Prague Linguistic Circle (Prague School)- Russian Formalism

Prague School
Prague School
Prague Linguistic Circle (Prague School)- Russian Formalism 3

Prague Linguistic Circle (Prague School)

  • Formalism was officially banned in Russia in 1936
    – The Communists could not accept the practice of
    ostranenie or defamiliarization, which came into conflict
    with Socialist Marxism
  • The Formalists relocated to Prague in 1926
    – Here it came to be called the Prague Linguistic Circle
  • The first president, Vilém Mathesius
  • Major figures (total 50)
    – Roman Jakobson
    – Nikolai Trubetzkoy
    – Jan Mukarovsky
    – Rene Wellek

The Prague Linguistic Circle, also known as the Prague School, emerged as a continuation of the Formalist movement after many Formalists relocated to Prague from Russia in 1926. The move was prompted by the banning of Formalism in the Soviet Union in 1936, as the Communist regime found the ideas of defamiliarization and formal analysis to be at odds with Socialist Marxism.

The Prague Linguistic Circle was established in Prague, Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic), and it became a hub for innovative linguistic and literary theory. Vilém Mathesius, a Czech linguist, served as the first president of the circle.

Roman Jakobson, Nikolai Trubetzkoy, Jan Mukarovsky, and Rene Wellek

The Prague Linguistic Circle consisted of approximately 50 members, including influential figures such as Roman Jakobson, Nikolai Trubetzkoy, Jan Mukarovsky, and Rene Wellek.

Roman Jakobson, a key figure in both the Moscow Linguistic Circle and the Prague Linguistic Circle, made significant contributions to linguistic theory and structuralism. He focused on the study of phonology, semiotics, and the role of language in communication.

OPOYAZ – Society for the Study of Poetic Language

Nikolai Trubetzkoy, also a member of the Moscow Linguistic Circle before joining the Prague School, was known for his work in phonology. His theories on phonological features and the study of sound patterns had a profound impact on linguistic analysis.

Jan Mukarovsky, a Czech literary and cultural theorist, played a crucial role in developing the field of literary structuralism within the Prague School. He emphasized the interplay between literary form and social context, considering the aesthetic and ideological functions of literature.

Rene Wellek, a literary critic and theoretician, was associated with the Prague School and made significant contributions to literary theory and the study of literary history. He emphasized the importance of historical and formal analysis in understanding literary texts.

The Prague Linguistic Circle focused on a structuralist approach to language and literature. They developed a comprehensive framework for analyzing various elements of language, including phonology, syntax, semantics, and literary devices. Their approach also considered the social and cultural aspects that influence language and literature.

The Prague School’s work had a lasting impact on linguistic and literary theory, influencing fields such as semiotics, structuralism, and literary criticism. The circle’s members went on to have influential careers and their ideas continue to shape the study of language and literature today.

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