The Polish Formalist School and Russian Formalism

This study looks closely at the changes taking place in Polish literary scholarship at the turn of the century, and focuses on the work of the founder of Polish Formalism, Kazimierz Woycicki and the other main theoreticians and practitioners of this School. While presenting a comparative and contrasting approach to Polish and Russian Formalism, the study concentrates on how the ideas of the Russian Formalists were accepted and applied by the Polish School, which modified and transcended them. Special attention is paid to Woycicki's original definition of the subject of literary study. The two schools of literary criticism, while dealing with the same problems of analysis, did not always propose similar solutions. By modifying the ideas of Russian Formalism, the Polish Formalist School of the 1930s modernized Polish literary scholarship in a fundamental way. Andrzej Karcz is Assistant Professor in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, the University of Kansas.