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Boris Eikhenbaum's Unfinished Work on Tolstoy: A Dialogue with Soviet History

Carol Any
PMLA
Vol. 105, No. 2 (Mar., 1990), pp. 233-244
DOI: 10.2307/462559
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/462559
Page Count: 12
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Boris Eikhenbaum's Unfinished Work on Tolstoy: A Dialogue with Soviet History
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Abstract

The Russian formalist and Tolstoy scholar Boris Eikhenbaum is best known for his work in developing an intrinsic poetics. After his formalist period, however, Eikhenbaum turned, in his work on Tolstoy, to extrinsic approaches, initially privileging author and reader and later focusing on social context. This essay argues that Eikhenbaum's choice of particular extrinsic approaches was suggested, indirectly and unexpectedly, by Soviet political culture in the Stalin years. An examination of the relation between Eikhenbaum's literary theories and Soviet political reality is followed by an evaluation of Eikhenbaum's postformalist Tolstoy scholarship.

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