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  The Critics on "Philologica"  

“The direction of Philologica corresponds to its title. Philologists are usually divided into linguists and students of literature; we do not have such a division: the pages of our periodical are not intended for purely literary studies or purely linguistic studies, but only philological studies. We are interested, if we may so put it, in unity of form and content”.

A. Iliushin, in Knizhnoe obozrenie [The Book Review], 25 July 1995

“In essence, the contributors to Philologica oppose philology and philological culture to cultural entropy — a position which by no means appears trivial in the age of triumphant poststructuralism”.

“The appearance of the new periodical should be regarded as one of the most gratifying events of the year, in the sphere of scholarship and culture, the vanguard of which Russia has already become accustomed to representing”.

Russkaia mysl’ [La Pensée russe], 14—20 December 1995

“The first volume of a ‘bilingual journal of Russian and theoretical philology’, Philologica (Moscow — London, 1994; edited by I. A. Pil’shchikov and M. I. Shapir), which came out this spring [1995] is an interesting scholarly publication which includes valuable materials and articles of a high professional standard. In all likelihood, many of the findings of the volume’s contributors will be of use to future researchers; but the publication itself, clearly, will be remembered for its elevated pathos and an obvious taste for scandal”.

“When one declares the lofty aim of constructing culture, it is best, of course, to avoid laying waste <...> to the rather thin and delicate cultural layer of contemporary philology, which the creators of this new journal have devoted themselves to destroying. These are warmongers of a sort. Having decided to battle mediocrity, they might well leave nothing standing and no one alive.”.

Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie [New Literary Review], 1995, no. 16

“Incidentally, if you are interested in NLO’s take on their inexorable scholarly competitors, have a look at NLO 16 (1995) for the journal’s esteemed ex-editor, S. Panov’s adolescent hysterics in reaction to this incursion on the inviolable sovereign territory of Madame Publisher [I. D. Prokhorova]. Panov lets loose some truly exalted abuse on Maksim Ilich Shapir and his Philologica. It isn’t tough to figure out where this abuse comes from: take an issue of NLO, put it next to an issue of Philologica, have a look, compare them, and it will immediately be clear what is worth reading and what is worth a plugged nickel (in academic terms). (S. Bolotov provided an impartial evaluation of S. Panov’s polemical performance in his notice ‘Philologica and the Polemic Surrounding It” see the fifth issue of Voprosy literatury (1996).)”

Topos, 1 July 2002

“The new issue of the journal, even more successful than the previous one, makes evident the exceptional importance of this periodical for culture”.

“In contradistinction to today’s fashion, the contributors to Philologica and its editors have the aim of creating a genuinely scientific instrument which would be analogous to, say, a body of mathematics; of introducing necessary axiomatics and, thereby, of bringing philology as close as possible to the exact and natural sciences, without leaving out of account the specificity of the humanities”.

“It is worth mentioning another peculiarity which is, to a greater or lesser extent, characteristic of all contributors to the publication: it is the excellence of the language, a wonderful elegance of style — a sign of high literary quality. It is not merely necessary to read the journal, but the journal is also readable, and one would like to read it!”

Russkaia mysl’ [La Pensée russe], 23—29 May 1996

“M. L. Gasparov, a member of the editorial board and contributor to Philologica, defined the goals of the new periodical thus: ‘For me, the aim is: philology as an exact science, while nowadays scientific investigations at every turn are replaced by one’s own intuitive creativity’. Philologica is called upon to stand against this tendency. ‘The existence of this journal is a gratifying phenomenon: it is important and necessary to understand what the scientific character of a discipline is’”.

“V. I. Glocer: ‘First and foremost, I appreciate philological skill. It is hardly to be found in our faded journals. But Philologica has made a brilliant show of this skill from the very first issues’”.

Knizhnoe obozrenie [The Book Review], 25 June 1996

“The appearance of Philologica, solid in every respect <...> has finally made real the distinct tendency towards the fragmentation of the philological community as it had been formed in Russia by the end of the 1980s — that is, a predominating centre <...> and those on the margins with their own factional policy, avowedly aggressive towards the ‘establishment’. The decisiveness of the step towards the legitimization of such differentiation <...> made by the editors of the new periodical should be complimented in every possible way”.

“What underlines <the declarations of Philologica> with its authentic ‘poetry of square brackets’ <...> as well as the choice of principal contributors and targets for criticism is the challenge to colleagues, the throwing down of the gauntlet, as it were. However, the editors (M. Shapir and I. Pil’shchikov) are well enough experienced in philology, and, judging by the first volume, the ‘gauntlet’ gesture was thoroughly thought through, developed and rehearsed in advance, and therefore proved to be rather impressive”.

Zerkalo (Jerusalem), June 1996, no. 1/2

“A high standard of publications <in Philologica> is beyond any doubt: it is philology in its pure and unalloyed form, on a level with world standards”.

“It is evident that, in Philologica, a new generation of philologists came on to the scene, who are markedly different from the previous generation, and, moreover, better”.

“Thus, a philological measuring-rod is raised before us, and for a good long while”.

Nezavisimaia gazeta, 20 November 1996

“The journal fully preserves and develops the principles which have become its distinguishing feature. The highest quality of editorial work and proof-reading, the impeccable elegance of the translations, an unusual, for a specialized periodical, print quality, all emphasize the main credo: service to philology as an activity, ‘directed towards the goals of the revelation of sense and the elucidation of both nature and culture’”.

“The new issue of the journal confirms once again that it is, indisputably, the best periodical in the field of Russian philology”.

Russkaia mysl’ [La Pensée russe], 3—9 April 1997

“The third anniversary of the interdisciplinary journal allows us to see, in Philologica (which is, to use the editors’ words, virtually unique among Russian Studies journals in addressing cultural issues sub specie philologiae), an impetus to carry out research, which is liberated from ‘the seal of time’, which emphasises the integrity of the text, reveals the indissoluble unity of its spiritual and material aspects, and demonstrates the homology of form and content”.

Vestnik TGU [Bulletin of Tomsk State University], 1998, vol.  266

“This ‘philological oasis’ was created in 1994 by two young professionals, Maksim Shapir and Igor Pilshchikov, with a critical take on contemporary philology, and even a bit fed up with it. The editors have a clear programmatic orientation, which is, in part, manifested in their addresses to contributors and readers, and entirely plain in the material they are publishing <...> The journal sees its task as the continuation of a scholarly tradition, the program of B. I. Iarkho (1889—1942), an exceptional and undeservedly forgotten philologist: to bring the standard of evidence in literary scholarship to the same level as in exact and natural sciences.”

Russkij Zhurnal, 1 July 1998

Philologica was called into being by an awareness of a deep crisis, and a desire to resist it <...> In other words, the creators of the new journal want to give back (or confer) the high calling of a ‘science’ to philology”.

“This publication, which is indisputably interesting and useful to all students of the humanities, is first and foremost addressed to the professional philologist. Thoroughness (in the finest sense of the word) is felt even in the clear print, the cover design, the ‘Academy’ typeface <...> In a normal cultural situation, such a journal would, from the very first issue, be guaranteed authority and popularity among specialists. But we are sure that, even today, the exceptional merits of the journal will not let it be lost among the other periodicals which fill the booksellers’ shelves to overflowing”.

Ex libris NG, 5 March 1998

“The affirmation of the value of scientific knowledge (which is not at all evident today) is of foremost importance for the editors <of Philologica> <...> We would not like to judge the results hastily but, in any event, the quality of the philological production offered by the journal confirms the editors’ fidelity to principle”.

“The variety of the topics and genres presented in <Philologica> find their unity in a striving for intellectual integrity and the finest philological scrupulousness. These features define the identity of the journal, making it a genuine professional publication which deserves the attention of all specialists”.

Izvestiia Rossijskoj akademii nauk. Seriia literatury i iazyka
[Bulletin of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Literature and Language Series],
1999, vol. 58, no. 4

See the reviews of the «Philologica russica et speculativa» book series:


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