Literature and its interpretation 9783111341941, 9789027933874

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Literature and its interpretation
 9783111341941, 9789027933874

Table of contents :
CONTENTS
THE RUSSIAN FORMALIST SCHOOL
THE PRAGUE SCHOOL
THE NEW CRITICISM
PHENOMENOLOGY AND LITERARY CRITICISM
THE SOCIOLOGICAL APPROACH TO LITERATURE

Citation preview

DE PROPRIETATIBUS LITTERARUM edenda curat

C. H. VAN SCHOONEVELD Indiana

University

Series Minor, 24

LITERATURE AND ITS INTERPRETATION edited by

LAJOS NYÎRÔ

MOUTON PUBLISHERS THE H A G U E • PARIS • N E W Y O R K

ISBN 90 279 3387 1 (Mouton) © Copyright 1979 • Akademiai Kiad6 • Budapest No part of this book may be translated or reproduced in any form, by print, photoprint, microfilm, or any other means, without written permission from the publishers.

Translated by S. SIMON

Joint publication of MOUTON PUBLISHERS-THE HAGUE and AKADEMIAI K I A D 6 • BUDAPEST Printed in Hungary

CONTENTS Lajos Nyiro, The Russian Formalist School

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Historical survey 9 — The Russian Formalists' views on literary theory 28 — Summary 65

Laszlo Sziklay, The Prague School

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Its birth and place in Czech cultural history 71 — The connection of literary studies and contemporary poetry 73 — The Praguians and the Russian Formalists 74 — The functions of language 75 — The German precedents 78 — The most important theses of the Prague School 81 — The linguistic and prosodic approach to the work of art 83 — Structure and semantic gesture 83 — The modernity of poetry 86 — The aesthetic function of the work of art 93 — The problem of literary periods, the immanent development of literature 95 — Periodization and the genesis of the literary work 95 — From structuralist poetics to structuralist aesthetics and philosophy of art 96 — Mukarovsky's one-sidedness 103 — National literatures and the comparative method 106

Jozsef Szili, The New Criticism Poetry as cognition and as structure — the views of Ransom, Tate and Brooks 115 — Fugitivism, Agrarianism and New Criticism 118 — Ransom, Tate and Brooks on poetry as cognition 129 — Contextualist models of the work of art 139

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Gyorgy M . Vajda, Phenomenology and Literary Criticism . . 163 Introduction 165 Phenomenological concepts 166 — Variants of the phenomenological approach to literature 171 — The methodological principles of the phenomenological analysis of the literary work 198 - Epilogue in 1977 222 Karoly Varga, The Sociological Approach to L i t e r a t u r e . . . . Definition 233 — The forerunners of the sociological approach to literature 238 — The problems of the sociological approach to literature 251 — The significance of the sociological approach to literature in the development of the theory of literature 294

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LAJOS N Y f R O

THE RUSSIAN FORMALIST SCHOOL

HISTORICAL SURVEY Before the 1917 Revolution, during the years of World War I, the young men in Prof. Yengerov's Pushkin seminar at Petersburg University became enthused about studying poetic language, rhythm, rhyme and composition. At that time there was in Moscow another linguistic circle,1 whose members made vehement attacks on Fortunatov's Neogrammarian principles. The members of these two circles formed Opojaz? The activity of Opojaz first passed unnoticed but in the twenties got into the cross-fire of spirited debates. Among the debaters were such well-known persons as Lunacharsky, Trotsky, Bukharin, Sakulin, Kogan and Pereverzev. Opinions about the School, which was later also called "formalist", were unequivocally condemnatory, especially after it was "closed down" in the early thirties. And from the latter half of the thirties onward its activity was hidden by a veil of silence, except for the occasional derogatory remark or biassed political interpretation. All the same, the literary theories of the Russian formalists exercised a tremendous influence on modern literary scholarship. Their works were soon translated into Czech, Slovak and Polish, and their achievements survived in the teachings of the Prague 1 The Moscow Linguistic Circle was formed in 1915 by some university students: F. I. Buslaev, Petr Bogatyrev, Roman Jakobson and G. O. Vinokur. 2 Opojaz (Obschestvo izuchenija poeticheskogo jazyka) (Society for the Study of Poetic Language) was born in 1919. The founding members were, among others, Viktor Shklovsky, L. P. Jakubinsky, Osip Brik, B. M. Eichenbaum and Roman Jakobson. They were joined by Jury Tynyanov and B. M. Tomashesvsky. 'Fellow-travellers' of Opojaz were V. M. Zhirmunsky and V. V. Vinogradov.

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L. N Y f R Ö

School and in the Polish Integral School.3 Their influence is to some extent felt in In garden's conception of the artistic work; Wellek and Warren in their Theory of Literature often make mention of the theoretical achievements of the Russian formalists. A decade or so ago their activity was still more frequently talked about. In America, Victor Erlich wrote a monograph discussing the history of the school and its basic principles.4 In France, a collection of their essays was published, and on that occasion Pierre Daix in his article published in Les Lettres Françaises gave a favourable evaluation of their literary views.5 Mouton publishers issued in photoprint the works of three Russian formalists: Zhirmunsky, Tynyanov and Eichenbaum.6 The attitude towards the Formalist School has also changed in the socialist countries. Works by Shklovsky, Tomashevsky and Tynyanov have recently appeared in the Soviet Union. These reprints have become subjects of heated debates. Timofeyev, Eisberg and Palievsky reject very emphatically all the theoretical precepts of the formalists. Others, however, mainly those who approach art through semantics or information theory, and those who introduce structuralist methods to the examination of the work of art, hold them in high esteem. It should be noted that even the theoretical opponents of the formalists cannot do without certain of their results. In essays on poetic language we always meet the names of Shklovsky, Tomashevsky, Tynyanov, Jakubinsky and Zhirmunsky. Especially Czech scholars are interested in the formalist teachings. Zdenek Mathauser in his 3

We mention only a few major works here: Viktor Shklovsky, Teorie prôzy (Praha, 1933); Teoria literat üry, ed. Mikulâs Bakos (Trnava, 1941). Publications in Polish: V. M. Zhirmunsky, Wstep do poetiki (Warszawa, 1934); B. M. Tomashevsky, Teoria literaturi (Poznan, 1935); Ruskaform alna szkola (Warszawa, 1937). 4 Victor Erlich, Russian Formalism: History — Doctrine (The Hauge, 1955); in German: Russischer Formalismus (München, 1964). 5 Théorie de la littérature, ed. Tzvetan Todorov (Paris, 1965). — Pierre Daix, 'Les Formalistes russes (1915—1930) et la théorie de la littérature'. Les Lettres Françaises, March 3 — 9, 1966. 6 V. M. Zhirmunsky, Voprosy teorii literatury (The Hague, 1962). — B. M. Eichenbaum, Skvoz' literaturu (The Hague, 1962); Russkaja proza (The Hugue, 1963). — Tynyanov, Problema stikhotvornogo jazyka (The Hague, 1963); Arkhaisty i novatory (München, 1967).

T H E R U S S I A N F O R M A L I S T SCHOOL

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monograph on Mayakovsky interprets both the artistic principles and the poetic activity of the Soviet poets in terms of the Opojaz theory of literature; Grebenickova and Ladislav Stoll, analysing the "formal method", wrote lengthy essays on the subject.7

THE RISE OF THE RUSSIAN FORMALIST SCHOOL

The history of the Russian Formalist School is linked to the history of the Russian society of the early years of the century, to the events in its ideological and artistic life. From the turn of the century, Russian society was in a state of ferment and became the scene of radical changes which led to the October Revolution and to the formation of the first proletarian state. Reflecting this historic development, sharp differences and fierce battles characterized the situation of the most diverse branches of art in the prerevolutionary period as well as in the years following 1917. Opposed to each other, just as on the social and political battlefield, were the old and the new, the revolutionary and the conservative. New initiatives were made in almost all spheres of art. A good deal of them proved to be pioneering enterprises of twentiethcentury modern art. Masters of Russian painting, such as Kandinsky, Malevic, Chagall, Larionov, Lissitzky, and Gabo Pevsner exercised great influence on the future of modern art. The new trend in sculpture was set by artists such as Arkhipenko, Zadkin and Tatlin. In music we can refer to Skryabin and Stravinsky. Also literature, particularly poetry, underwent radical changes. The mushrooming poetic schools opposed all that was obsolete and traditional and rudely battled with one another at the same time. Conspicuous was the vigour and wide the spectrum of initiatives and experimentation in the literary development unfolding in the current of the working-class movement. Publishing houses and 7 Zdenek Mathauser, UmSni poezie: Vladimir Majakovskij a jého doba (Praha, 1964). — R. Grebenickova, 'Sternianstvi v ruské proze', Ceskoslovenská rusistika, Oct. 1, 1965. — Ladislav Stoll, 'Z krize estetiky a ruska formálni skola', in O tvar a strukturu v slovesném v umini (Praha, 1966). — M. Grygar, 'Formálni metoda po ctyriceti letech', Ceska literatura, 1966.

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L. NYIR