Boris Mikhailovich Eikhenbaum

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Eikhenbaum, Boris Mikhailovich


Born Oct. 4 (16), 1886, in the city of Krasnyi, in what is now Smolensk Oblast; died Nov. 24, 1959, in Leningrad. Soviet literary scholar; doctor of philology; professor at various higher educational institutions in Leningrad.

Eikhenbaum graduated from the faculty of history and philology of the University of St. Petersburg in 1912. In 1918 he joined the Society for the Study of Poetic Language (OPOIAZ). Eikhenbaum dealt with problems of structure, rhythm, and style in such studies as “How Gogol’s ‘Overcoat’ Was Made” (1919) and The Melody of Russian Lyric Verse (1922). These works are noticeably influenced by the principles and inconsistencies of the formal method in literary scholarship. In his later works, which dealt primarily with L. N. Tolstoy (¿. Tolstoi, books 1–3, 1928–60) and M. Iu. Lermontov, Eikhenbaum adopted a more balanced approach. He analyzed writers’ works against a broad historical, social, and cultural background, employing large quantities of biographical, documentary, and archival materials. He never returned to the solitary study of structure that characterized his early, formalist writings.

Eikhenbaum’s best works are noted for the acuteness with which he poses literary problems, the originality of his insights, and the elegance of his exposition. One of the foremost Soviet textual critics, Eikhenbaum edited works by such writers as I. S. Turgenev, N. S. Leskov, and M. E. Saltykov-Shchedrin.


Stal’i o Lermontove. [Foreword by B. Bukhshtab.] Moscow-Leningrad, 1961.
Opoezii. [Foreword by V. Orlov.] Leningrad, 1969.
Oproze. [Foreword by G. Bialyi.] Leningrad, 1969.