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"Roman Jakobson was one of the great minds of the modern world," Edward J. Brown has written, "and the effects of his genius have been felt in many fields: linguistics, semiotics, art, structural anthropology, and, of course, literature." At every stage in his odyssey from Moscow to Prague to Denmark and then to the United States, he formed collaborative efforts that changed the very nature of each discipline he touched. This book is the first comprehensive presentation in English of Jakobson's major essays on the intertwining of language and literature: here the reader will learn how it was that Jakobson became legendary.
Jakobson reveals himself as one of the great explorers of literary art in our day--a critic who revealed the avant-garde thrust of even the most worked-over poets, such as Shakespeare and Pushkin, and enabled the reader to see them as the innovators they were. Jakobson takes the reader from literature to grammar and then back again, letting points of structural detail throw a sharp light on the underlying form and linking thereby the most disparate realms into a coherent whole. In his essays we can also learn to appreciate his search for a fully systematic, nonmetaphysical understanding of the workings of literature: Jakobson made possible a deep structural analysis that did not exist before.
Among the essential items in this collection are such classics as "Linguistics and Poetics" and "On a Generation That Squandered Its Poets" and illuminations of Baudelaire, Yeats, Turgenev, Pasternak, and Blake, as well as the famous pieces on Shakespeare and Pushkin. The essays include fundamental theoretical statements, structural analyses of individual poems, explorations of the connections between poetry and experience, and semiotic perspectives on the structure of verbal and nonverbal art. This will become a basic book for contemplating the function of language in literature--a project that will continue to engross the keenest readers.
Introduction by Krystyna Pomorska
PART I: QUESTIONS OF LITERARY THEORY
1. On Realism in Art
4. The Dominant
5. Problems in the Study of Language and Literature
(with Jurij Tynjanov)
6. Language in Operation
7. Linguistics and Poetics
8. Two Aspects of Language and Two Types of Aphasic Disturbances
PART II: GRAMMAR IN POETRY
9. Poetry of Grammar and Grammar of Poetry
10. Grammatical Parallelism and Its Russian Facet
11. Baudelaire's "Les Chats" (with Claude Lévi-Strauss)
12. Shakespeare's Verbal Art in "Th' Expence of Spirit"
(with L. G. Jones)
13. Yeats' "Sorrow of Love" through the Years
(with Stephen Rudy)
14. Subliminal Verbal Patterning in Poetry
15. Supraconscious Turgenev
PART III: WRITER, BIOGRAPHY, MYTH
16. On a Generation That Squandered Its Poets
17. Marginal Notes on the Prose of the Poet Pasternak
18. The Statue in Pu∫kin's Poetic Mythology
19. What Is Poetry?
20. Notes on Myth in Erben's Work
21. In Memory of V. V. Hanka
PART IV: SEMIOTIC VISTAS
22. Quest for the Essence of Language
23. On Linguistic Aspects of Translation
24. A Glance at the Development of Semiotics
25. Musicology and Linguistics
26. Is the Film in Decline?
27. On the Relation between Visual and Auditory Signs
28. Motor Signs for "Yes" and "No"
29. On the Verbal Art of William Blake and Other Poet-Painters