First published in 1923, Knight’s Move is a collection of articles and short critical pieces that Viktor Shklovsky, no doubt the most original literary critic and theoretician of the twentieth century, wrote for the newspaper The Life of Art between 1919 and 1921. With his usual epigrammatic, acerbic wit and genius, Shklovsky pillories the bad writers, artists, and critics of his time, especially those who used art as a political or social tool. And at no time is Shklovsky better than when he insists with indignation and outrage that “Art has always been free of life. Its flag has never reflected the color of the flag that flies over the city fortress.”
As fresh and revolutionary today as they were when written nearly a century ago, these pieces promise to infuriate an English-speaking readership as much as the Russian one of the 1920s.