Viktor Shklovsky (1893-1984) was both patriarch and enfant terrible of Formalism, a literary and film scholar, a fiction writer and the protagonist of other people's novels, instructor of an armoured division and professor at the Art History Institute, revolutionary and counterrevolutionary. His work was deeply informed by his long and eventful life. He wrote for over 70 years, both as a very young man in the wake of the Russian revolution and as a ninety year old, never tiring of analyzing the workings of literature. Shklovsky's work is aphoristic, essayistic, startlingly thought-provoking, and eminently readable.
Viktor Shklovsky: A Reader is the first book that collects crucial writings from across Shklovsky's career, serving as an entry point for first-time readers. It presents new translations of key texts as well as important work that has not appeared in English before. The theoretical writing is interspersed with excerpts from memoirs and letters that illuminate the essays.
“What we call art exists in order to give back the sensation of life”, wrote Shklovsky in 1917. Literary and film scholarship, as practiced by him, exist in order to give back the sensation of art.