First published in 1923, Knight's Move is a collection of articles and short critical pieces that Viktor Shklovsky, no doubt the most original literary critic and theoretician of the twentieth century, wrote for the newspaper The Life of Art between 1919 and 1921. With his usual epigrammatic, acerbic wit and genius, Shklovsky pillories the bad writers, artists, and critics of his time, especially those who used art as a political or social tool. And at no time is Shklovsky better than when he insists with indignation and outrage that "Art has always been free of life. Its flag has never reflected the color of the flag that flies over the city fortress." As fresh and revolutionary today as they were when written nearly a century ago, these pieces promise to infuriate an English-speaking readership as much as the Russian one of the 1920s.
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Viktor Shklovsky (1893-1984) was a leading figure in the Russian Formalist movement of the 1920s and had a profound effect on twentieth-century Russian literature. Several of his books have been translated into English, including "Zoo, or Letters Not about Love, Third Factory, Theory of Prose, A Sentimental Journey, Energy of Delusion", and "Literature and Cinematography", and "Bowstring".From Publishers Weekly:
Dalkey continues its project of bringing the Shklovsky canon into English with this set of writings first published the Soviet theatre journal, The Life of Art, between 1919-1921-years when, Shklovsky says, Russian people were "capable of eating human flesh," so great was the post-revolutionary set of privations. In it, Shklovsky-in the slow, paratactic, aphoristic style for which he is justly well-known-develops a position against the prevailing Soviet doctrine on what art should be and what it should do. That he does so while paying close attention to the actual social and economic conditions in the nascent Soviet republic is just one of the many delicious ironies of this masterful set of essays. While some remain a little too keyed to the events of the time, most have aged well.
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