Radical socio-cultural transformation constituted the very material and style, the texture and technique, of Russian Formalism. Estrangement, shift, deformation, struggle between old and new genres, mutual antagonism of successive literary generations, tension between archaists and innovators: these concepts, which took shape as the terminological framework for Russian Formalism and determined its analytical optics, constituted a form of figurative transference. These were conceptual metaphors, translating the brutal literalism of social cataclysms into the conventional language of literary theory, transforming historical necessity into the freedom of theoretical thought. The power of the revolution’s elemental forces, manifesting in a series of deviations from normative social routine, demanded a turn to a singular conceptual horizon, in which the aesthetic and the political were intertwined under the onslaught of the revolution.
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