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Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Bowstring by Victor Shklovsky. Shushan Avagyun Translator. The similar turns out to be dissimilar. As Shklovsky experiments with different genres, employing a technique of textual montage, he mixes autobiography, biography, memoir, history, and literary criticism in a book that boldly refutes mechanical repetition, mediocrity, and cultural parochialism in the name of art that dares to be different and innovative.
Bowstring is a brilliant and provocative book that spares no one in its unapologetic project to free art from conventionality. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. More Details Other Editions 6. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Bowstring , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 4. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of Bowstring: On the Dissimilarity of the Similar.
Mar 15, Dont rated it it was amazing Shelves: literature , radical-aesthetic. I came to this book after having read Silvija Jestrovic's "Theatre of Estrangement. That fact gives the reader fair indication that these pages will be filled with an old man's review of the authors, books and ideas that have resided in the years of his life.
For the literary scholar, the centerpiece of the book is Shklovsky's continual reappraisal of his earliest ideas as one of the architects of formalist poetics; the id I came to this book after having read Silvija Jestrovic's "Theatre of Estrangement. For the literary scholar, the centerpiece of the book is Shklovsky's continual reappraisal of his earliest ideas as one of the architects of formalist poetics; the idea that language "does" rather than merely "means" or "expresses.
Here, over fifty years later with so many of his loved ones dead and his literary heroes destroyed by the decades of Stalinism, Shklovsky throws much doubt on the brash pronouncements of his youth. He also returns once more as he had several times over his life to his criticism of the more well-known Mikhail Bakhtin. If the early Shklovksy is faulted for ignoring the importance of sentiment in art, the limitations of Bakhtin stemmed from too much fondness in his own ideas at the expense of a commonsense reading of his sources.
The devil, he seems to be chiding the author of "Rabelais and His World" is in the details. But here, in my own account of having read Shklovsky's book, I just can't muster the will to go into these more scholastic matters.
What impresses me most about "Bowstring" is the writing itself. A lifetime of studying literature produced in Shklovsky an incredible literary voice that is at once angry, mournful, and even hopeful against all evidence seen. The book itself moves casually between recapitulations of novellas by Tolstoy, accounts of long-dead literary scholars that Shklovksy refers to with great affection as among his friends, and simply exquisite observations.
On page I read this sentence; "I have lived a long life, I have seen crowds, been on many roads, and I know what a wet overcoat smells like. In fact, it was because of these sorts of prizes that I read the entire book. While, in the end, Shklovsky sounds like a weary humanist devoted to art like a religion of universalism, the greater wisdom lies in these short poetic observations.
They appear often in the most unexpected place; pulling you out of a long recapitulations of Thomas Mann's novel on the Biblical Joseph or one of the author's many lengthy discussions about the value of art, its social function in recuperating the dissimilar within the similar.
And then, suddenly, one reads: "Mythology is not a place for leisurely walks; it's a battlefield" This is the sort of book that teaches one about the possibilities of a different kind of writing by the way it's written, more so than by it's own declarations about literature.
Having said that, Shklovsky's comparison between the aforementioned Mann novel and the economy found in the original Biblical "novella" has had a profound impact on my thinking. But for now, I am quite moved by having come to the end of this book. I have lived with "Bowstring' for the past two months. Having finished it, I feel like I have come to the end of a especially precious day that I know will never be lived again. View all 4 comments. Feb 14, Sunny rated it liked it Shelves: culture , russian-literature.
The book spoke eloquently on many topics such as poetry and fairy tales and their importance to mankind amongst lots of other topics such as language and thought in That Stalin Russian era. May 21, Michael marked it as abandoned Shelves: from-the-russian , non-fiction. Too subtle for me -- and I'm not being snide. Perfectly readable, and I can tell that there is something significant there, but it eludes me.
Maybe I'll try it again when I'm a little older. Derek rated it liked it Apr 28, Timothy O'sullivan rated it liked it Mar 03, Middlethought rated it it was amazing Aug 05, Eugene Shimalsky rated it really liked it Jul 29, Louis Stiller rated it really liked it Feb 16, Inna rated it it was amazing Sep 08, Parag rated it really liked it Mar 28, Tom rated it really liked it Aug 04, Vanessa rated it it was amazing Jun 14, Molly rated it really liked it Jun 02, Stephen rated it it was amazing Aug 10, Ole Jorn rated it it was amazing Oct 01, Berko Berkovic rated it it was amazing Apr 05, Ishan rated it it was amazing Nov 11, Beta rated it it was amazing Aug 26, Steven rated it liked it Nov 07, Joshua Frame rated it liked it May 08, Purpo rated it it was amazing Apr 16, Jason Waldrop rated it it was amazing Jan 03, Megan Catherine rated it liked it Feb 26, Samantha rated it it was amazing Jul 18, Stockfish rated it it was amazing Mar 17, Ttt rated it really liked it Sep 13, Sara rated it it was amazing Mar 26, There are no discussion topics on this book yet.
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Bowstring : On the Dissimilarity of the Similar
Bowstring: On the Dissimilarity of the Similar