correlated with the ideas of French sociology (Durkheim, Tarde). The book also contains an article about the autobiographical prose of one of the leaders of the formal school - Viktor Shklovsky.
The chapter of the classbook published within the study program of Ural Federal University in Yekaterinburg tells about the ways of Viktor Shklovsky - a founder of the formalist school in Russian Literary Theory, an extravagant writer and essayist, who was on the forefront of the Soviet literature in the 1920s.
The present article contains a brief analysis of the early writings of Viktor Shklovsky - his short stories in futurist magazine "Spring"(Vesna) and especially to his prose poem "Saturnine Fate"(1914). Shklovsky's references to Symbolist aesthetics as well as traces of influence by Maxim Gorky and Leonid Andreyev are also considered.
Boris Eikhenbaum wrote the novel The Route to Immortality between 1932—1933, both marking and concluding the crisis of his Formalist biography, which had begun in the latter half of the 1920s. Were it not for the complete and utter failure of this book, Eikhenbaum’s rebranding of himself as a post-Formalist might have sent him down other paths besides those of editorial work and further absorption in his “Tolstoy project”. Tynianov managed to become an author of popular historical fiction and a screenwriter; Eikhenbaum did not. Nevertheless, an unsuccessful attempt is still an attempt, although most of what is written about Eikhenbaum avoids discussing this novel or focuses on its mechanically philological nature. Levchenko suggests that the book is also interesting in its reflection of Eikhenbaum’s unrealized ambitions as a screenwriter. His peculiar ideas about film are curious to no small degree because of their dilettantism, and can be traced back to his 1920s work in film theory; in the novel, they change in accordance with his ideas about how a screenplay should look, or visualizations of literature.