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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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