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Theory of Prose (Russian Literature Series) Paperback – February 1, 1991


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Product Details

  • Series: Russian Literature Series
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press (February 1, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0916583643
  • ISBN-13: 978-0916583644
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #160,827 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

This 1929 book by one of the founding fathers of Russian formalism is one of the most important works in the history of literary theory.

(Choice)

A rambling, digressive stylist, Shklovsky throws off brilliant apercus on every page.... Like an architect's blueprint, it lays bare the joists and studs that hold up the house of fiction.

(Michael Dirda, Washington Post Book World)

About the Author

Viktor Borisovich Shklovsky (or Shklovskii) was a Russian and Soviet critic, writer, and pamphleteer.

Customer Reviews

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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Douglas Robinson on April 6, 2006
Dalkey Archive Press has decided to bring out Viktor Shklovsky in English, mostly as translated by Richard Sheldon; but they've gone back and reprinted this translation of Shklovsky's important essay collection from 1925 by Benjamin Sher, originally published in 1990. It's very good to have it in print, in a good-enough English translation. (My rating is based on the quality of the book; if I were rating it for the translation, I'd go a little lower. More on the translation in a moment.)

The book begins with Shklovsky's powerfully influential essay from 1917 "Art as Device," which develops the idea of estrangement (ostranenie, translated by Sher as "enstrangement") that influenced Bertolt Brecht in his formulation of the Verfremdungseffekt or estrangement effect. Surprisingly in a collection of formalist essays, perhaps, it is focused on the impact form has on reader psychology: artistic form, Shklovsky insists, exists to make readers FEEL the world more freshly, "to make the stone stony." This Bergsonian notion of deautomatization, the overcoming of the "algebraization" of perception by intensifying our felt perception of the world, is virtually mystical in Shklovsky, grounded in German Romanticism (Novalis), German Idealism (Hegel), Russian Symbolism (Bely), and Russian Futurism (Khlebnikov). In later essays his focus moves increasingly toward abstract form, but in the second and third essays he is still very much interested in reader psychology and the intensification of felt perception, in the second in a long quotation from the German aesthetician Broder Christiansen's 1909 book Der Philosophie der Kunst, in the third in a discussion of a passage from Chekhov's notebooks.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Turiyan gold on August 1, 2014
Verified Purchase
The bible of russian formalism
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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Andrey P. de Oliveira on September 13, 2009
I am from Brazil. In our country, in which the portuguese language is sponken, we have very feel books by the russian formalism. Thats why a decided to buy this book. This is a very important material to people who studie the prose theory, mainly to whom that believe that the "close reading" is a fundamental approach.
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