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L’intreccio, il dettaglio e le cose: un apologo sulla fortuna sovietica di un termine dei formalisti


The term siuzhetnaia proza, or ‘plot-based prose’, is recurrent in Soviet literary debate. Its roots lie in the basic Formalist opposition: if plot is the main device of prose, everything which is not plot must be regarded as motivation. This opposition involves psychology, but also details, i.e. objects (bourgeoisie idols). The term survived in Soviet debate as a euphemism for mass literature, called ‘plot-based literature’ by critics from a range of backgrounds. But is it possible to measure the space that plot occupies in a given work? And what about science fiction, a mass genre where the invention and the depiction of a world is fundamental?