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Bowstring: On the Dissimilarity of the Similar (Russian Literature) (Russian Literature Series) [Paperback]

Viktor Shklovsky , Shushan Avagyan

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Book Description

26 July 2011 Russian Literature Series
Myths do not flow through the pipes of history, writes Viktor Shklovsky, they change and splinter, they contrast and refute one another. The similar turns out to be dissimilar. Published in Moscow in 1970 and appearing in English translation for the first time, Bowstring is a seminal work, in which Shklovsky redefines estrangement (ostranenie) as a device of the literary comparatist the person out of place, who has turned up in a period where he does not belong and who must search for meaning with a strained sensibility. As Shklovsky experiments with different genres, employing a technique of textual montage, he mixes autobiography, biography, memoir, history, and literary criticism in a book that boldly refutes mechanical repetition, mediocrity, and cultural parochialism in the name of art that dares to be different and innovative. Bowstring is a brilliant and provocative book that spares no one in its unapologetic project to free art from conventionality.

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Review

the works of Viktor Shklovsky are so appropriate to our contemporary situation as to seem to have been written for us. His writings do precisely what he has said it is art s goal to do: they restore . . . sensation of the world, they resurrect things and kill pessimism. --Lyn Hejinian

Shklovsky is a disciple worthy of Sterne. He has appropriated the device of infinitely delayed event, of the digression helplessly promising to return to the point, and of disguising his superbly controlled art with a breezy nonchalance. But it is not really Sterne that Shklovsky sounds like: it is an intellectual and witty Hemingway. (Guy Davenport - National Review) --Guy Davenport - National Review

A rambling, digressive stylist, Shklovsky throws off brilliant aperçus on every page. . . . Like an architect s blueprint, [he] lays bare the joists and studs that hold up the house of fiction. --Michael Dirda - Washington Post

About the Author

Viktor Shklovsky (1893-1984) was a leading figure in the Russian Formalist movement of the 1920s and had a profound effect on twentieth-century Russian literature. Several of his books have been translated into English, including Zoo, or Letters Not about Love, Third Factory, Theory of Prose, A Sentimental Journey, Energy of Delusion, and Literature and Cinematography, and Bowstring. Shushan Avagyan, translator of Bowstring and Energy of Delusion, has also translated the works of Armenian poet S. Kurghinian. She is working on her doctoral degree in Comparative Literature at Illinois State University.

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