Bowstring and Energy of Delusion

Nice article here on Viktor Shklovsky.

Shklovsky is a master of this kind of insightful but moony speculation, which begins life as taxonomy but finishes as myth. It is a skill that is conspicuously on display in both Bowstring and Energy of Delusion. Originally published in 1970 and 1981 respectively, these books were written at a time when the tenets of Russian formalism were just being superseded by the advent of new theoretical approaches like structuralism and post-structuralism. But these books are not the theoretical retrenchments one might expect; they are each surprisingly personal and experimental in form, works of uncommon density and craft that revel in the calculated pleasures of irony and delay, repetition and allegory. Both texts, but especially Bowstring, are just as much exercises in storytelling as they are clinical examinations of its laws.

Narrative, for Shklovsky, is not a way to communicate ideas, but a way to expose ideas to the contradictions that work on them from all sides, to “renew thought and disrupt the sclerosis of concepts,” as he puts it.

More from Conversational Reading:

  1. Bowstring and The Stories and Essays of Mina Loy A couple of new Dalkey titles I wanted to mention--the first is Bowstring by seminal Russian critic Viktor Shklovsky. The Dalkey Archive website page for...
  2. The Helpless Art So, mastering the craft obscures writing's helplessness, except you didn't mention metaphor, perhaps because it is the unextended mode of allegory, and you're interested in...
  3. More Exercises in Style For the 65th anniversary of Exercises in Style, New Directions is doing a new edition, with 25 newly translated exercises from Queneau, plus tribute exercises...
  4. Milan Kundera in Czech Who whould have thought it would take them this long. Milan Kundera wrote The Unbearable Lightness of Being in Czech (Nesnesitelná lehkost bytí) back in...
  5. Camera Lucida The Guardian has a nice piece on one of my favorite Barthes books--Camera Lucida...

Related posts brought to you by Yet Another Related Posts Plugin.

Criticism Isn't Free

CR is dedicated to thoughtful, in-depth criticism without regard to what's commercially appealing. It takes tens of hours each month to provide this. Please help make this sort of writing sustainable, either with a subscription or a one-time donation. Thank you!

Got Something To Say:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Shop though these links = Support this site

Copyright © 2015. Powered by WordPress & Romangie Theme.