Iurii Nikolaevich Tynianov

Tynianov, Iurii Nikolaevich


Born Oct. 6 (18), 1894, in Rezhitsa, now Rézekne, Latvian SSR; died Dec. 20, 1943, in Moscow. Soviet Russian writer and literary theorist.

In 1918, Tynianov graduated from the department of history and philology at Petrograd University. From 1921 and 1930 he was a professor at the Institute for the History of Arts. His first work, Dostoevsky and Gogol: Toward a Theory of Parody, appeared in 1921.

Tynianov concentrated on the history and theory of literature while applying a profound and subtle analysis to literary texts. This dual approach is reflected in The Problem of Poetic Language and in the articles “Archaists and Pushkin, ” “Pushkin and Tiutchev, ” and “The Language of Lenin the Polemicist, ” which were later included in the collection Archaists and Innovators (1929). Tynianov was a member of the Society for the Study of Poetic Language (OPOIAZ).

Tynianov combined scholarship and literature in such works of fiction as the novels Kiukhlia (1925), which concerned the Decembrist W. K. Küchelbecker; The Death of Vizier Mukhtar (1927–28; separate edition, 1929), which dealt with A. S. Griboe-dov; and the unfinished Pushkin (parts 1–3,1935–43). The same combination may be found in the novellas Sublieutenant Kije (1928; film version, 1934), The Wax Figure (1931), and The Young Vitushishnikov (1933). Tynianov’s novels and novellas have become classics of Soviet historical prose. Tynianov brought to his historical material an advanced conceptual framework and an understanding of the problematic nature of such material. His works, written in an expressive style, show a lively sense of the manners and mores of the periods described. Tynianov possessed keen psychological perception and a bold artistic imagination.

Tynianov wrote screenplays for the motion pictures The Overcoat (1926) and The Club of the Big Deed (1927; with Iu. G. Oksman) and articles on the theory of the cinema. He translated works by H. Heine and others and helped establish the series Biblioteka poeta (The Poet’s Library). His works have been translated into many foreign languages.

Tynianov was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor.


Sochineniia, vols. 1–3. Moscow-Leningrad, 1959.
Pushkin i ego sovremenniki. Moscow, 1969.
Pushkin. Leningrad, 1974.
“Iz naslediia Iuriia Tynianova.” Literaturnoe obozrenie, 1974, no. 10. Kiukhlia. Moscow, 1975.


Tsyrlin, L. Tynianov-belletrist. Leningrad, 1935.
Khmel’nitskaia, T. “Issledovatel’skii roman: Istoricheskaia proza Tynianova.” In her collection Golosa vremeni. Moscow-Leningrad, 1963.
Iurii Tynianov, pisatel’ i uchenyi: Vospominaniia, razmyshleniia, vstrechi. Moscow, 1966.
Eikhenbaum, B. “Tvorchestvo lu. Tynianova, ” In his book O proze. Leningrad, 1969.
Russkie sovetskie pisateli-prozaiki: Biobibliograficheskii ukazatel’, vol. 5. Moscow, 1968.