Summary of The Theory of the Formal Method

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In “The Theory of the ’Formal Method”’, written in 1925, the author Boris Eichenbaum outlines and explains the evolution of the Russian For- malist movement and, by that, elucidates it’s main arguments. He states that there is no fixed theory or ready-made system which can be described as the Formalist’s theory. The basis of the formalist position is that the ob- ject of literary science, as such, must be the study of those specifics which distinguish it from any other material. For the Formalists, the object of the science of literature is not literature but literariness. Their ideas are still evolving and thus, the essay is just an image of the current state. Eichen- baum says that for Formalists, theory and history merge not only in words but also in facts. The Formalist approach has scientific principles, thus it is objective, scientific and allows to study literature systematically. He says that they are not advocates of a certain method but students of an object. The Formalists passed through various states. First, the movement started out by deliberately ignoring pre...
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