Tihanov: The Birth and Death of Literary Theory

Galin Tihanov, former and honorary president of the ICLA Research Committee on Literary Theory, has authored The Birth and Death of Literary Theory: Regimes of Relevance in Russia and Beyond. Published by Stanford UP, Tihanov’s book tells the story of literary theory by focusing on its formative interwar decades in Russia. Nowhere else did literary theory emerge and peak so early, even as it shared space with other modes of reflection on literature. A comprehensive account of every important Russian trend between the World Wars, the book traces their wider and continuous impact in the West. Ranging from Russian Formalism and Bakhtin to the legacy of classic literary theory in our post-deconstruction, world literature era, Tihanov provides answers to two key questions: What does it mean to think about literature theoretically, and what happens to literary theory when this option is no longer available?