Рыба-Ихтиолог. Краткий курс Шкловского
The article is devoted to Lermontov studies as undertaken by A.I.Zhuravleva.
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.
Historical Poetics, while in many ways an ally of Formalism, finds itself in an uneasy relationship with the empiricist mode of formalist enquiry, inasmuch as the latter is seen as generally inimical to historical contextualization. On the other hand, representatives of both Historical Poetics and of the morphological method have at different points been accused of favoring atomizing analysis over aesthetic appreciation. Ironically, this putative inability to grasp the work of art as a totality is a taint that literary theory inherited from nineteenth-century philology whose mission was precisely to combine historicization with minute attention to details of verbal texture. By emphasizing their shared philological patrimony, the article argues for a reconciliation between the morphological method and Historical Poetics. An energetic theory of literary forms, which detects historical vitality in distinct elements revealed by morphological analysis, has important precedents in Alexander Veselovsky’s theory of motif and Mikhail Bakhtin’s concepts of architectonics and the chronotope.
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.
The book offers a reconstruction of the major aspect of the scientific context of the Russian formal school, namely the latter's connection with psychology which was the fundamental science for the humanitiesof that time.