Boris Eichenbaum (1886-1959) was a prominent Russian theorist associated with Russian Formalism. Born in Voronezh, Russia, he initially studied biology, violin, and piano before opting for philology in 1909. Philology deals with the structure and history of languages.
Involvement with Rootless Cosmopolitanism
Eichenbaum was involved with the social movement known as "rootless cosmopolitanism," a term coined by Vissarion Belinsky. Rootless cosmopolitanism referred pejoratively to Jewish intellectuals and dissenters and their perceived lack of total allegiance to the Russian state.
Representation of Artistic Freedom and Dissent
Rootless cosmopolitanism symbolized the artistic struggle for freedom of expression and dissent. It signifies the flight of freedom against traditional boundaries of family, society, religion, and nation. This rootlessness represents a liberal mindset and challenges fixed notions of nationalism, advocating for a global outlook.
Intellectual Pursuit of Freedom
Eichenbaum's association with rootless cosmopolitanism was an intellectual pursuit of freedom, opposing authoritarianism. It emphasized the need for a space that allows for the pursuit of knowledge and experience without excessive restrictions.
Connection to Artistic Movements
Rootless cosmopolitanism echoes the spirit of artistic movements like the Hippie Movement and the Beat Generation in America, both advocating for absolute freedom and defiance against control and censorship.
Reexamining Nationalism and Advocating Cultural Freedom
Rootless cosmopolitanism challenges populist ideas of nationalism and morality, encouraging intellectual and cultural freedom. It questions the sanctity of nationalism and provides a gateway to explore diverse perspectives.
Boris Eichenbaum's notable works include "Theory of the Formal Method," "Literary Mores," "Young Tolstoy," and "Anna Akhmatova: An Attempt at Analysis."