Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THIRD FACTORY by Viktor Shklovsky


by Viktor Shklovsky & translated by Richard Sheldon

Pub Date: Oct. 30th, 2002
ISBN: 1-56478-317-0
Publisher: Dalkey Archive

This 1926 novel (originally published in this translation by Ardis in 1977) by a prominent Russian Formalist critic well known for his studies of Tolstoy and Mayakovsky reshapes the conventions of autobiography to express “the idea of art as pure form”—an idea that became anathema to the agenda-burdened architects of the 1917 Revolution. Shklovsky’s narrator assembles anecdotes, memories, and random musings into a carefully structured collage that explains his own “making” in the crucibles of three imagined “factories”: the worlds of his childhood and early education, the literary group (“Opoyaz”) whose principles he eagerly absorbed, and the unpredictable breadth of his still-developing intellect and sensibility. The patchwork structure and whimsical rhetoric take some getting used to, but the resulting celebration of artistic individuality and integrity rings true.