Research Fellow, Tallinn University
Juri Lotman in the Soviet Debates
on Structuralism (1965–1972)
Tuesday, May 16, 2017
348 Humanities Building
In his presentation Mikhail Trunin will discuss the polemics on structural methods of studying literary texts that started in the Soviet journals of the mid-1960s. He will be reviewing Juri Lotman’s article “Литературоведение должно быть наукой” (“The Study of Literature Must be an Exact Science”), in which he opposes such literary scholars as Pyotr Palievsky (who advocated the intuitive study of literature) and Valerian Kozhinov (one of the best known partisans of Mikhail Bakhtin). He will examine what consequences this “fight for structuralism” had for Lotman and his publishing projects, focusing on two of Lotman’s publication projects devoted to semiotics that were organized at the beginning of 1970s. One is the series of books planned for publication with the Moscow publishing house “Искусство” (‘Art’), which was eventually banned. The other is an unknown collection of articles on comparative literary studies and typology of culture planned for publishing in Erevan (Armenia) but also unpublished. He will discuss the history of the afore-mentioned collection and focus on how Lotman’s contribution to it proceeds from cultural typology to the beginnings of cultural semiotics.
ABOUT THE SPEAKER
Mikhail Trunin received his PhD in Russian Literature from Moscow State University 2010. His research has focused on nineteenth-century Russian literature and Russian and East European literary theory, primarily Juri Lotman. Since 2011 he has been studying and processing the Lotman archive as a research fellow at Tallinn University in Estonia, and has prepared an annotated edition of Lotman’s correspondence with Boris Uspensky (2016).