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Language in literature / Roman Jakobson; ed. Krystyna Pomorska, Stephen Rudy

Main Author Jakobson, Roman, 1896-1982 Secondary Author Pomorska, Krystyna
Rudy, Stephen
Country Estados Unidos. Publication Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 1987 Description 548 p. ; 24 cm ISBN 0-674-51027-5 CDU 801 800.1
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Monografia Biblioteca de Ciências da Educação
BCE 801 - J Available 52035
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

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.

Table of contents provided by Syndetics

  • Introduction
  • 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
  • 6 Language in Operation
  • 7 Linguistics and Poetics
  • 8 Two Aspects of Language and Two Types of AphasicDisturbances
  • 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""
  • 12 Shakespear

Reviews provided by Syndetics


Roman Jakobson (1896-1982) was one of the seminal minds of the 20th century, making major contributions to anthropology, linguistics, literary studies, and semiotics. The present collection gathers 29 of his essays on language in literature, some appearing in full English versions for the first time. Ranging in time from 1919 to 1979, they include enormously influential theoretical studies such as "Linguistics and Poetics," as well as lesser, occasional pieces. Arranged under the headings "Questions of Literary Theory," "Grammar in Poetry," "Writer, Biography, Myth," and "Semiotic Vistas," the essays present a much broader selection than the 1985 collection Verbal Art, Verbal Sign, Verbal Time (CH, Nov '85), although there is some overlap. Almost all of Jakobson's more significant work is available in his voluminous (and extremely expensive) Selected Writings (2nd, expanded ed., The Hague, 1971- ), where, however, materials usually appear in their original language of publication. Jakobson's compact prose is well translated, and his editors have provided brief introductions to each section. This volume is essential for all academic libraries. -D. B. Johnson, University of California, Santa Barbara

Kirkus Book Review

In a time when signifier and signified seem like shuttlecocks in an elegant intellectual badminton game, it's vital to see where semiotics almost went (and still might go) as explored by someone who also heard poetry and prose as music rather than merely symbolic dialectic. Jakobson--co-founder of both the Moscow and Prague Linguistic Circles early in the century, friend of Mayakovsky, Khlebnikov, Pasternak; brilliant teacher in the US--was one of the century's great intellectuals. His collected work stands published for scholars, but here are the essays--on Pasternak, on Blake, on Baudelaire's Le Chat, on aphasia and metaphor, on Hopkins, on statuary in Pushkin--that are legends of scientific criticism. Oddly, for all that, Jakobson's brilliance never has quite been enough appreciated in academic circles: his definitions of and rededications to the ideas of phonemic determinism, metonymy, and realism--particularly these--go against still prevailing academic tastes for the morpheme, metaphor, and irony. But maybe with this volume a real crack will be made, bringing as it does a remarkable range of reading (more impressive in a way than even Erich Auerbach's in Mimesis) to bear on the DNA-like proteins of literary creation. Indispensable for anyone interested in the meanings and powers of language. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

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