Russian Formalism

(3115 words)
  • Emily Van Buskirk (Rutgers University )

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

Formalism, a major school of literary criticism, developed in Russia in the early twentieth century. Emerging in 1915, two years before the Bolshevik Revolution, the Formalist movement thrived for more than a decade despite rising opposition and pressure from Marxist ideologues. The Soviet authorities decisively silenced the Formalists in 1930. Notwithstanding an abbreviated history, Formalist ideas, methods, and studies have had a strong and lasting impact on literary theory, perhaps most directly on the development of Structuralism and Semiotics.

The name “Formalism” is, in a sense, unfortunate in as much as it suggests a study of literature that narrowly confines itself to form, with a disregard for content and the …

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Van Buskirk, Emily. "Russian Formalism". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 04 December 2006
[, accessed 25 September 2016.]

Related Groups

  1. Structuralism