Shklovsky's "Art as Device" and Word-Image Symbolism Analytical Essay by MarkMaster

An exploratory analysis of symbolist belief in regards to art, and alternative theories of art versus language.
# 146653 | 1,653 words | 4 sources | MLA | 2011 | US
Published on Jan 10, 2011 in Psychology (Theory) , Art (General)

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This paper explores and analyzes theories of art and language, focusing principally on the symbolist belief that artists write in images because they are more accurate than explication. The paper explains that much of the symbolist movement is based on the idea that art, as represented through literature, is a method of creating images that generate in the reader's mind a more available, or more comprehensible representation of the artistic subject than an explanation of the thing or subject itself. The paper contends that while symbolists ideas assume that the artist shapes this image as a metaphor packed with emotional content or wisdom, art is not thinking in images. Language is the core tool the writer uses, the paper argues, and a clearly scientific approach based on things rather than ideas. The paper concludes that literature is unique because of its use of language which ultimately makes ordinary language strange to the reader; these ideas circulate around incongruities and opposites and devices makes them all the more interesting and believable.

From the Paper:

"This notion of a reduced, artistic image implies a process of creating literature that is wholly unfamiliar to most writers who do not sift through and manipulate images in order to achieve this effect. It seems the process of producing images in the writer's mind (as opposed to the reader) is difficult to describe, but certainly is random and individualistic. Most writing is not such an intellectual idea-image-reduction paradigm, but a much more instinctual process informed by devices, craft and training. Therefore, language itself is not the primary means of production, though it is commonly believed that language is a form of thought."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Eagleton, Terry. Literary Theory: An Introduction. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1983.
  • Erlich, Victor. Russian Formalism: History - Doctrine. Netherlands: Mouton, 1965.
  • Jakobson, Roman. Selected Writings .4 vols. Netherlands: The Hague, 1962.
  • Shklovsky, Victor. Theory of Prose. Trans. Benjamin Sher. IL: Dalkey, 1991.

Cite this Analytical Essay:

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Shklovsky's "Art as Device" and Word-Image Symbolism (2011, January 10) Retrieved February 22, 2024, from

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"Shklovsky's "Art as Device" and Word-Image Symbolism" 10 January 2011. Web. 22 February. 2024. <>