Language in Literature

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Overview

"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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674510272
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/1988
  • Pages: 560
  • Product dimensions: 6.22 (w) x 9.54 (h) x 1.42 (d)

Meet the Author

Roman Jakobson (1896-1982) was at the time of his death Professor Emeritus at Harvard University and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The late Krystyna Pomorska, Roman Jacobson's widow, was Professor of Slavic, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Stephen Rudy is Professor of Slavic, New York University.

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Table of Contents

Introduction by Krystyna Pomorska

PART I: QUESTIONS OF LITERARY THEORY

1. On Realism in Art

2. Futurism

3. Dada

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

Notes

Index

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