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SLAVIC 223: Russian & East European Literary Theory: Formalism, Bakhtin, & Beyond

This course explores the role of Russian and East European thinkers in creating modern literary theory, a discipline which arguably began in this region. Can we speak of "Russian theory" or "East European theory," analogous to labels such as "French theory"? While emphasizing the Formalists (Shklovsky, Tynianov, Eikhenbaum, Jakobson) and the Bakhtin circle (Bakhtin, Voloshinov), we will also read their predecessors (Potebnia, Humboldt, Veselovsky) and later thinkers inspired by them (Lydia Ginzburg, Yuri Lotman) as well as their contemporary interlocutors who shaped structuralist and Marxist schools of theory (Jan Muka¿ovsky, Georg Lukács). Key issues will include the concept of literary or poetic language, the definition of ¿form¿ and its relationship with ¿content," the extent of literature¿s autonomy with respect to historical developments and social forces, the importance of genre, and the nature of literary scholarship. Theoretical texts will be closely read. Knowledge of Russian or another Slavic language is helpful but not required: readings will be offered in English translation.
Terms: Aut, Spr | Units: 3-5 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II
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