Preface: Data-Driven Formalism
The idea of producing a special volume of hitherto untranslated texts by Russian formalists owes its existence to a newly awakened interest in quantification in the (digital) literary studies. A first indication of this was the conference in Stanford in 2015, entitled »Russian Formalism and the Digital Humanities«. The reason for this interest is simple: With the manifold practices developed in the digital literary studies in the past decade, we are now able to operationalise and automatise formalist research ideas, to reproduce them, to scale them up and to further develop methods along those lines. In this volume, we present three articles by Russian scholars, Muscovite scholars, to be precise. Boris I. Yarkho (1889–1942), Mikhail L. Gasparov (1935–2005) and Maksim I. Shapir (1962–2006) come from different periods representing three generations of Russian formalism, and their works are strongly intertwined.
The scientific views and methodology of Julian Oksman (1895-1970), prominent Russian philologist, were shaping in pre- and revolutionary periods. This part of his biography remains substantially unknown. Using Oksman’s personal records and early literary works, this paper aims to explore his interpretation of the 1917 Revolution as well as its impact on his scientific research. The paper gives a double explanation of the problem: a retrospective one based on Oksman’s latest evidences on the revolution and a synchronistic one based on the letters to his wife in the 1910s. The paper also reveals the philosophical roots of Oksman’s methodology, raises the issue ‘Oksman and formalists,’ and studies his ideas in the context of ideological and methodological explorations of the revolutionary period.
Zimmermann (1824–1898) contributes an important Ästhetik to the history of aesthetic formalism and he is a major representative of Vienna Herbartianism. In my analysis I show, on the one hand, that he aims at delivering a systematic work, based on the insights which Herbart had already provided, without treating them exhaustively. On the other hand―I argue―it is not unproblematic to reconcile Zimmermann’s views with Herbart’s ideas, especially when crucial notions such as ‘form’ and ‘relationship’ are considered. Paradoxically, the distance between the two thinkers ultimately emerges from the essay in which Zimmermann examines the analogy Herbart himself had drawn between music theory and practical philosophy. My conclusion thus is: where Zimmermann broadens Herbart’s theories, pursuing their explanation and systematic completion, he betrays the main issues of Herbartian formalism and philosophy; Herbart’s most profitable theories―concrete formalism and functionalism―are abandoned in favour of abstract, void constructions.
The article describes the concept of the estrangement that is one of the key notions of the Formalist school theory, and also one of the main aesthetic practices of literature and art of XXth century.
The essay surveys four articles of the section dedicated to the boundaries of fiction in literature, scientific discourse, and other areas of human creativity. The section is supposed to contribute to the study of a broad range of the problem of literary theory, such as the interaction between literature and other social practices, resulting in the creation of a particulare discourse of 'reality' and 'objectivity', and the highly controversial issue of the relationship between 'material' and 'form' in the literary text.
The paper is focused on the study of reaction of italian literature critics on the publication of the Boris Pasternak's novel "Doctor Jivago". The analysys of the book ""Doctor Jivago", Pasternak, 1958, Italy" (published in Russian language in "Reka vremen", 2012, in Moscow) is given. The papers of italian writers, critics and historians of literature, who reacted immediately upon the publication of the novel (A. Moravia, I. Calvino, F.Fortini, C. Cassola, C. Salinari ecc.) are studied and analised.
In the article the patterns of the realization of emotional utterances in dialogic and monologic speech are described. The author pays special attention to the characteristic features of the speech of a speaker feeling psychic tension and to the compositional-pragmatic peculiarities of dialogic and monologic text.