Boris Tomashevskii

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Tomashevskii, Boris Viktorovich


Born Nov. 17 (29), 1890, in St. Petersburg; died Aug. 24,1957, in Gurzuf. Soviet literary historian and critic.

Tomashevskii graduated from the University of Liege (Belgium) in 1912 with a diploma in electrical engineering. He attended lectures at the Sorbonne and studied French poetry of the 17th and 18th centuries. In the late teens and early 1920’s he was methodologically close to the Society for the Study of Poetic Language (OPOIAZ). In 1921, Tomashevskii began teaching at the Institute for the History of Arts. Between 1924 and 1957 he taught at Leningrad State University, where he became a professor in 1942. In 1921 he became a research associate at Pushkin House (the Institute of Russian Literature of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR).

Tomashevskii’s main works dealt with prosody, poetics, stylis-tics, textual criticism, Pushkin studies, and French poetry. His monograph Pushkin: Contemporary Historical and Literary Problems was published in 1925. Other works by Tomashevskii included The Writer and the Book: A Study of Textual Criticism (1928; 2nd ed., 1959) and On Poetry (1929). Tomashevskii compiled the first modern one-volume collection of Pushkin’s works; nine editions were published between 1924 and 1937. He played a major role in the publication of the academy edition of Pushkin’s works (1937–49). In 1956, Tomashevskii published Pushkin, 1813–1824, the first volume of a projected comprehensive study of Pushkin. The work was not completed, and the first volume was posthumously awarded the V. G. Belinskii Prize of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR.

Tomashevskii’s scholarly studies are marked by comprehensiveness, erudition, and originality. His works have been translated into many foreign languages.


Russkoe stikhoslozhenie: Metrika. Petrograd, 1923.
Stikh i iazik: Filologicheskie ocherki. Moscow-Leningrad, 1959.
Stilistika i stikhoslozhenie: Kurslektsii. Leningrad, 1959.
Pushkin i Frantsiia. Leningrad, 1960.
Pushkin, book 2: Materialy k monografii (1824–1837). Moscow-Leningrad, 1961.


“B. V. Tomashevskii” (obituary). Izv. AN SSSR: OLla, 1958, vol. 18, issue 1.
“B. V. Tomashevskii” (obituary). Uch. zap. LGU, 1958, no. 261: Seriia filologich. nauk, vol. 49. (Contains a complete listing of Tomashevskii’s published works.)
Izmailov, N. V. “B. V. Tomashevskii kak issledovatel’ Pushkina.” In the collection Pushkin: Issledovaniia i materialy, vol. 3. Moscow-Leningrad, 1960.
Jacobson, R. “B. V. Tomaševskij (1890–1957).” International Journal of Slavic Linguistics and Poetics, 1959, vols. 1–2.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
While the Formalists established their main base at the State Institute for the History of the Arts (Gosudarstvennyi institut istorii iskusstv, hereafter GIII), Boris Eikhenbaum, Boris Tomashevskii and Iurii Tynianov, who had worked with Iakubinskii and others at the Petrograd Institute of the Living Word (Institut zhivogo slova, hereafter IZhS) from 1919, also played significant roles at ILIaZV.
(11) This is despite the fact that important figures such as Zhirmunskii and Boris Tomashevskii considered him to be one of their teachers, while Valentin Voloshinov was one of those who worked under Desnitskii's supervision.
Boris Tomashevskii (1890-1957) was one of the major figures in the short-lived Russian Formalist movement.